The field of science used to be a wild west that more closely resembled a bachelor party gone wrong than a tidy laboratory, but these days, it’s a highly regulated practice. If you want to do a science, particularly involving human subjects, you have to jump through all kinds of hoops to prove you won’t intentionally kill anyone or inflict lasting psychological damage on them, which is really for the best. Do you want Tuskegee experiments? Because that’s how you get Tuskegee experiments.

Sometimes, though, the science you want to do is so inherently unethical that you have no choice but to do it to yourself. Even back in the wild west days, you couldn’t always convince a representative sample of people to, say, let you hit them in the junk after injecting cocaine into their spines. Thanks to the (occasionally actual) balls of these self-destructive scientists, we now know stuff that otherwise wouldn’t be possible to know (or at least what we don’t know).

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