The Man Who Put His Head Inside A Particle Accelerator,

While It Was Switched On

Particle accelerators are machines that propel charged particles at incredible speeds, generally to collide with other particles. It’s highly advisable that the particles the high-speed particles collide with should not be part of your head, as one man learned the hard way.

On July 13, 1978, particle physicist Anatoli Bugorski was working his job at the U-70 synchrotron, the largest particle accelerator in the Soviet Union. The 36-year-old was inspecting a piece of equipment that had malfunctioned when the accident happened. Unbeknownst to him, several safety mechanisms had also failed, meaning that when he leaned over to get a good look at his task, a proton beam shot through the back of his head at close to the speed of light.

Or at least, closer to the speed of light than you’d like a proton beam to be traveling at when it shoots clean through your face.

At first, he felt no pain. He knew what had happened, as he had seen a light “brighter than a thousand Suns,” as well as the gravity of the situation. At this point, he didn’t tell a soul, and merely completed his day’s work before heading home and waited for the inevitable to happen……

 


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