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Scientist Died After Touching Nanotech Sample

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posted on May, 23 2008 @ 04:14 PM
A 59-year-old Russian scientist died from multi organ failure, after she opened a letter with "white powder". The white powder was a sample of some new nanotech invention. The sender of the letter says he has sent samples to over 100 leading scientists in Russia and abroad. Svetlana Shubnikova's death is still a mystery.

Moscow News: Scientist’s Death Remains a Mystery


Last week 59-year old Svetlana Shubnikova, deputy director of the Crystallography Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences opened an envelope containing white powder in her office.


The Interfax news agency quoted unnamed source in the academic circles as saying that the woman was treated for multiple organ failure which means that her body was struck by an acute sickness. Her liver, kidneys and brain suffered most, the source said. The Izvestia daily quoted a medical source as saying that the scientist was hospitalized with acute poisoning symptoms.


"The powder is a result of my research project in nanotechnologies. Exact information is a secret. I will only say that this is quartz sand that can be used in cosmetics, for example. It maces colors more vivid," the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily quoted the scientist as saying.

Bardakhanov said that he had sent the letters about his research along with sand samples to a hundred of leading scientists in Russia and abroad and none of them has had health problems after opening the envelopes.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

I guess it's too early to say what really happened here. The substance has been analysed and determined as being "harmless". Maybe the substance was only harmfull to her? Or maybe something else killed her? I wonder if all the other scientists are ok.

posted on May, 23 2008 @ 05:50 PM
It could be a fast acting agent. Perhaps the substance was sealed inside the envelope and broken as soon as it was open.

Then again the scietist could have died from shock or heart attack. Maybe the scientist thought the white powder was anthrax and panicked to death.

posted on May, 23 2008 @ 05:57 PM
Though we don't know for sure, it seems that the most likely 'reaction' to nano-tech exposure would be similar to other toxins. It would require a certain amount of exposure, and then toxic levels would build up.

Simply having incidental contact with a small amount of super-powdered quartz would not necessarily cause organ failure.

Now, it might be possible for an -injection- of a nano-tech engine, such as something that could insinuate itself into biological processes might be able to cause massive damage to organs causing them to fail. The engine would also have to be self-reproducing to develop the sheer numbers of copies which would quickly become toxic.

What I'm suggesting is that, sure, bio-toxic nanotech weaponized systems could be created. But not all nano-materials are bio-toxic in small quantities by definition.

Clearly the technology is in its infancy, so I'm not sure one can definitively make an assessment, but so far this is what we're seeing.

(For analogous situation, check out this reference on nano-tubes being similarly toxic to asbestos fibers. Slashdot - Nanotubes)

[edit on 23-5-2008 by Badge01]


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