Scientists have a PR problem. If TV is to be believed, doctorates are awarded in the form of fishbowl glasses and a tendency to stutter. Sometimes movies try to help out by portraying action scientists, like in The Core, but usually do more harm than good since it's generally restricted to truly terrible movies, like in The Core.
Here we look at seven self-endangering scientists who only wear lab coats because you can't get explosive-bear-proof tuxedos outside of MI6. Each one of these researchers has been voted "Most likely to inject themselves with the Omega Serum while shouting, 'Dammit, there's no time for testing!'"
#6. John Paul Stapp, Scientist and Human Bullet
While other so-called heroes run around saving useless things like kittens and "civilians," John Paul Stapp looked at jet fighter pilots and thought, "Those poor guys need my help." Yes, the manliest profession in the world since "Grizzly Bear Rodeo" was outlawed, and World War II veteran Dr. Stapp was the man who saved them.
He served as a flight surgeon in WWII, and after the war performed critical research on the effects of sudden deceleration on the human body. His human body. He used a rocket armed with four rocket engines and a total thrust of 6,000 pounds. The wider scientific community believed the human body could not survive more than 18 Gs of deceleration--Stapp hit 35. Because he goddamn could.
He became the fastest man in the world, moving faster than a bullet--632 miles per hour.
In 1954 he decelerated from 120 miles per hour to 0 in 1.4 seconds, and gained two huge black eyes from the force of his own slammed-forward eyeballs punching him on the inside of the face. The impact blinded him for two days, during which we must imagine his response was to walk around and simply dare the world to put things in his way. Oh, and he also broke his back, arm, wrist, lost six fillings and the icing on the cake? He got a hernia.
His response? He built a bigger rocket.
More Rockets = More Science
He lived to 89 and his research has saved lives around the world ever since. Oh, and in case Dr. Stapp hasn't made a mockery of your life's work and achievements just yet: The whole time he he was slinging his own body around like a fleshy cannon shell, he was also running an after-hours clinic for the families of servicemen at the base where he worked, making house calls and providing free medical care. Every night.
Yeah, you sit up straighter now when you're reading about a real man, you loser.
#5. Drs. Warren and Barry Marshall Drink Stomach-Eating Germs
Drs. Warren and Marshall isolated the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers, but the wider scientific community maintained that stress, lifestyle and general whining were the real cause. Dr. Marshall countered with the little known "frat party" method of science, declaring, "I'll fucking show you" and drinking the vial of filthy bacteria they'd culled from the stomachs of ulcer suffers.
He was positive he was right before he drank it, and when he immediately developed gastritis with achlorhydria, nausea, vomiting and halitosis he was damn sure. We're talking absolutely, positively, "coming down from a mountain and founding a religion" sure.
"Why, yes, I do regret drinking stomach poison."
In true movie-style, this was a daring experiment that broke all the rules--right down to the first rule of biology labs: "Don't drink things in the vials here." Suitably impressed, the Nobel Prize committee awarded him and Dr. Marshall the prize, and presumably some breath mints.
So what could be more disgusting than that?
#4. Albert Hoffman Invents LSD, and Soaks His Brain In It
Dr. Albert Hoffman developed Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-25 in 1938. Five years later he accidentally absorbed a tiny dose through his skin and had to stop working, experiencing intoxication, dizziness and two hours of mind-bending hallucinations. Clearly a man who knows how to party, his first response was "I gots to get me some more of that shit."
He didn't mess around. Three days later he took 250 micrograms, now known to be over 10 times the threshold dose for humans. He later claimed that this was a miscalculation, but we're fairly sure when he said that he winked and added, "Right, guys?" He spent the rest of the day in a state scientifically categorized as "high off his tits." He was unable to speak clearly, he saw sounds, was afraid of witches, threatened by his furniture and watched the best fireworks display the world has ever seen go off inside his eyeballs.
"Science rules!" (painting by Scott Donohue, see more from him here)
The next day he decided, "The world must share this feeling," and spent the rest of his life campaigning for LSD applications, despite some idiot hippies getting it banned and ruining it for everyone.
Dr. Hoffman's heaping helping of acid has had effects on science development since: Professor Crick, one of the men who figured out a little thing called DNA, admitted that he used LSD to boost his powers of thought which should be obvious. While we're sure that decoding DNA took all kinds of "science" and "experiments," when your final result is "All life is like spelled out in an alphabet of chemicals, man, two helices spiraling around each other and it's the same way for all the animals and plants and everything," then we don't care how correct that might be. There's only one thing to be said: totally high.