Posts Tagged ‘dynamite’

Alfred Nobel’s Irony, Featuring Me

What hath Nobel wrought? A deft recovery from a sordid situation. What hath Nobel wrought? A deft recovery from a sordid situation.

The reason Nobel Prizes exist is found in the guilt-ridden remorse of Alfred Nobel. Mr. Nobel (1833-1896) was a Swedish arms merchant who invented dynamite. Unlike nitroglycerin which can explode merely by jostling it, dynamite is a very stable compound – at least until it’s detonated. And for the record, TNT (despite AC/DC’s lyrics to the contrary) is not dynamite. Nobel invented dynamite a few years after the less stable and less powerful TNT came to market. OK, so much for a crash course in mid-19th Century explosives. The question is, how did we get from a rapacious arms merchant in Sweden to the revered Nobel Prizes we have today? Read the rest of this entry »