Nn – Nz

Nobel, Alfred

Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born on October 21, 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden.  He was often sickly as a child, but he was always lively and curious about the world around him.  When Alfred was 4, his father moved St. Petersburg, Russia, to take a job manufacturing explosives.  The family followed him in 1842. Alfred’s newly affluent parents sent him to private tutors in Russia, and he quickly mastered chemistry and became fluent in English, French, German and Russian.  He left Russia at the age of 18. After spending a year in Paris studying chemistry, he moved to the United States.  After five years, he returned to Russia and began working in his father’s factory making military equipment for the Crimean War.  In 1859, at the war’s end, the company went bankrupt. The family moved back to Sweden, and Alfred soon began experimenting with explosives. In 1864, when Alfred was 29, a huge explosion in the family’s Swedish factory killed five people, including Alfred’s younger brother Emil.  Dramatically affected by the event, Nobel set out to develop a safer explosive. In 1867, he patented a mixture of nitroglycerin and an absorbent substance, producing what he named “dynamite.”  In 1888, Alfred’s brother Ludvig died while in France.  A French newspaper erroneously published Alfred’s obituary instead of Ludvig’s, and condemned Alfred for his invention of dynamite.  Provoked by the event and disappointed with how he felt he might be remembered, Nobel set aside a bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes to honor men and women for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine and literature, and for working toward peace.  Sweden’s central bank, Sveriges Riksbank, established the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1968 in honor of Alfred, who had died of a stroke on December 10, 1896, in San Remo, Italy.  After taxes and bequests to individuals, Nobel left 31,225,000 Swedish kronor (equivalent to 250 million U.S. dollars in 2008) to fund the Nobel Prizes.


Noble gas

Any of a group of rare chemically inert gaseous elements of group 8A or 0 of the Periodic Table of Elements: argon, helium, krypton, neon, xenon, and usually radon.  Noble gases, also called inert gases, exhibit great stability and extremely low reaction rates.



An antivirus and security software package from ESET.


Node B (eNB)                                   

See Base transceiver station (BTS).



Can refer to the name or designation something is given, the process of naming, or a system or set of terms or symbols, especially in a particular science, discipline or art.


Non-player character

In gaming, an incidental character that may or may not interact with player-driven characters and may or may not help to guide the game.  Also known as an “NPC.”


Non-volatile storage

Computer storage that is not lost when the computer is turned off.


NOR flash memory

See NAND flash memory.



See North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).



An android that pretends to be a member of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew in order to take control of the ship and steer it to an unnamed planet.  Once on the planet, Captain James T. Kirk is reunited with an old nemesis, Harry Mudd.  In I, Mudd, which originally aired on November 3, 1967, it is revealed that Mudd crash-landed on the planet, only to become both master and slave of a planet full of obedient-yet-adamant androids, who cannot be without a master and would not let Mudd leave.  In order to escape, Mudd had Norman divert the Enterprise, a starship full of 430 “masters,” for the needy androids to cater to.  The captive landing party discover that there are many copies of each “model” of android, except for Norman.  There is only one Norman, which the crew correctly take to be the central intelligence.  Flooding the androids with illogic, they shut down one after another, with the episode climax being a string of riddles and make-believe activities, which the analytical brain of Norman cannot comprehend.  Eventually, steam rises from his computerized head, and Norman shuts down, leaving the landing party free to go.  As an act of justice, instead of granting Harry Mudd his freedom, Kirk leaves him on the planet with the remaining androids … including many fashioned in the image of his shrewish wife, Stella … until he mends his ways.


North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)

A U.S./Canadian organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control over North America.  Aerospace warning includes the monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation and warning of attack against North America by aircraft, missiles or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands.  Aerospace control includes ensuring air sovereignty and air defense of the airspace over Canada and the United States.  The May 2006 NORAD Agreement renewal added a maritime warning, which entails a shared awareness and understanding of the activities conducted in U.S. and Canadian maritime approaches, maritime areas and inland waterways.


Norton Anti-virus

A family of antivirus software programs designed to detect computer viruses, malware, spyware and other threats.


Nowhere Man

One of the 1996 premiere series for the fledgling UPN television network, Nowhere Man was designed to be a cross between The Fugitive and The Prisoner.  Photojournalist Thomas Veil took a picture he shouldn’t have, and someone wants the negatives.  Someone powerful enough to alter every element of Veil’s life until they get it!  Lasting only one season, Nowhere Man, which starred Bruce Greenwood, featured plot twists, betrayals and a shocking series climax.



See Non-player character.


Nth metal

Sometimes referred to as “Ninth metal,” an element unique to the planet Thanagar in the Hawkman storylines of DC Comics books.  This metal is capable of governing the four forces of the universe (strong, weak, gravitational and electromagnetic).  Around 1300 BC Earth-time, the Thanagarians used its properties for space travel.  One vessel crashed on Earth and was found by Prince Khufu in 19th dynasty Egypt.  Calling the substance “night metal,” Khufu created belts that gave him and Princess Chay-Ara to ability to fly.  Soon after, they were murdered by the evil Hath-Set, but the metal had created an eternal soul-bond between the two. Through the millennia, the lovers were reincarnated time and again.  Meanwhile, the Thanagarians lost the knowledge of the Nth Metal.  In Earth’s 1940s, Thanagarian spy Paran Katar befriended Carter Hall, the current incarnation of Khufu, with whom he rediscovered the Nth metal.  Carter used it to become the heroic Hawkman, while Paran Katar brought it back to Thanagar and founded a police force of flying Wingmen.  When two of the Wingmen, Paran’s son Katar Hol and his companion Shayera Thal, visited Earth, they became known as the new Hawkman and Hawkwoman.  Still later, Katar Hol merged with a Hawk Avatar, and all known Nth Metal was made part of his body, until he died in another dimension. More recently, Thanagarian conqueror Onimar Synn returned from oblivion. Synn was one of the few that still knew how to tap into the metal’s true powers and control the fundamental forces of the universe, but was nevertheless defeated by the Justice Society of America, including the reincarnated Hawkman Carter Hall.  Hawkman also owns the old Egyptian artifact known as the Claw of Horus, which is made from Nth metal and can utilize a fuller range of the its properties.  Drawing its power from the planet, the Claw’s punch has knocked out even Superman.



A member of Lex Luthor’s Infinity Inc., whose metagene gives him the power to split into two beings.  He named himself “Double Trouble.”  His alternate personality began to bully his original personality, until eventually his dominant half decided he wanted to become the only personality.  He believed that if he killed Jerome, he would be the only one left, free to do what he wanted; however, when he did kill Jerome, he soon found that he could not exist on his own, and he disappeared into non-existence.


“Number One”

In the Star Trek universe, a short name used by a starship captain, in reference to his second-in-command.  Initially used only in the original pilot of the first 1966-69 series, it was revived for Star Trek: The Next Generation as a common term that the Enterprise‘s Captain Picard used to refer to Commander Riker.


Nygma, Edward

According to the 8th Annual of Detective Comics, “Questions Multiply The Mystery,” Edward Nashton was very inquisitive as a child, asking every question that popped into his mind.  He asked endless questions from adults, who would often get annoyed with him.  Years passed, and Nashton found himself in the Gotham City working class, which he described it as being in hell.  Turning to crime as a means of entertainment, Nashton discovered that he was not satisfied with simply committing a crime.  He had to create hype and make himself known to the city and even to Batman.  Eventually, he created the persona of The Riddler, even changing his surname to Nygma, to create the inferred name “E. Nygma,” as in “enigma.”  On the big screen, Nigma was portrayed by Jim Carrey in 1995’s Batman Forever and on television, he is currently portrayed by Cory Michael Smith on the series Gotham.



See Naiad.



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