Here's the fascinating story of Anatoli Petrovich Bugorski, the only person to have stuck his head into a particle accelerator. His head accidentally strayed into the path of the proton beam at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Protvino in 1978, and the beam bored a hole through his brain and out his nose. The radiation absorbed by his head was in the region of 1000 gray. 5 gray worth of X-rays is generally considered fatal, but Bugorski survived and went on to complete his PhD (a proton beam moving near the speed of light has different characteristics from an X-ray!). The side of his face that was burned by the beam's exit has not visibly aged in the years since the accident.
I attended the Clarion science fiction writing workshop at Michigan State University in 1992, and we were privileged to tour the university's Cyclotron. Of course, the first thing we asked was, "How do you kill someone with one of these?" (we'd been working on plotting). The scientist's answer was very disappointing -- he insisted that it was all very safe, with too many checks and balances to be a useful murder weapon. As I recall, he suggested that you could pry loose a brick from the wall and hit someone in the head with it.
As you can see from the picture, the beam entered the back of Bugorski's head and came out around his nose. Shortly after this happened, Bugorski's left half of his face swelled up beyond recognition. He was taken to the hospital and studied as this was something that had never been seen before and so they closely monitored him thereafter, fully expecting him to die within a few days at most.
What Happens When You Stick Your Head Into a Particle Accelerator
Although the skin on the part of his face and back of his head where the beam hit eventually peeled off over the next few days, Bugorski did not die as they thought he would. The beam also burned through his skull and brain tissue along with the afore mentioned skin. However, ultimately he came through it all surprisingly well.
Despite the beam going through his brain, his intellectual capacity remained the same as before. The few negative health drawbacks he did experience were not life threatening either. He lost the hearing in his left ear and experienced a constant unpleasant noise in that ear from then on. The left half of his face slowly became paralyzed over the course of the next two years. He also gets significantly more fatigued with mental work, though he did go on to get his PhD after this incident. The remaining side effects were occasional absence seizures and later tonic-clonic seizures, though these didn't show up right away.
(via Warren Ellis
The 8-Bit Guy’s 15-minute explainer on floppy discs is a great potted history of 80s- and 90s-era storage media (it follows his segment on tape-drives) and the way that competitors learned from each others’ mistakes and dead-ends, and engineered clever solutions to one of computing’s most serious challenges. (via Motherboard)
Mexico City-based artist Pablo Dávila’s “Living in time believing in the timeless” is a beautiful, compelling installation in which the UNIX timestamp triggers drumsticks, via an Arduino and custom code, to ping crotales (aka antique cymbals). It makes the ephemeral (and digital) visceral. The work is simultaneously jarring and meditative, a rather odd and provocative […]
Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence. Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon | RedditIn this episode we talk to a computer scientist who developed an artificially […]
3D printers are hot, but they’re also pricey. While the prospect of cranking out everything we can dream up is enticing, cost is often one factor that keeps us from jumping onto the 3D printing train.Now, thanks to M3D, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can now get its flagship 3D printer–plus four reels of filaments–for just […]
It’s no secret that technology is changing the way we all work—but it’s also transforming the way we play. The games of today look nothing like those of 10 or even 20 years ago: these days it’s all about mobile and 3D. And now you can learn to design 3D mobile games with the Intro to Unity 3D Game […]
Earbuds are fine for casual listening while you work out or run errands. But when you really want to experience music as it was intended, nothing beats a serious set of noise-canceling, soundscape-enhancing headphones.The REMXD On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones offer high-quality sound with complete wireless connectivity — and at just $35.99, this rechargeable set won’t even cut into […]