18 December 2008
Thomas Midgley was an American chemist who invented both leaded petrol and CFCs. Though lauded during his time, he has come to be known as having “had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth history” and “the one human responsible for more deaths than any other in history” due to his inventions. He eventually contracted Polio and lead poisoning and was left disabled in his bed. This caused him to create an elaborate system of pulleys and ropes in order to lift himself from bed. He died at the age of 55 after being strangled by one of his pulleys and is notable for the fact that both his inventions, leaded petrol and his pulley operated bed, contributed to his death.