Tycho Brahe was a brilliant man who challenged the way science was perceived in the 16th century. Sadly, he was also proof that being brilliant doesn’t necessarily mean you’re always smart.
Sure, Brahe was one of the fathers of modern astronomy and his theories were revolutionary… unfortunately, his strange and careless death is how most people will remember him.
“The father of modern astronomy,” Tycho Brahe had always been passionate about science. In 1572, he was the only one of his contemporaries who correctly identified a supernova as an event taking place outside of our atmosphere.
This idea was challenging in an era when astronomers worked without the benefit of telescopes. To try and explain what he observed, Brahe built several models for demonstrating his findings.
At the same time, Brahe was also a bit of a bad boy. He once lost most of his nose in a duel and had to wear a metal one in its place.
But Brahe was perhaps best known for what occurred during an epic feast—where he would eventually lose his life.
While attending a dinner that lasted many hours, Brahe refused to use the bathroom, even though he desperately had to urinate. He reportedly thought this would be considered rude to the host.
As a result, Brahe contracted a bladder infection that killed him after a handful of deeply painful days. Brahe reportedly even penned his own epitaph: “He lived like a sage, but died like a fool.”
Let this be a lesson to us all: never hold it in. It might just kill you!
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