10 Scientists Killed By Their Work

1. Elizabeth Ascheim

Shortly after her mother died, Elizabeth Ascheim married her doctor, Dr. Wolf. He was interested in, by then, the most recent discovery – x-rays. She even left her job as bookkeeper to join her husband in experiments. They bought an x-ray machine and made the first x-ray lab in San Francisco. Unfortunately, they hadn’t known about consequences of x-rays and used themselves as experiment objects. Elizabeth Ascheim died from cancer because of lack of protection.


2. Louis Slotin

Louis Slotin worked on the Manhattan Project, the first nuclear bomb project. In the process he accidentally droped a sphere of beryllium onto a second sphere causing a prompt critical reaction. Other scientists in the room saw a “blue glow” of air ionization and felt a “heat wave”. The amount of radiation he was exposed to was equivalent to standing 4800 feet away from an atomic bomb explosion. Slotin immediately was moved to hospital where died nine days later.

3. Otto Lilienthal

The Glider King, as Lilienthal was wide-known, was pioneer of human aviation, and was the first man with several successfully repeated gliding flights. His photos were in all newspapers and magazines, creating public opinion that human aviation is possible after all. On a flight in 1896 Lilienthal broke his spine after 17 meters high fall. Ironically, his last word were, “Small sacrifices must be made!”

4. Maria Curie

As it’s well known, Maria and her husband Pierre in 1898 discovered radium. They proceeded with researching this element and benefits of it. Unfortunately, despite benefits, Maria Curie discovered that constant exposure to radiation lead to illness. She died of leukemia in 1934.

5. John Godfrey Parry-Thomas

John Godfrey Parry-Thomas was a Welsh motor-racer and engineer. His lifetime wish was to break the land speed record set by Malcolm Campbell. For that purpose he created a car named Babs. He managed to do it. The record stood for a year, after Campbell broke it again. On trying to reclaim his record, one of the chains of the car snapped and flew into his neck, partially decapitating him and causing instant death.

6. Alexander Bogdanov

In search of eternal youth Alexander Bogdanov began experiments with blood transfusion. He made transfusion to himself, claiming that he had suspended balding and improved his eyesight. However he didn’t test the donor’s blood and took blood infected with malaria and tuberculosis. He died as consequence of this deceases.

7. Jean-Francois de Rozier

Jean-Francois de Rozier was a teacher of physics and chemistry, who had witnessed the world’s first balloon flight causing him passion of flight. He took the first manned 3000 ft balloon flight, but didn’t stop there. He had intention to fly over the English Channel from England to France. Unfortunately, after reaching 1500 ft balloon deflated and fell.

8. Karl Scheele

Karl Scheele was a great pharmaceutical scientist who discovered a lot of chemical elements: oxygen, chlorine, tungsten, manganese and molybdenum. But he also had a habit to taste his discoveries. Incredible, but truth, he managed to survive a taste-test of hydrogen-cyanide. However, his luck has run-out and he died of poisoning after tasting mercury.

9. Henry Winstanley

Henry Winstanley was inventor of the Eddystone lighthouse. He was extremely confident in his invention, so he demanded to be inside it during a storm, to test its strength. Unfortunately, the lighthouse collapsed, killing Winstanley and five other people.

10. Karel Soucek

Karel Soucek was a stuntman who invented a “capsule” with which he claimed that he could ride down Niagara Falls. In 1985 helped by financial company, a special waterfall was created from the top of the 180 ft high Astrodome in Texas, with a plunge pit at the bottom. Soucek’s intention was to drop the capsule while he is in, right down to the pool. Unfortunately, he hit the rim of it and died the next day.