story, science, technology and creativity

Dynamite Idea! Alfred Nobel’s life and times…in rhymes!


Nobel_PrizeTomorrow, the first of the Nobel Prize winners for 2020 will be announced. So I wrote a funny poem to celebrate 🙂 Because funny things are fun 🙂

Right now, the world needs heroes more than ever. And scientists are those heroes. Every day scientists strive to make the world a better place. That’s why I’m so thrilled to be part of Aussie STEM Stars, helping to spread the word of our great Australian scientist heroes.

Every year, some of the world’s scientist heroes are awarded a Nobel Prize for their contribution to humankind. Fewer than 1000 people have ever won a Nobel Prize! Prizes are awarded for work that benefits humankind in physics, chemistry, medicine or physiology, literature, peace and economics.

Since Alfred Nobel is the guy who gave us dynamite–and also the Nobel Prizes–I had a bit of fun writing his life (including his childhood home burning down!) into a science poem.

I hope you enjoy the read 🙂

The Boy With A Dynamite Idea

By Cristy Burne


In Sweden, 1833, Alfred is born. Hooray! Yippee!

But Andriette, his mum cries “Wait! We’re much too poor to celebrate.

“Your dad’s a way-smart engineer, but this has been an awful year.

“Our barges sank, our house is ash. We’re high on kids but low on cash.”

His dad, Immanuel, agrees. “We might do better overseas.”

Al moves to Russia, then starts school; he thinks that poetry is cool.

But Dad says, “Son, let me be clear: you’re going to be an engineer.

“I’ve found for you this sweet-as chance to study chemistry in France.”

So Al is shipped across the sea to train in a laboratory.

And then, when Al turns 17, he learns of nitroglycerine.

It’s colourless and thick like snot; it also blows up quite a lot.

“Too dangerous!” chemists agree. “It can’t be made commercially.”

But Alfred’s mind is churning fast, he thinks the stuff is quite a blast.

He doesn’t cry, “Oh, doom and gloom!” Instead he grins and says “Boom! Boom!

He starts inventing, working late, he really starts to innovate.

He tries and fails and tries some more, until he finds what he looks for:

A (mostly) safe(ish) big break-through: A way to mass-produce the brew.

He starts to blend the fearsome snot; he mixes it with quite a lot.

And lo, behold, the happy shock, when mixing it with chalky rock

The mixture turns to orange dough; it kneads and moulds, is safe to throw,

Only explodes just when you please. “This stuff’s the bomb,” young Al decrees.

“I’m going to make it day and night; I think I’ll call it dynamite!”

Al’s dynamite is safe to use; it catches on, it’s in the news.

It’s better than what went before; it’s used for roads, it’s used for war…

(But kindly Al hopes wars will cease and dynamite will lead to peace.)

Soon Al’s built 90 factories, he’s famous, rich, the real bee’s knees.

He’s busy-as, inventing heaps, he’s one of Europe’s grandest peeps.

(Although he’s but a plain civilian, he’s worth around a quarter billion.)

He works nonstop for years and years, he patents hundreds of ideas,

And through all this, cause he’s no fool, he still thinks poetry is cool.

He writes and reads and ruminates, on life and love and health and fate,

And benefiting humankind, and what might give him peace of mind.

Then Alfred invents one thing more: a richer prize than all before.

The deets are all in his obit: For med, chem, physics, peace and lit,

He donates almost all his cash; the crowd goes wild, there’s quite a splash.

And so, though Al Nobel is gone, his Nobel Prizes still live on

Paid for by his last donation, every year a celebration

Of all the best we try to do. Who knows? One year it could be you.

One thing is sure, Al lived the dream, of taming nitroglycerine.

More on Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel was a Swedish engineer who made his fortune by inventing dynamite. On his death, Alfred established the annual Nobel Prizes, donating the equivalent of 250 million dollars in today’s money.

Today, Alfred’s Nobel Prizes are perhaps the most prestigious in the world.

Author: cristyburne


4 thoughts on “Dynamite Idea! Alfred Nobel’s life and times…in rhymes!

  1. Hilarious poem Cristy! Taught me heaps. I wonder if the School Mag would like it?


  2. That is just brilliant! And hilarious!


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