Crazy experiments: 8 scientists who risked their life for science!


How far would you be willing to go to make scientific advancements?  Would you swallow glass, put yourself in contact with potentially deathly microbes or even, go as far as to hang yourself?  Many mind boggling scientific experiments prove the extend to which scientists are willing to roll up their sleeves to become the main actors of their own experiments!  

Kamikazes of the laboratory, these crazy scientists are not afraid of paying the price of to support their theories and hypothesis by offering their own bodies to strange scientific experiments.  What’s more, as a result of their often painful experiments these mad scientists have drawn conclusions which led them to published many advanced studies for the time.   Some are still being referred to today allowing for further scientific advancement.  Let’s have a look a 8 crazy experiments that are still remembered in the scientific world!

1/ Nicolae Minovici wanted to know how it felt to be hanged

At the start of the 20th century, while teaching medicine at the University of Bucharest, Nicolae Minovici wanted to know what it felt like to be hanged.  How was he going to carry out this study?  By hanging himself of course!  Minovici decided to experiment a series of self-asphyxias  which involved him strangling himself alone and then accompanied by assistants.  He went even further by placing his neck in the knot and then asking his assistants to pull the rope until his was suspended in the air off the ground.  The experiment only lasted a few seconds until the pain became too much.  His study is the most complete study that has ever been carried out about hanging.  His study is still available online and in the shops…

Nicolae Minovici pendaison étude
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2/ Johann Wilhelm Ritter administered electrical charges on his tongue, eyes and genitals.

After the battery was invented by Alessandro Volta in 1800, Johann Ritter a German physicist was very passionate about this revolutionary experiment. The man who discovered UV decided to study the effects of electricity on the body.  In order to carry out this experiment he connected a battery to different parts of his body.  After having electrocuted his tongue, eyes and even his genitals, Ritter continued to expose himself to currents that were higher and which lasted a longer time.  So that he could deal with the pain, he took opium. At the age of 33 year old, the scientist had infected eyes, a numb tongue and was prone to spasms and migraines.  He died in 1810 of tuberculosis but it is certain that his extreme and painful self administered scientific experiments contributed to his death.

Johann Wilhelm Ritter chercheur
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3/ Stubbins Ffirth slit his arms and put himself in contact with potentially contagious people

In 1793 the worst case of yellow fever even seen in American history ravaged the town of Philadelphia. Stubbins Ffirth is known for his unconventional research into causes of this disease while he was studying medicine. He believed that yellow fever was not a contagious illness.  According to him, the illness was spread by the heat and stresses of the summer months.  The student decided to put himself in contact with infected people.  He first sliced his arms and then spread vomit onto his arms and onto his eyes.  He continued these sorts of experiments to prove that other bodily fluids would give the same result.  He confirmed his first hypothesis as he never contracted the illness following his scientific experiments. However it was not until 60 years after Ffirth’s death that Carlos Finlay discovered that the disease is transmitted by mosquitoes.

molécules science maladie recherche
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4/ Frederick Hoelzel ingested non digestible objects to look into their affect on his digestion

Frederick Hoelzel ate anything he could from glass marbles, gravel, bearings, strings and cables so that he could find out how long it took for your body to digest inedible objects.  In 1930, he published his research in the American Journal of Physiology.  Despite his strange eating habits the researcher still survived until the age of 74 years old.

pierre caillou
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