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  • Mysteries of vernacular:

  • Dynamite,

  • an explosive consisting of nitroglycerin,

  • typically molded into sticks.

  • Dynamite, which coincidentally is closely related

  • to the word dynasty,

  • has as much to do with familial persuasion

  • as it does etymology.

  • Following in the footsteps of his inventor father,

  • Alfred Nobel took up engineering.

  • In 1850, he was exposed to the work of Ascanio Sobrero,

  • the chemist who invented nitroglycerin.

  • More powerful than gun powder

  • and extremely unpredictable,

  • this highly explosive liquid captivated Alfred.

  • Working closely with his father,

  • he began experimenting with nitroglycerin,

  • searching for a practical application for the compound.

  • After several explosions,

  • including one that killed Alfred's brother,

  • authorities banned nitroglycerin tests

  • within Stockholm city limits.

  • Undeterred, Alfred moved his lab

  • and began experimenting with additives,

  • eventually finding one that transformed

  • the dangerous liquid into malleable paste,

  • easier to handle

  • and perfect for construction sites.

  • He named this material dynamite,

  • from the Greek dunamis,

  • meaning power,

  • and the common scientific suffix -ite.

  • Explosives made Alfred a very wealthy man.

  • And, in an effort to balance

  • the destruction caused by his invention,

  • he created an endowment

  • that would award Nobel Prizes

  • to authors,

  • scientists,

  • and advocates of world peace

  • for generations to come.

Mysteries of vernacular:

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B2 TED-Ed alfred dynamite experimenting explosive nobel

【TED-Ed】Mysteries of vernacular: Dynamite - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel

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    Bing-Je posted on 2013/12/13
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