Nobel – ‘The Merchant of Death’

Nobel i.e. Alfred Nobel – the Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, and armaments manufacturer. He was also the inventor of dynamite. Nobel owned Bofors, a major manufacturer of cannon and other war armaments.

In 1888, the death of his brother Ludvig caused several newspapers to publish obituaries of Alfred in error. A French newspaper erroneously published Alfred’s obituary and it condemned him for his invention of dynamite. The obituary stated “The merchant of death is dead” and went on to say, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.”

Alfred was disappointed with what he read and concerned with how he would be remembered. This inspired him to change his will and set aside the bulk of his assets to establish the Nobel Prizes, to be awarded annually without distinction of nationality.

Nobel’s last will specified that his fortune be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the “greatest benefit on mankind” in physics, chemistry, peace, physiology or medicine, and literature. As of 31 December 2007, the assets controlled by the Nobel Foundation amounted to US$ 560 million.

Source Credits: Datatorch

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