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Dynamite King

One day in 1888, Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, was astonished to find his own obituary in the morning paper. Though dismayed by the fact that his brother had died (thus the error), Nobel was equally disturbed by his own portrayal as the "Dynamite King" -- a great industrialist who had made his fortune peddling the seeds of devastation. His philanthropic deeds and pacific nature notwithstanding, had Nobel really died, he would have been remembered as a merchant of death.

As he read the paper with growing horror, he resolved to rewrite his will. The result? The endowment of the Nobel Prizes.

[The Nobel Peace Prize is given each year to those who have done most to advance the cause of world peace. The Economics Prize was a posthumous addition. Notably absent from Nobel's will was any mention of mathematics -- a subject for which Nobel might have endowed a prize had a mathematician not had an affair with his wife.]

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