A chemistry postdoc at Tsinghua University in Beijing died following a lab explosion earlier this month, Nature News reports.
Meng Xiangjian, the postdoctoral researcher, died after a hydrogen storage cylinder exploded and caused a fire, according to the university's Weibo social media account. According to Nature News, the university said that all others were evacuated. The school has stopped using that type of hydrogen gas cylinders from that manufacturer and has begun an investigation into safety on campus with a focus on chemical storage, it adds, noting that a police investigation is also underway.
Nature News notes that deaths in academic labs are rare. Sheharbano Sangji, a research assistant at the University of California, Los Angeles, died when the syringe she was using to transfer tert-Butyllithium broke and exposed the chemical to the air, causing it to ignite. Patrick Harran, the head of her laboratory, faced criminal charges, though the case was settled out of court.