Sunday, November 25, 2012

On November 25

On this day in ...
... 1867 (145 years ago today), Alfred Nobel patented dynamite. Born in Sweden 34 years earlier, Nobel had begun his career as an industrialist, a maker of bridges and other structures – the construction of which often required blasting through rock, a requirement that led Nobel to the experiments out of which dynamite was created. On this day he secured U.S. patent number 78,317 for his invention, the destructive power of which he continued to improve. ( photo credit) Used in times of war and peace alike, the invention left him with an immense fortune. In the will he signed on this same date in 1895 in Paris (28 years to the day after he'd obtained the patent), Nobel funded the establishment of annual Nobel Prizes, to be apportioned as follows:
'one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement; one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine; one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction; and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.'
This development was due in no small part to an abundance of correspondence with Bertha Sophie Felicita von Suttner (right), who worked briefly as a secretary for Nobel, and then, as detailed in this fascinating account, wrote Nobel frequently, advocating her campaign for global peace. (photo credit) In 1905, 9 years after Nobel's death, she would become the 1st woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

(Prior November 25 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

No comments: