Essay on The Life and Accomplishments of Alfred Nobel

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Alfred Nobel, born in 1833, was the inventor of dynamite. He was much more than an inventor, was fluent in several languages, enjoyed poetry and was considered to have radical ideas during his time. He left a lasting legacy by establishing the famous peace prize which is named in his honour.

Nobel’s father was an engineer and inventor. He built bridges and in relation to this, he experimented with ways to blast rock. In the year Alfred was born, his father went bankrupt because several barges of building materials went missing. In 1837 Nobel’s father left Stockholm for St Petersburg in Russia, leaving the family behind. Due to his successes in assisting the Russian navy in the ongoing Crimean war, Nobel’s father was able to bring his
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Several explosions, including one in 1864, which killed Nobel’s brother, Emil, and several others, led the authorities to ban nitroglycerine experimentation within Stockholm’s city limits. Nobel moved his laboratory to a barge anchored on Lake Mälaren. Nobel experimented with different additives and soon discovered that mixing nitroglycerine with kieselguhr, would turn nitroglycerine liquid into a paste that could be shaped into rods suitable for insertion into drilling holes. Kieselguhr is a diatomaceous earth, which is a form of silica composed of the shells of microscopic aquatic plants. Some of the explosive power was lost, but the mixture was much safer than nitroglycerine.

In 1867 Nobel patented this mixture under the name of dynamite. He also invented a detonator, which could be ignited by lighting a fuse. At around the same time, the pneumatic drill and the diamond drill bit were coming into general use. Together, with dynamite, these inventions drastically improved the efficiency of blasting and tunneling. Nobel rapidly became rich and as his explosives empire expanded through Europe.

Nobel’s discovery of a relatively safe yet powerful explosive had a positive effect on the construction industry. Demand grew rapidly in various countries and an era of large infrastructure projects such as ports, tunnels, railways and mines, began. For example the construction for the St Gotthard tunnel in the
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