Ever since explorations and larger scientific experiments became common from the beginning of the 21st century, there have been several incidents where famous scientists died under mysterious circumstances. Some were murdered while others just dropped dead like flies. No wonder, conspiracy theories abound the mysterious deaths of these scientists. Decades later, the deaths still continue to give rise to speculations.
Let’s take a look at some of the famous scientists who died mysteriously all these years.
1. Rodney Marks
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The Australian astrophysicist died from acute methanol poisoning. But how he was poisoned, still remains a mystery. Suicide was ruled out in the investigations. Mark was a Smithsonian Society scientist and on 12 May 2000, the day he died, was working on a project in Antarctica. He suddenly fell ill on 11 May night, vomiting blood, as his condition deteriorated. Investigators alleged noncooperation from the National Science Foundation. Coroner Richard McElrea said he wasn’t entirely satisfied with the investigation.
2. Don Wiley
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The biophysicist’s body was dragged out from the Mississippi on 20 December 2001. His death was ruled homicide. He was last seen on 15 November and his abandoned rental car was found on a Tennessee bridge the next day. FBI declared it as an accidental death, stating Wiley fell from the bridge after exiting his car. But the bridge had a 6.5 feet high fence and anybody couldn’t just fall over it. Wiley’s death came after the Anthrax outburst in the US and many claim the scientist knew the origins of the deadly substance.
3. Tanya Holzmayer
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When the 46-year old geneticist opened the door for pizza delivery, she was shot dead by her colleague Guyang Matthew Huang. Holzmayer’s teenage son witnessed the horrific murder. Huang fled the scene and his body was discovered shortly. He apparently took his own life. Police were clueless about the motive behind Holzmayer’s murder. It was largely speculated that Huan killed her to avenge his firing by Holzmayer over some “company rules”.
4. Benito Que
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Cell biologist Benito Que’s body was found outside his laboratory, on 12 November 2001, on the grounds of Florida’s Miami Medical School. He was bludgeoned to death and appeared to be a victim of mugging. Four men wearing dark clothes and with baseball bats were reportedly spotted nearby at the time of Que’s death. Police dismissed the allegations and refused to discuss the matter publicly. Que was one of the most famous scientists working on an AIDS vaccine project and that fueled rumors over a cover up.
5. Robert Leslie Burghoff
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The Texas Medical Center biochemist was not only knocked down by a van, it was willfully driven over him on the pathway where he was walking. The scientist was ploughed down and the vehicle fled the scene, leaving behind Burghoff spot dead. Texas, at that time, was in the midst of a flu outbreak which was hitting ships. Burghoff was studying the outbreak. He was also among the famous scientists working on gene mapping which led to much speculation about his death.