From the blog Revolving Doors (2008-12-17):
There are many ways to leave this world. John Tyndall, famous Irish scientist who discovered that CO2 and vapor enables the atmosphere to trap heat, died in a rather anticlimactic way. In his late years he suffered from insomnia and his wife accidentally killed him when she by mistake gave him too much of his sleep medication. I wonder how he exclaimed his last words: “Louisa, my poor darling, you have just killed your John”. Matter-of-factly, fearfully, tensely, laughingly, angrily, whisperingly, chokingly, gigglingly, graspingly, gaspingly, disappointedly?
Another famous scientist who was interested in the trapping of heat, Jean-Baptist Fourier, was actually killed indirectly by self-inflicted heat confinement. He had this idea that heat was essential for good health. He always kept his home extra warm an he wore multiple layers of clothes. A fall down a flight of stairs sent him to heaven.
I read about these deaths in Professor Christian Azaar’s book Makten över klimatet.
I don’t think I would call Tyndall’s death funny… Unfortunate, yes. Funny, no. Louisa was so distraught over the accident (1893) that she devoted her time to collecting Tyndall’s papers and letters with the intention of producing a grand Life and Letters of Tyndall. It proved such a large task that it was incomplete when she died in 1940. Others continued the project for her and published Life and Work of John Tyndall in 1945. It has been a while since a Tyndall biography, and one of the benefits of the John Tyndall Correspondence Project is the writing of a new biography.