Good night/morning for you all my followers, it is our “D” day of A2Z Challenge. So, what will be our next invention? Do you have in mind a certain world-changing “D” invention? Of course you know one. It is the cause of the launch of an annual universal scientific race of amazing discoveries and inventions. YES!! It is the Dynamite. The invention of the German genius Alfred Nobel the creator of the famous prize “The Nobel Prize”.
As our habit, we will try to explore our ancient ancestors to see if they managed to reach the same idea before us as they seem to usually have done in the last 3 inventions.
So, here we go. Did our ancient ancestors figure out a way to create explosives? This time we don’t have some physical evidence like Baghdad Battery or Antikythera Mechanism. But we have stories. That’s right, we have Indian stories of their first civilizations. So, as you see all this may be just theories or some effort to explain these stories logically. Let’s visit the Mahabharata which is an ancient indian epic telling the stories of some great battles which took place in the past. The issue is that these battles had weapons that were described with words which if we tried to interpret with our current understanding of weapons will seem like this (airships, particle beams, chemical warfare and presumably atomic weapons). And according to the prolific author Erich von Däniken there may be references to bacteriological weapons in the Indian and Tibetan ancient texts.
Great wars were described in early religious texts. Weapons could literally level the land like a moving force field. In ancient India, we find words for certain measurements of length; one was the distance of light-years and one was the length of an atom. Only a society that possessed nuclear energy would have the need for such words. Some believers do think that deserts we have today on Earth are results of some prehistoric nuclear war. The evidence of this is the discovery of 28-million-year-old glass (silica) found in the deserts of Libya and Egypt and various parts of the world.
Of course, mainstream scientists suggest that this may be an evidence of a comet striking Earth or a volcanic action. They think that these may be misinterpreted at best and fraudulent at worst.
Atlantis, the famous lost continent in history is believed to be erased because of some great war that used high-tech weapons.
Of course, all these are just speculations and interpretations of ancient texts based on our imagination and understanding
If you like to know more, you can of course read more about these ancient texts, or read them yourself if you understand Sanskrit.
Now, to the modern age. What is the story of Dynamite and explosives?
It is believed that the first explosive was invented by the Chinese somewhere around the 10th century. But others say it was around the time of Christ. They also point to a legend that Marcus Graecus made rockets from it for military use in the 7th century.
Gunpowder, also known as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid-1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate (saltpeter)—with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpetre works as an oxidizer. Because of its burning properties and the amount of heat and gas volume that it generates, gunpowder has been widely used as a propellant in firearms and as a pyrotechnic composition in fireworks.
Safety Fuse, in 1831, William Bickford an English leather merchant invented the first safety fuse. Using a safety fuse made black powder explosives more practical and safer.
Nitroglycerin was discovered by Ascanio Sobereo in 1846. It was manufactured by Alfred Nobel and his father in 1861 in Sweden. Nitroglycerin is a very dangerous liquid that can explode with tremendous force if shaken or allowed to get too hot. Manufacturing something this dangerous presents many problems. Nobel was a victim of nitro’s vicious properties when it exploded killing his brother Emil and many others. But Alfred Nobel got very lucky, and stumbled across a way to make it stable. It was called it dynamite. Dynamite is nitro turned into a paste that can be put into a tubular container and exploded with a fuse. Nobel never intended that his explosives be used for war and when this happened he became very distraught. This may have been the main reason he established the Nobel Peace Prize.
After that came the TNT and other modern explosives after the first safe explosive (Dynamite). But, what are the consequences of this invention? Of course, the main result is the Nobel prize which Alfred created based on the tragedies that his invention was used into causing. This is the famous one, but the basic benefit was saving many lives of mining workers who were exposed to lose them any moment. And of course another consequence, is the different uses of explosives especially to remove mountains and buildings to clear the way to build other things to ease our lives. In brief, we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for explosives (safe ones especially).