Alfred Nobel
Swedish Chemist
1833 - 1896

Alfred Nobel at the age of 40 years
Portrait from Th. Phillips, 1813

Alfred Nobel

Museo alemán de epilepsia en Kork

In the first years of his life, Alfred Nobel almost shared the fate of five of his brothers and sisters who all died as small children. His childhood was marked by illness, physical weakness and deprivation. According to his biographers, it was only thanks to the loving and devoted care of his mother that Alfred survived this difficult time.

In his autobiographical poem entitled "You say I am a Riddle", written in very good English when Nobel was 18, he brings to life the hard years of his childhood:

"My cradle looked a deathbed, and for years
a mother watched with ever anxious care,
so little chance, to save the flickering light,
I scarce could muster strength to drain the breast,
and the convulsions followed, till I gasped
upon the brink of nothingness - my frame.