www.whyville.net Apr 15, 2007 Weekly Issue

Whyville Columnist

Important People: Sweden

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Hey, it's Spinner45, with the third "Important People" column. This week, I've gotten some mail and comments with some constructive criticism from some people, and have taken a few of their reasonable ideas into consideration. This week I'm going to focus on a small country called Sweden.

Sweden consists of a lot of inventors, two of which, I will talk about in this article.

Alfred Nobel

Alfred was born in 1833 in Sweden, however, he grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, and studied in the USA. When he was 29 he made his first invention, a detonating cap for Nitroglycerine. Nitroglycerine was very sensitive, which was part of the problem with it. He didn't introduce the Nitroglycerine in the US because of all the accidents.

In 1866, Nobel discovered dynamite, which was less fragile than Nitroglycerine. When he died in 1896, he left a great amount of money to a fund. Every year money is taken out of the fund and given to people who have done something good for humanity; this is called The Nobel Prize.

John Ericson

John was born in 1803 and was a Swedish inventor and engineer. He was no older than 13 years of age when he began working as an engineer trainee, building the longest canal in Sweden called Gota Kanal, where he later found work as a land surveyor. He had a lot of ideas, but didn't find room in his job to develop anything. So, at 23 years of age, he quit his army job to become a full time inventor.

John, then began working on a hot-air machine he called Caloric. But, a lack of money forced him to leave for England, where he thought he might be better understood. When he got to England, he continued work on his Caloric, which later became one of the first long-line produced hot-air machines and almost 10,000 were produced.

John also started working on a new kind of locomotive with steam engines, which he called Novelty. It was a very small machine compared to the old ones. When he finished, he accepted a challenge and raced another locomotive. But, unfortunately he lost the race, because of engine problems. Although John didn't win the race, Novelty became the model for recent trains.

John had always been intrigued by propellers and started experimenting with double propellers, but soon realized this idea wasn't so great. Instead, he modified the single propeller and made it better. This was John's most important invention. He, later, attached the propeller to a boat.

John was never accepted as a "big time" inventor in the US, he wasn't even invited to a huge science gathering in Philadelphia. That made him very upset, so he wrote a book, talking about a machine that could convert sunlight into energy. The bad part is his excellent idea was a hundred years ahead of his time. He died of old age in 1889.

Baron Jons Jakob Berzelius

Jons was born in 1779, in Vaversunda Sorgard, Sweden(obviously). Jons studied chemistry and medicine, graduating from Uppsala in 1802. He was named a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, becoming secretary in 1818. He wrote many books on chemistry and one on medicine. He was called one of the Fathers of Modern Chemistry, and developed a system of chemical symbols and atomic weight of the elements (blame him for having to memorize that table of elements, :]). He died in 1848.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this issue of "Important People". Next week will be a new country, can you guess which one it is? Thank you for some of the fan mail on my articles; it's very much appreciated, and next week will be a brand new country! Thanks for reading!

Spinner45 :]


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