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Alfred Nobel

Chemist, Inventor, Awesome Administrator, Social Reformer.

"It could and should soon come to pass that all states pledge themselves collectively to attack an aggressor. That would make war impossible, and would force even the most brutal and unreasonable Power to appeal to a court of arbitration, or else keep quiet."

Health

Alfred Nobel was not in very good health for most of his life. He suffered from headaches and indigestion. He experimented with different types of food and had turned vegetarian. Often he was cheerless. He spent weeks at health resorts even when he was young. In 1854 he stayed at a spa in Franzenbad in Bohemia. He found the health resorts boring because of lack of activity. The medical treatment at the spas was bathing, resting and drinking well water.

Using toxic chemicals under primitive conditions, he worked long in his laboratory. Nobel himself took care of correspondence with factories, banks and collaborators. Having laboratories and factories in many countries, he travelled a lot. Nobel stated, "My home is where I work and I work everywhere."

Nobel had to deal with accidents in his factories and the resulting negative publicity. He held over 355 patents in many countries. There were infringements of his patents. He had to take care of legal aspects of his work.

Toward the end of his life, Alfred Nobel had intermittent chest pain due to a heart ailment (angina pectoris). In 1890 Nobel's physicians prescribed nitroglycerine for his heart disease. He declined the medicine. In a letter to his assistant Ragnar Sohlman on October 25, 1896, he wrote, "Isn't it the irony of fate that I have been prescribed Nitroglycerine, to be taken internally! They call it Trinitrin, so as not to scare the chemist and the public."

Nobel was indescribably persevering despite his physical health conditions and mental stress. He was attached to his mother; but she lived in another country, Sweden. He was not married and thus had no family of his own. He was spiritually oriented, being a church member. Nobel wrote to his brother's wife, "What a contrast between us. You live a warm and glowing life, surrounded by loved ones whom you care for and who care for you. You are anchored in contentment. I drift about without rudder or compass, a wreck on the sea of life. I have no memories to cheer me, no pleasant illusions of the future to comfort me, or about me to satisfy my vanity. I have no family to furnish the only kind of survival that concerns us, no friends for the wholesome development of my affections, or enemies for my malice."

Towards the end of his life he had become more cheerful. He had planned to reduce his activities and return to his home country, Sweden.

Alfred Nobel passed away due to a lingering heart ailment and a stroke at 2 o' clock in the middle of the night on 10 Dec 1896. By then his parents, all his siblings - two elder brothers and a younger brother - had passed away. At the time of death, in the house, with him were only his servants who did not understand him speaking in Swedish.

Reference: Ragnar Sohlman, Alfred Nobel's assistant and executor of his will.

“One comes to be of just such stuff as that on which the mind is set” - Maithri Upanishath, VI.34:3

“…the peace that is found in libraries and laboratories…” - Louis Pasteur
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Alfred Nobel
Photo: Nobelprize.org

Name: Alfred Bernhard Nobel
Birth: 21 Oct. 1833, Stockholm, Sweden
Death: 10 Dec. 1896 San Remo, Italy
Patents: Alfred Nobel held 355 patent worldwide.
Hobbies Poetry, Literature, Health
Languages Spoken: Swedish, Russian, French, English, German, Italian
Not Married
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