Research Assignment

TOPIC: Biography of Alfred Nobel

Step One: What do I know about my topic? Write down words and ideas related to the topic.

  • Nobel Prize
  • Scientist who invented dynamite

Step Two: Can I organise the information under main headings?

  • Information about the man
  • full name
    birth place/nationality
    dates of birth and death
  • Scientific achievements
  • Other achievements
  • Nobel Prize

Step Three: Is there more information I would like to find?
Do I have to find set information for my project?

  • See Step Two.

Step Four: Can I use the table of contents, the index, title, headings, or illustrations of my text to get more ideas about my topic?

  • I'll look up Nobel, Nobel Prize, Nitroglycerine and Dynamite.

Step Five: Now I need to turn my information into paragraphs. Write short notes for each paragraph. Extend the short notes into a long paragraph.





Information about the man:

  • full name
  • birthplace/ nationality
  • dates of birth and death
  • education
  • occupation
  • Alfred Bernhard Nobel
  • born in Stockholm in Sweden
  • son of inventor
  • 1833-1896
  • educated at St Petersburg in Russia
  • studied mechanical engineering in USA
  • chemist who invented dynamite

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1833, Alfred Bernhard Nobel was the son of an inventor. After being educated in St Petersburg in Russia and also in USA where he studied mechanical engineering, Nobel returned to work in the family-owned factory at Heleneborg, Sweden. He turned to chemistry and developed dynamite in 1867. Unfortunately, prior experimentation was marred by tragedy when a factory explosion in 1864 killed his brother and four other people. At the time of his death, he bequeathed a substantial sum of money to fund the Nobel Prize which continues to this day.

BODY 1 - Scientific achievements
  • invention of dynamite in 1867 by using kieselguhr clay to absorb nitroglycerine
  • invention of smokeless ballistite

During the later nineteenth century, many chemists had attempted to develop an explosive more powerful than gunpowder. In 1867, Alfred Nobel succeeded by developing dynamite which was five times more powerful than gunpowder. He made it safer to handle by using clay called kieselguhr to absorb nitroglycerine. This was followed by his invention of a form of blasting gelatine called ballistite, made from a mixture of nitroglycerine and nitrocellulose.

BODY 2 - Other achievements
  • established successful worldwide business supplying mining and civil engineering industries and the military
  • world production of dynamite was 3000 tonnes in 1875
  • smokeless explosive

During his lifetime, Alfred Nobel turned the family business into a worldwide, highly profitable enterprise. In 1875,world production of dynamite was already 3000 tonnes. Nobel initially sold his explosive products to the mining and civil engineering industries for the purposes of mining and bridge and road building. However, the blasting gelatine called ballistite that he invented was smokeless. Hence, it was used by the military as a smokeless explosive which would not give away an artilleryman's position to the enemy, and would reduce the fouling of rifle barrels.

BODY 3 - Nobel Prize
  • bequeathed US $9million to Nobel Prize Fund
  • presented yearly
  • prizes for physics, chemistry, medicine and physiology, literature, economics and world peace

Alfred Nobel's inventions were intended for peaceful purposes, and he felt guilty that he had created substances that caused death and injury. Therefore at his death, he bequeathed US $9 million to a fund for the establishment of the Nobel Prize. These are given yearly for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine and physiology, literature, economics and world peace.

  • lived 63 years
  • contributions made during his life and after his death

During his sixty-three years of life, Alfred Nobel made several major contributions to the advancement of science and engineering. From his own personal experience, he was painfully aware of the devastations of such inventions and determined that after his death, further contributions to promote world advancement would continue in the form of the annual Nobel Prize.