The life and times of Alfred Nobel

We’re proud to call Alfred Nobel one of our founding fathers. His inventive genius is part of our DNA, while his inspiring legacy of the Nobel Prize helps propel all of us boldly into the future.

We endeavor to mirror his incredible capacity for creativity through our own innovation. We believe it’s the key to unlocking a more sustainable future – for ourselves and our customers. In fact, our proud track record of invention and creativity stretches all the way back to the 19th century – when Nobel himself was alive.

He lives on today, of course, through what are widely regarded to be the most prestigious awards given for intellectual achievement in the world.

Portrait of Alfred Nobel

Here’s a brief look at the famous scientist, inventor, industrialist and founder of the annual honor that recognizes those who have conferred “the greatest benefit to humankind”. 

  • Born on October 21, 1833, in Stockholm, Sweden
  • His family was descended from Olof Rudbeck, the best-known technical genius in Sweden in the 17th century
  • Alfred grew up in Russia and studied chemistry and technology in France and the US
  • He was also very interested in social and peace-related issues, and held views that were considered radical during his time
  • His first overseas company was established in Krümmel, Germany
  • He invented dynamite in 1866 and received a patent a year later
  • In 1895, Alfred was one of the founders of Elektrokemiska Aktiebolaget (EKA) – which was acquired by Nobel Industries in 1986. Eight years later, in 1994, Nobel Industries merged with Akzo to create Akzo Nobel
  • When he died at his home in San Remo, Italy, in 1896, he held 355 patents
  • In his will, he left around $265 million in today’s money, which is used to this day to award Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace
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