5 Scientists Who Were Just Curious Little Freaks

Just because you’re wearing a lab coat doesn’t mean you’re not weird
5 Scientists Who Were Just Curious Little Freaks

There’s no denying that scientists do all sorts of incredibly important work. The job of decoding human life and why and how it works is a noble pursuit. Sometimes, though, scientists are trying to figure things out that are a little less essential. It’s not my job to judge what’s worth a curious scientist’s time and effort, but when some of them are trying to cure cancer, you’re going to get a little side-eye if you’re just doing gross stuff to mice.

Speaking of which, here are five scientists who were just being weird little freaks…

Separating Triplets to See What Happens


These triplets never even had a chance to be the subject of weird stock photos.

Let’s begin with Dr. Peter Neubauer, who separated triplets at birth to study the idea of nature versus nurture, which is a fancy way of saying “let’s see how they all turn out.” Even more shocking was that he somehow managed to do this without even the triplets’ adoptive families knowing that they were raising one of three. It’s a crazy amount of power, apparently signed off on by the adoption agency that was in charge of the triplets, to just let a scientist come in and possibly mentally fuck three children in one go. The triplets in question only eventually found out because two of them somehow attended the same college and got so sick of people asking if they were brothers that they decided to figure out if they were.

Explorations in Ball Crushing


Use your imagination!

If you possess testicles, you have likely gone through the misfortune of having them squarely socked — whether on purpose or accident. If so, you’re thoroughly familiar with the particular, horrific, radiating pain this causes. Hilarious in observation, sure, but not nearly as funny when you’re the one with the tapped sack. Well, in the pursuit of higher knowledge, two scientists, Edward Carmichael and Herbert Woollard, decided to truly dig into the bits and bobs of just how having your nuts cracked hurt.

Wearing, I assume, half-length lab coats, the duo took turns going to town on each other’s testicles in a variety of ways. They stretched them, squeezed them and piled weights of increasing mass right on top, recording how it felt. Reportedly, they were researching how the sensation of pain could be felt even in areas outside of direct trauma, but that’s a whole lot of fancy talk for two nerds wailing on each other’s nuts in a lab.

Finding Out What Gibbons Sound Like on Helium


A gibbon breathing oxygen, one of its preferred gases.

Do scientists smoke weed? Statistically, you’d have to say yes. One experiment, though, seems tailor-made to inspire the question, “What amount of devil’s lettuce had you inhaled when you pitched this?” The experiment, which is a generous noun here, was to find out what monkeys sounded like when they inhaled helium. Most people are familiar with the octave-raising power of the noble gas in question, having done experiments of their own at a poorly-supervised birthday party as a kid, but apparently this scientist’s curiosity was not fully sated.

Takeshi Nishimura wanted to evaluate the sounds a gibbon would make while its vocal cords were saturated with helium, and it was easy enough to make happen. I’m sure his research papers has a much more scientific way to say “I stuck a gibbon in a box full of helium and listened,” but that’s what he did. Dressing it up is his problem, not mine.

Getting Birds Drunk


“Im good, bro.”

Does alcohol impair your speaking ability? Anyone who’s not the drunk in question would likely answer “yes.” The sauced person would probably argue that they’re “making a lot of sense” but we’ll ignore that for now. Despite this being basically a universally accepted truth, a couple of scientists decided to delve further into it, but outside our own species. They decided that it would be a good use of time and budget to find out if birds also lost some of their vocal acuity while suitably juiced. They took zebra finches and fed them screwdrivers until they were approaching the legal limit to drive their little bird cars, and then monitored what their songs sounded like. Sure enough, the glassy-eyed little songsters were a bit off-tune, sounding like the closest thing to a recording of bird karaoke we’ll ever get.

Newton Sticking Needles in His Eye


Like this, but wetter and worse.

Even some of science’s greatest heroes were still, at their core, curious little goblins. This includes Isaac Newton, the guy known for such discoveries as “gravity.” But just because we remember him as someone doing scholarly pondering on an apple doesn’t mean he wasn’t doing some weird shit on his own time. One particularly gross experiment he came up with was shoving a long, dull sewing needle into the side of his eye and wiggling it around.

It was an experiment on vision, which, sure, anything where you’re fucking with somebody’s eyes effectively is. He noticed that pressure created colorful spots, something that I guess is good to know? Maybe some mysteries deserve to remain unsolved, namely any mysteries that require me to shove stuff into my skull, which is also a very colorful way to describe eating dinner.

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