Scientists Who Died From Their Discoveries

The lingering curiosity of human beings that makes our time here on earth interesting, and yet, the further we push in our explorations of the world, the closer to death we may become.

These same great deeds are what make us immortal, even as we may meet a tragic end.

Here I have listed some of the passionate scientists which died or got severely injured through their experiments and research.

Karl Scheele

Karl Scheele

Karl Scheele was a brilliant pharmaceutical chemist, who died from tasting some of his discoveries.

He discovered many chemical elements like oxygen (though Joseph Priestley published his findings first), molybdenum, tungsten, manganese, and chlorine.

Scheele also discovered a process very similar to pasteurization.

Scheele had the habit of taste testing his discoveries and, fortunately, managed to survive his taste test of hydrogen cyanide.

But, in a turn of misfortune, he died of symptoms strongly resembling mercury poisoning.

Pilatre de Rozier, French balloonist

Jean-Francois De Rozier

Jean-Francois was a teacher of physics and chemistry, who become the 1st victim ever of an air crash.

In 1783 he witnessed the world’s first balloon flight which created in him a passion for flight.

After helping in the untethered flight of a sheep, a chicken, and a duck, he eventually took the first manned free flight in a balloon.

He traveled at an altitude of 3,000 feet in a hot air balloon.

He didn’t stop there and planned to cross the English Channel from France to England.

Who knew that it was his last flight?

Unfortunately, it was; after reaching 1,500 feet in a combined hot air and gas balloon, the balloon deflated, causing him to fall to his death.

As we learn, his fiancée also died by committing suicide within a few days of his death.


Sir David Brewster

Sir David was one of the great scientists, inventors, and writers.

He was interested in optics, especially in polarization which requires an excellent vision.

While he was experimenting, he went almost blind, and, though his vision returned, he faced eye troubles till his death.


Elizabeth Fleischman-Aschheim

Elizabeth Fleischman-Aschheim was an American radiographer who is considered an X-ray pioneer.

Elizabeth Fleischman Ascheim married to a doctor, Dr. Woolf, and Dr. Woolf was very much interested in a discovery made by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, X-Rays.

Ascheim also got equally interested in this discovery, as her husband was, as she used to help Dr. Woolf as a bookkeeper and in many prospects.

Then what happened was she bought a newly created x-ray machine in Sam Francisco, and kept it in her husband’s office.

At that time people were not much aware of its side effects.

Unfortunately, they did not realize the consequences of their lack of protection and Elizabeth died of extremely widespread and violent cancer.


Alexander Bogdanov

Alexander Bogdanov was a physician and a great revolutionary scientist in from Russia, who began early experiments with blood transfusion in 1924, in a search for eternal youth.

He used to perform transfusions on himself.

After 11 transfusions, he declared that he had suspended his balding & improved his eyesight.

But the science of transfusion was too young at that time, unfortunately in 1928, he took a transfusion of malaria & tuberculosis infected blood.

After the incident, he died soon after.


Robert Bunsen

Robert Bunsen is a great chemist; you may have seen the Bunsen burner that made him popular.

Bunsen nearly died twice due to arsenic poisoning.

And he also lost his eyesight on the right side after an explosion occurred, due to Cacodyl Cyanide.

Then he shifted his organic career to inorganic chemistry and developed spectroscopy.


Sir Humphrey Davy

Sir Humphrey Davy was one of the most famous chemists & inventors of Britain.

He used to create many explosions in his laboratory – he was known for this.

When he took up chemistry, he had a habit of inhaling various gasses.

Fortunately, this bad habit made him discover the anesthetic properties of Nitrous Oxide.

But the same habit made him nearly kill himself many times, as he was dealing with this bad habit.

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

And next issue is that he had permanently damaged his eyes in a nitrogen trichloride explosion.

michael faraday

Michael Faraday

In the same way as Sir Humphrey Davy, Faraday became an apprentice to him.

He tried to improve Davy’s methods of electrolysis and to make important discoveries in electromagnetic.

He came to an unfortunate end for that, but not before also damaging his eyes in a nitrogen chloride explosion.

He had to suffer the rest of his life suffering from chronic chemical poisoning.


Madam Curie

Many know that in 1898 Madam Curie and her husband Pierre Curie discovered the element “radium”.

Madam Curie spent the maximum of her remaining life performing various research studies in radiation and radiation therapy.

Her constant exposure to radium causes in her a lethal disease.


Galileo Galilei

Everybody knows the greatest scientist Galileo.

But do you know that he lost his eyesight due to his experiments on sunlight?

We know that Galileo’s work on the refinement of the telescope opened the darkness of the universe for this generation.

He was so fascinated with the sun and spent many, many hours staring at the sun, and it caused him to damage his retinas.

It made him almost blind in the last 4 years of his life.

Slotin Argonne

Dr. Louis Slotin

Louise Slotin worked on a US project “Manhattan project” which designed the 1st nuclear bomb.

While he was experimenting once he accidentally dropped a sphere of Beryllium onto a second sphere causing a prompt critical reaction, as the spheres were wrapped around plutonium.

Other scientists witnessed a “blue glow” of air ionization and felt a “heatwave”.

He was rushed out immediately to the hospital, and he died on the 9th day.

And can you imagine that the amount of radiation exposure was equivalent to standing 4800 feet away from an atomic bomb explosion?

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