Edward DeMille Campbell earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1886 and became assistant professor of metallurgy in 1890. One day, just two short years later, Campbell entered the lab, bent to examine a student’s experiment – and a sudden explosion blew glass and other debris directly into the professor’s face.
Professor Campbell lost his sight that day – but that hardly slowed him. Just 10 days later, with his eyes completely covered with bandages, Campbell returned to his classes – and to the work he loved as director of the Chemical Laboratory.
Campbell immediately assumed a life strictly dedicated to a daily routine that started with a rigorous hour in the gym. He established certain hours when students and assistants would read to him – journals and other scholarly articles, as well as newspapers and other news of the day. With notes he prepared using a Braille typewriter, Campbell would become the author of more than 70 technical papers, and would remain at work at the University until his death in 1925.
To learn more, see this Michigan Heritage Project story.