Science on the Edge: 25 Bizarre and Fascinating Experiments

1PTSD rates

PTSD rates

In a housing experiment that moved families from poor neighborhoods to wealthier ones, boys experienced PTSD rates comparable to those of combat soldiers, while psychological well-being improved for girls.


2Smoke-filled room experiment

Smoke-filled room experiment

The smoke-filled room experiment is an experiment which shows that even if there's smoke filling a room, people will stay for as long as 20 minutes if no one else is reacting to it. Otherwise, they'd leave quickly.


3Dave Eshelman

Dave Eshelman

Only one of the guards of the Standford Prison Experiment (Dave Eshelman) was particularly brutal, and the more brutal he became, the more prominently he faked a southern accent.


4Trails planes

Trails planes

Scientists took advantage of the three-day flight ban over the US after 9/11 to conduct experiments on the effect on the atmosphere of jet planes. They found the days were a little warmer and the nights cooler, suggesting that the exhaust trails planes leave in the sky act like clouds.


5Rattlers and Eagles experiment

Rattlers and Eagles experiment

There was an experiment where 2 groups (Rattlers and Eagles) of 11-12 year old boys who were given separate camps in a state park. When the groups became aware of each other, they began raiding each other’s camps, which led to physical combat. The investigators ended the experiment fearing someone would seriously get hurt.


6Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton

When Michael Crichton (American author) was in college, he conducted an experiment to expose an English professor who he believed was giving him abnormally low marks. Crichton submitted an essay by George Orwell under his own name. The paper was returned by his unwitting professor with a mark of "B−".


7Ken Kesey

Ken Kesey

Ken Kesey (Author of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") volunteered for MKUltra experiments involving LSD and other psychedelic drugs as a student. This inspired him to promote the drug outside of the experiments, which influenced the early development of hippie culture.


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8Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi was developed by using technology from a failed experiment attempting to detect mini black holes.


9Donald Ewen Cameron

Donald Ewen Cameron

Scottish psychiatrist Donald Ewen Cameron in the 50s ran experiments on humans which involved giving several electric shocks a week, taping blacked out football helmets to their heads and playing repetitive messages in their ears for months at a time. Some patients apparently forgot who they were and how to talk.


10Nuclear weapon design

Nuclear weapon design

In the 60's US Army did an experiment, where two people Dave Dobson and Bob Selden without nuclear training had to design a nuke with only access to publicly available documents. They succeeded.

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