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These Science Experiments Led To The Demise Of Their Creators
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Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier

  • Year of Death: 1785
  • Experiment: Double-Balloon Test
  • Cause of Death: Likely Blunt-Forced Trauma From High Fall

The legend of Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier is very well known, most likely due to being quite the showman. He loved to capture the public’s attention. He’s also the first man to ever ascend in a hot air balloon. Which he did along with Marquis d’Arlandes. Drawn toward chemistry and experimental physics in school, he actually invented the breathing apparatus that is the basis for SCUBA gear today. The same equipment is used for hazard workers and partially for astronauts too.

These Science Experiments Led To The Demise Of Their Creators
[Image via Picryl]
Rozier’s theatrics caused him to take liberties and put himself in dangerous situations when displaying his inventions or doing lectures. This cost him one day as he attempted to “one-up” Jean-Pierre Blanchard, the first man to cross the English Channel. Rozier designed a new type of “double-balloon” with a hot air balloon underneath a hydrogen balloon. On July 15, 1785, he tried out his invention and died as he fell to Earth. It is widely assumed the heat along with hydrogen caused a fire and Rozier simply decided to jump out.

These Science Experiments Led To The Demise Of Their Creators
[Image via The New Yorker]

Louis Slotin

  • Year of Death: 1946
  • Experiment: The Manhattan Project
  • Cause of Death: Massive Radiation Poisoning

Louis Slotin also took part in the infamous Manhattan Project, along with Harry Daghlian, Jr. However, Harry’s incident happened in 1945 and Slotin knew all about it. Everyone involved in the project knew and took major precautions afterward to protect themselves. Slotin had a doctorate in chemistry and helped to design the Cyclotron, an early particle accelerator. It’s obvious that the United States wanted someone like him involved in the development of the first nuclear bomb.

These Science Experiments Led To The Demise Of Their Creators
[Image via Atomic Heritage Foundation]
However, in 1946, during an experiment, Slotin dropped a sphere or beryllium onto a second sphere. Both spheres were even wrapped around a plutonium core. This caused an immediate critical reaction, with scientists present claiming to see a “blue glow” of the air ionization as well as feeling a major heatwave. Slotin ran outside and was incredibly ill, then rushed to a hospital where he died just 9 days later. He had massive radiation poisoning, which was equivalent to standing just 4800 feet away from an atomic bomb explosion. As far as killer science experiments go, Slotin went out big.

These Science Experiments Led To The Demise Of Their Creators
[Image via The Hamilton Spectator]

Karel Soucek

  • Year of Death: 1984
  • Experiment: Stunt Barrel
  • Cause of Death: Blunt Force Trauma From Stunt Fall

The term “go big or go home” can certainly be applied to Karel Soucek. Born in Czechoslovakia, he became a stuntman who worked a lot in America. He made several things he would do stunts with, but he had his most genius stunt yet. Going over Niagra Falls in a barrel. Soucek custom-built a shock-absorbent barrel that could theoretically handle the fall. At 9 feet long and 5 feet in diameter, it should handle the impact. In 1984, he went over the waterfall. He emerged somehow alive but bleeding. While he tested this barrel, he did not test another until showtime.

These Science Experiments Led To The Demise Of Their Creators
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To even finance the Niagra Falls project, he convinced a company to sponsor him for another crazy stunt. He’d be dropped from a barrel 180 feet from the top of the Houston Astrodome into a tank of water in 1985. Even his friend, legendary stuntman Evel Knieval tried to talk Karel out of the insane stunt. But Soucek decided to do it anyway with the performance acting as his barrel experiment too. However, once the barrel released it began to spin badly and hit the rim of the water tank. Karel’s chest and abdomen were crushed and his skull was fractured. He died at the hospital that day.

These Science Experiments Led To The Demise Of Their Creators
[Image via Mikhail Markovskiy/Shutterstock.com]

Carl Scheele

  • Year of Death: 1786
  • Experiment: Taste-Testing and Enhaling Heavy Metal Toxins
  • Cause of Death: Heavy Metal Poisoning

Carl Scheele has finally been given proper credit for his work in chemistry but for years, this was not the case. He actually discovered several chemical elements years before others did so, yet the others were given credit for those discoveries. The most notable element that Carl was given 100% credit for is Oxygen. Yet he also discovered molybdenum, tungsten, manganese, and chlorine. However, many of these chemicals were and still are quite toxic. Especially without barriers.

These Science Experiments Led To The Demise Of Their Creators
[Image via Jarun Ontakrai/Shutterstock.com]
Scheele was a genius pharmaceutical chemist, but he was the first to discover them and could not have been aware of how toxic they were. One of the most unique things about Carl is that he loved to use all of his senses to test his work, including smell and taste. Two things that are kind of bad to use when it comes to toxic things. He somehow survived his hydrogen cyanide taste test. Yet he exposed himself to mercury, lead, fluoric acid, among many more. These killer science experiments caused him to die from heavy metal poisoning at just 44 years old.

These Science Experiments Led To The Demise Of Their Creators
[Image via ARD-Mediathek]

Max Valier

  • Year of Death: 1930
  • Experiment: Working With Liquid Propellant Rockets
  • Cause of Death: Rocket Explosion

Max Valier put an entirely different spin on killer science experiments. He was a brilliant man who was a rocket pioneer and even founded Germany’s Verein für Raumschiffahrt (VfR Spaceflight Society). It was the world’s largest beginner rocketry society that could help people learn a lot about the industry. The literal rocket scientist developed the initial rocket systematic program and its four stages of development. His first stage was to do static engine experiments, the second stage was to use ground-based rocket-powered vehicles.

These Science Experiments Led To The Demise Of Their Creators
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The third stage was to produce a rocket-assisted aircraft, then the fourth stage was to make a complete rocket-propelled ship. He succeeded in the first stage and in the second, he made the world’s first rocket car. It hit speeds of 145mph! That made him feel confident enough to move into the third stage, where he worked with liquid propellant rockets for an aircraft. However, on May 17, 1930, one of the liquid oxygen-gasoline fueled rocket motors exploded. This sadly killed the brilliant inventor. Yet his research and work did not go to waste as others picked up on it and made space travel possible.

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