Charles Darwin at a green chalkboard.

2001 Darwin Awards

Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible.

Ethanol Schmethanol
2001 Darwin Award Winner
Unconfirmed by Darwin

"We'll soon FIND OUT if I'm a scientist or not!
I'll drop a pellet of the compound I created into this test tube..." (*)

With those murmured words, a Russian professor quaffed an aliquot of clear fluid from a beaker... and slowly succumbed to methanol poisoning.

The Oxford University professor had been in the habit of drinking laboratory ethanol until he unwittingly poured his last drink from a bottle of methanol. According to Usenet scientists, methanol is a common lab solvent that looks and smells like ethanol but is "five times as toxic and five times less intoxicating." Those who drink it invariably drink too much.

"By the time methanol symptoms are recognized, treatment, including kidney dialysis, may be too late." The 44-year-old professor of Ecology was said to have had poor vision, and probably misread the label.

Information on Methanol
(*) Quote from Stan Lee's Spiderman, November 1963

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Submitted by: Louise Robinson, Darius Xym
Reference: London Telegraph

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