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The Swedish chemist whose name is known around the world because of the Nobel Prize, invented dynamite in 1866. Although Alfred Nobel (1833–1896) took part in his family business of making explosives, he was a pacifist (one who opposes war). He became concerned about how dangerous inventions like dynamite might be used, so he set up a fund (with a bequest of $9,200,000) to be awarded to people who make important discoveries and inventions, and to those who promote world peace. The five prize categories were peace, chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine, and literature. In 1968 a Swedish bank added the sixth category, economics. The Noble Prize has been awarded by a committee each year since 1901, with 1940 and 1942 being the exceptions. The economics prize has been awarded annually since 1969. As well as international recognition and a gold medal, the prize includes a substantial sum of money.
Further Information: "Alfred Nobel." Compton's Encyclopedia Online. [Online] Available http://www.comptons.com/encyclopedia/ARTICLES/0125/01327616_A.html#P, November 8, 2000; "Alfred Nobel: Man Behind the Prizes." Nobel e-Museum. [Online] Available http://www.nobel.se/nobel/alfred-noble/, November 8, 2000; Jackson, Donald Dale. "While He Expected the Worst, Nobel Hoped for the Best." Smithsonian. November 1988, pp. 201–14.
Alfred Nobel invented the Nobel patent detonator or blasting cap for detonating nitroglycerin. The Nobel patent detonator used a strong shock rather than eat combustion to ignite the explosives. The Nobel Company built the first factory to manufacture nitroglycerin and dynamite.
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