(5 December 2009, Russia) In a scientific quest with unknown objectives, a student of the Kiev Polytechnic Institute inadvertently performed a chemical experiment on himself with fatal results. The 25-year-old chemistry student had acquired the peculiar habit of dipping his chewing gum in citric acid crystals while he worked, presumably to add a zesty flavor. He was hunched over at a computer in his parents’ house in the northern Ukraine city of Konotop when, whether by intention or inattention, the student dunked his gum into an unidentified chemical and popped it back into his mouth.
A loud pop was heard coming from his room.
|Every academic laboratory emphasizes the importance of never eating near chemicals because it is easy to confuse a tasty beverage with a toxic liquid, or salt your salad with arsenic.|
Putting aside the question of what he was doing with chemicals at home, the student was well aware of the need to keep chemicals away from food. But there he was, deceased, the lower part of his face blown off. Police found packets of citric acid and a similar-looking substance believed to be an explosive material, and think the student simply confused the packets.
A forensic examination established that the remains of the chewing gum was covered with an unidentified chemical substance believed to be explosive. At the time of the news reports, the local forensics lab did not have the necessary equipment to identify the substance.
Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it.