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Beethoven: Reconciled To The World Through A Lock Of His Hair

Date:
December 29, 2000
Source:
U.S. Department Of Energy, Office Of Science
Summary:
The Department of Energy's Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory has revealed the mystery cause of Beethoven's death from a lock of his hair. The tests were undertaken, in a way, at Beethoven's request. In a letter to his brothers in 1802, the troubled genius wrote, "As soon as I am dead, if Dr. Schmidt is still alive, ask him in my name to discover my disease...so at least as much as is possible the world may be reconciled to me after my death."

December 13 —- In 1827 a young German conductor traveled to Vienna to visit the dying Beethoven, and the day after his death cut a small lock of his hair to keep as a memento. In October 2000, strands from that lock of hair found their way into Argonne National Laboratory's circular electron accelerator to undergo chemical analysis. The results, announced in October, show extremely high levels of lead that may have caused Beethoven's lifelong health problems, personality disorders, and eventual death.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by U.S. Department Of Energy, Office Of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

U.S. Department Of Energy, Office Of Science. "Beethoven: Reconciled To The World Through A Lock Of His Hair." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 December 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001228084801.htm>.
U.S. Department Of Energy, Office Of Science. (2000, December 29). Beethoven: Reconciled To The World Through A Lock Of His Hair. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001228084801.htm
U.S. Department Of Energy, Office Of Science. "Beethoven: Reconciled To The World Through A Lock Of His Hair." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001228084801.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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