A Fatal Experiment

Georg Wilhelm Richmann, a German physicist working at the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in Russia, is believed to be the first man in history to be killed in an accident involving electrical experiments or the intentional harnessing of electricity. While attempting to observe the affects of a thunderstorm on an insulated metal rod while leaning out of an exterior door, Richmann was struck by a direct bolt of what is believed to have been an example of the phenomenon known as ball lightning. Striking his forehead and killing him instantly, the electrical surge blew his shoes open, lit his clothes on fire and tore the door off its hinges. The event was observed by an engraver that Richmann had brought to make an illustration of the experiment’s results for posterity.

Submission by Logan Agle. Thank you.

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