Friday, December 18, 2015

Chemistry fire/death at Tsinghua University?

Credit: Beijing News
There are both English language and Chinese language reports of a chemistry lab accident at Tsinghua University in Beijing on Friday morning, with one fatality. Some reports indicate the fatality was a postdoctoral fellow. Anyone have any news?

E-mail me at, if so.

UPDATE: Quite a dramatic picture from Shanghaiist - dunno if true. Also, the name of the deceased:

"32-year-old Meng Xiangjian, who joined the university last year, has been named as the sole victim of the explosion."


  1. Sad coincidence with the latest Harran drama: tert-Butylithium may have been involved, according to several Chinese news agencies :-(

    Back in grad school, I always relied on the buddy system any time I had to use t-BuLi, diazomethane, ozone, or other highly reactive chemicals. No perceived inconvenience/hassle should override safety.

    1. the university said the explosion resulted from an experiment testing a hydrogenation catalyst. (I wonder if it was a high-pressure autoclave, on the picture the lab interior is demolished by force as if from a mid-sized blast, the fire that charred the interior could have been from solvent bottles shattered in the blast)

    2. @milkshake - Where did you get this info?

    3. Can't speak for milkshake, but some of these details are over at the Chemistry Reddit: