On this day in 1896, the Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel died in Italy aged 63. Nobel is best known as the inventor of dynamite and the fonder of the Nobel Prizes. After his death from a brain hemorrhage, it was discovered that he had left his wealth in trust to fund the Nobel Prizes.
He decided to begin the prizes because in 1888 when his brother died, a newspaper wrongly reported Alfred’s death. They published a damning obituary, focusing on his invention of dynamite, saying “The merchant of death is dead”. Nobel was therefore determined to be remembered in a better way, and wanted his name associated with the great prizes. The Nobel Prizes are awarded in physics, chemistry, medical science, economics, literature and peace.
Nobel was successful in his attempt, and today the name Alfred Nobel is not associated with death and destruction; it is associated with the prizes which reward the best of human endeavor.