A chemistry postdoctoral researcher was killed in some sort of explosion or fire at Tsinghua University on Friday, according to a post by the university on the microblogging site Weibo. If other media reports are correct, the deceased postdoc is Xiangjian Meng, and he joined the university in 2014 after many years at the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The university has not released any details about the incident. A couple of early news reports mentioned tert-butyllithium as a possible culprit and another referenced an "organic catalysis experiment." Chinese media reports on Sunday pointed to hydrogen as the culprit, so perhaps it was a hydrogenation reaction?
Various stories (translations courtesy of Google):
- Nature, Dec. 18 - Postdoc dies in lab fire at Tsinghua University
- Daily Mail, Dec. 18 - Terrifying moment thick smoke billows out of university chemical lab as toxic explosion killed postdoctoral researcher in China
- Shanghai Daily, Dec. 18 - Postdoctoral researcher killed in lab blast at Tsinghua University
- on.cc, Dec. 18 - Tsinghua University postdoctoral laboratory explosion and fire killed Staff
- Shanghaiist, Dec. 19 - Tsinghua University explosion kills researcher as lab experiment goes wrong
- ScienceNet, Dec. 19 - Tsinghua University postdoctoral laboratory fire killed
- CRI, Dec. 19 - Tsinghua University Lab Explosion Occurs in Hydrogen Experiment
- Asia One, Dec. 20 - China uni student killed in chemistry lab blast
- Ecns.cn, Dec. 20 - Tsinghua University lab explosion occurs in hydrogen experiment
- China News, Dec. 20 - Tsinghua University chemistry lab explosion track: Postdoctoral do experiments with hydrogen gas explosion
- Chengdu Business Daily, Dec. 20 - Tsinghua University chemistry laboratory building explosion killed a postdoctoral
- Guizhou Daily, Dec. 20 - Department of Chemistry, Tsinghua University laboratory explosion killed 32-year-old postdoctoral spot
And a thread on reddit chemistry: Wow. Fire/Explosion leads to PostDoc death at Tsinghua University