5 Chemists Killed or Injured by their Experiments

Chemistry is a strange subject and to discover great things, Chemists had to suffer great as well. Here are 5 chemists killed or injured by their experiments.

Karl Scheele

He died while testing his discoveries.

Scheele was a brilliant pharmaceutical chemist who discovered many chemical elements-Oxygen, Molybdenum, Tungsten, Manganese and Chlorine. He also discovered a process very similar to pasteurization.

Scheele had the habit of tasting his discoveries and, fortunately, survived his taste test of hydrogen cyanide HCN. But alas, his luck was to run out: he died of symptoms strongly resembling mercury poisoning.

Robert Bunsen

He blinded himself in one eye.

Robert Bunsen is probably best known for having given his name to the Bunsen burner, which he helped to popularize. He started his scientific career in organic chemistry but nearly died twice of arsenic poisoning.

Shortly after his near-death experiences, he lost sight in his right eye after an explosion of Cacodyl Cyanide. These being excellent reasons to change fields, he moved into Inorganic Chemistry and developed the spectroscopy field.

Sir Humphrey Davy

Disaster, disaster & disasters.

Sir Humphrey Davy, the brilliant British Chemist and inventor, got a very bumpy start to his science career.

As a young apprentice, he was fired from his job at an apothecary because he caused too many explosions! When he eventually took up the field of chemistry, he had a habit of inhaling the various gasses he was dealing with.

Fortunately this bad habit led to his discovery of the anesthetic properties of Nitrous Oxide. But unfortunately, this same habit led to him nearly killing himself on many occasions.

The frequent poisonings left him an invalid for the remaining two decades of his life.

During this time, he also permanently damaged his eyes in a Nitrogen Trichloride explosion.

Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday suffered chronic poisoning.

Thanks to the injury to Sir Humphrey Davy’s eyes, Faraday became an apprentice to him.

He went on to improve on Davy’s methods of electrolysis and make important discoveries in the field of Electromagnetism.

Unfortunately for him, some of Davy’s misfortune rubbed off, and Faraday also suffered damage to his eyes in a nitrogen chloride explosion. He spent the remainder of his life suffering chronic chemical poisoning.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie died of Radiation Exposure.

In 1898, Curie and her husband, Pierre, discovered radium. She spent the remainder of her life performing radiation research and studying radiation therapy.

Her constant radiation exposure led to her contracting leukemia, and she died in 1934.

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