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Mysteries of vernacular: Dynamite - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel


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With an explosive meaning, the word dynamite’s past is as historical as it is etymological. Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel describe how Alfred Nobel invented dynamite.

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Here's a video of explosions slowed down over 100 times.The history of nitroglycerin and the Central Pacific Railroad is an interesting one, as much has been made of the many workers killed using this new explosive in the building of the Pacific Railroad. Nitroglycerin was invented in 1846 by Ascanio Sobrero, Albert Nobel designed a blasting cap that made use of the explosive almost safe in 1865, and in 1867 Nobel mixed silica and nitroglycerin, making dynamite. Prior to 1867, nitroglycerin was shipped as a liquid; the first known specimen of this liquid was reported in California on April 21, 1866, in a newspaper article in the Placer Herald, Auburn, California. A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered as members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire. Note the coincidental link between dynasty and dynamite -- why is it significant?Since 1901, the Nobel Prize has been honoring men and women from all corners of the globe for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for work in peace. The foundations for the prize were laid in 1895 when Alfred Nobel wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth to the establishment of the Nobel Prize. But who was Alfred Nobel? Articles, photographs, a slide show and poetry written by Nobel himself are presented here to give a glimpse of a man whose varied interests are reflected in the prize he established. Meet Alfred Nobel - scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, author and pacifist.Ascanio Sobrero is the chemist that invented nitroglycerin.Several explosions at Alfred Nobel's laboratory, including one which killed his brother (Emil) in 1864, prompted the city of Stockholm to ban nitroglycerin research inside the city and forced Nobel to move his laboratory to a barge on a lake just outside the city limits.There isn't much information about the word dunamis (from which dynamite derived) on the internet. Words like this, among a long list of others, are incredibly interesting -- it begs one to wonder why etymology is such an interesting field of study to which many experts devote their lives.

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Meet The Creators

  • Director Jessica Oreck
  • Producer Rachael Teel

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