Ascanio Sobrero, Italian chemist and discoverer of nitroglycerine, c 1860-1869
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photographic portrait of Ascanio Sobrero (1812-1888) beside a photograph of a monument honouring his life. Sobrero worked first as a physician and surgeon before changing to study chemistry at Turin, Paris and Giesen. Sobrero discovered nitroglycerine in 1846 but it was not until much later that Alfred Nobel used it in the explosives industry.