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Southard Assists Investigation into Death of Chris McCandless

Several years ago, Jonathan Southard, a professor of biochemistry in the Department of Chemistry, and his student Wendy Gruber analyzed seeds from Alaskan plants as part of an investigation into the mysterious death of Chris McCandless.

Author Jon Krakauer researched the journals left behind by McCandless in hopes of understanding what went wrong in the Alaskan wilderness. Krakauer is the author of Into the Wild, a story about the life and mysterious death of McCandless, who was found dead in September 1992 near Denali National Park in Alaska.

In a recent New Yorker article, Krakauer describes what he felt were the contributing factors in McCandless’ death, including a toxin from the plants in McCandless’ diet. 

Read more about how the Into the Wild mystery was cracked.

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