Born: 21 October 1833
Died: 10 December 1896 (cerebral hemorrhage)
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Best known as: Inventor of dynamite
Swedish chemist Alfred Bernhard Nobel invented dynamite in 1866 and it made him rich. Nobel was as interested in drama and poetry as he was in chemistry and physics, but it was in the sciences that he made his fame, and by the time of his death he held more than 350 patents and controlled factories and labs in 20 countries. The story goes that when Nobel's brother died, a newspaper mistakenly published an obituary of Nobel that emphasized the fact that he had invented things that blew up and killed people. Nobel, not wanting to be remembered in that way, pledged his wealth toward the betterment of humanity. In his will he directed the establishment of a foundation to award annual prizes for achievement in chemistry, physics, literature and efforts toward international peace. The Nobel Prize is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the world and includes a cash prize of nearly one million dollars. In 1968 the prize field was broadened to include an award in economic science.
Extra credit: Nobel winners on Who2 include: Albert Camus, 1957 (Literature); Mother Teresa, 1979 (Peace); Albert Einstein, 1921 (Physics); Winston Churchill, 1953 (Literature); Woodrow Wilson, 1919 (Peace); and Linus Pauling, 1954 (Chemistry) and 1962 (Peace).
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