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Coniine poison and Socrates, a victim

Coniine poison and Socrates, a victim

A624/0503

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Credit

LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Coniine poison molecule and Socrates (upper left), its most famous victim. Coniine is a nerve toxin found in the hemlock plant (Conium maculatum). It blocks nerve signals to muscles, resulting in paralysis and death from respiratory failure. Socrates (circa 470-399 BC) was a philosopher in Athens, Ancient Greece, who upset the leaders of Athens through his teachings. He was condemned to death, and drank a solution of hemlock, killing him within a few hours. In the molecular model, atoms are colour-coded: carbon (grey), nitrogen (blue) and hydrogen (white).

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