A postdoctoral researcher at Tsinghua University was killed in a Dec. 18 explosion and fire in a chemistry laboratory on the Beijing campus, according to university statements on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo.
Local media report that the deceased researcher is Xiangjian Meng, 32. He received a Ph.D. from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore in 2014.
“We are deeply saddened by the accident and loss of a good postdoc scientist,” Tsinghua chemistry department chair Xun Wang told C&EN.
“According to the investigation of the government police department as well as our own investigation, the tragedy was caused by the accidental explosion of a hydrogen gas cylinder,” Wang said. As of Dec. 30, the blast’s cause was unclear.
Tsinghua has stopped using similar hydrogen gas cylinders from the manufacturer of the cylinder that exploded, the university said on Weibo.
Exterior photos and video of the school’s Ho Tim chemistry building taken during the fire and posted online at on.cc show broken windows and heavy black smoke. An interior photo taken by aBeijing News reporter indicates substantial damage to the lab.