Of course, no obituary does justice to a person’s life, but this particular one disturbed Nobel deeply. The epitaph pronounced him the “Merchant

of Death,” referring to military uses of his explosive inventions. It was a cruel stroke, for while Nobel’s discoveries had obvious military applications, they were also a boon to road construction, mining, and stump removal. Still and all, the phrase “Merchant of Death” seemed to encapsule his life.