Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist

Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist

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Caption: Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833-1896), Swedish chemist and inventor. Nobel joined his father in the business of manufacturing explosives. He studied explosives like nitroglycerin, and discovered ways to make them safer to use. In 1867, he patented dynamite (a mixture of nitroglycerine and an inert clay). He also produced more powerful explosives, such as blasting gelatin (gelignite, patented in 1876). These patents, and his other businesses, made him extremely wealthy. When he died in 1896, his will directed that the bulk of his fortune be used to set up the Nobel Prizes. These are awarded annually for outstanding contributions in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and world peace.

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