14 Funny Strange Stories From The Lives Of Great Scientists

Science: it's often remembered as a story of remarkable linear progress. It's also a truer, cooler, more incredible story if you stop and smell the roses...and in this metaphor, "the roses" are little-known bizarre stories from the lives of great scientists. On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians Robin Ince and Olga Koch for a special LIVE show at The London Podcast Festival. They'll explore the weirdest things you never knew about scientific luminaries from Newton to Darwin to Pythagoras. They'll welcome further tales of that stuff from our brilliant British audience members. And stick around after the live conversation for a tale of perseverance through military occupation, heinous sexism, and more common historical obstacles, illuminating more things worth remembering as we examine odd men of the past.


Robin Ince's website

Robin Ince upcoming live dates

Robin Ince live world tour with Professor Brian Cox

Olga Koch's website & tour dates

Dining Like Darwin: When Scientists Swallow Their Subjects (NPR)

Famous foodies: Charles Darwin (The Guardian)

Surprise! This owl's long legs could rival any supermodel (MetroUK)

What Darwin Didn't Know (Smithsonian)

Fantastically Wrong: The Silly Theory That Almost Kept Darwin From Going on His Famous Voyage (Wired)

Pythagorean theorem (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Pythagoreanism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Pythagoras, in The History Of Philosophy by A.C. Grayling

Aristotle's Error (Scientific American MIND Blog)

Campfire farting scene from Blazing Saddles (1974)

5 Shockingly Crazy Ideas Behind Huge Scientific Discoveries (Cracked)

"The Monster Meets His Bride" in Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

The crazy life and crazier death of Tycho Brahe, history's strangest astronomer (Gizmodo)

Tycho Brahe Died from Pee, Not Poison (LiveScience)

Tycho Brahe: The Astronomer With A Drunken Moose (Mental Floss)

Tycho Brahe's dwarf and elk (Boing Boing)

Newton's Needle: On Scientific Self-Experimentation (Pacific Standard)

Going for Gold: a review of 'Newton the Alchemist: Science, Enigma, and the Quest for Nature's 'Secret Fire'' by William R. Newman (Literary Review)

The 7 Most Ridiculous Ghost Stories from Around the World (Cracked)

A Scientific Spirit: Sir Francis Bacon and the Ghost Chicken of Highgate (Mental Floss)

This "Ghost Chicken" Story Is One of Science's Strangest Urban Legends (Gizmodo)

Dymaxion Chronofile (Atlas Obscura)

Life as a Verb: Applying Buckminster Fuller to the 21st Century (LA Review Of Books)

The 5 Most Epic Acts of Trolling in the History of Science (Cracked)

Time Bandits: What were Einstein and Gödel talking about? (The New Yorker)

Paul Erdos, 83, a Wayfarer In Math's Vanguard, Is Dead (The New York Times)

"Liar!" short story by Isaac Asimov: Wikipedia entry linked here, and Internet Archive upload of Astounding Science Fiction printing linked here

section of Patrice Debrac biography of Louis Pasteur describing Pasteur's college administrator days (Google Books)

The hotline Hollywood calls for science advice (Vox)

6 Most Badass Self-Inflicted Medical Experiments (Cracked)

The Creepy Scientific Explanation Behind Ghost Sightings (Cracked)

The Scientific Explanation for People Who Believe in Ghosts (Cracked)

Supersonic Airplanes and the Age of Irrational Technology (The Atlantic)

Partitions of Poland (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Marie Curie Got Her Start At a Secret University For Women (Atlas Obscura)


the lesser rhea (now called "Darwin's rhea")

artist's rendering of homunculus creation process

Tycho Brahe portrait, and model of his brass nose

Isaac Newton's notes on sticking a needle into his eye socket

Buckminster Fuller's "Dymaxion Chronofile", housed at Stanford University

artist's rendering of Santorio Santorii living on a scale for 30 years