The Scientist Who Froze Half His Face In Time

Samuel Reason | September 28th, 2018

A Russian scientist by the name of Anatoli Petrovich Bugorski survived a horrible accident that saw him freeze half his face in time. Despite the accident in 1978, where he was hit by the full force of a particle accelerator, he continues today to research physics.

mentalfloss.com

Bugorski used to work at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Protvino where he was using the biggest Soviet particle accelerator, the Synchrotron U-70. This is how the unlucky accident happened, he was checking some malfunctioning equipment trying to figure out the issue when some of the safety mechanisms failed.

He lent over some of the devices as he believed the proton beam was not running, but due to the mechanism failing, the full force of the beam was actually running. He explains it as seeing a flash of light so bright it blinded everything for him, but there was no pain. The proton beam measured around 200,000 rads when it hit his head. He was swiftly taken to a hospital as it was thought that the human body could only withstand about 500 rads and that Bugorski was surely going to die.

His injuries were severe, the left side of his face swelled up beyond recognition and then his skin started to fall off. Showing exactly where the proton beam had hit him, remember this is a beam moving at the speed of light, the burning is beyond what we can truly understand. The beam would have burned his tissue, bone and even brain. Luckily he did not appear to suffer any intellectual damage, however, he explains that doing mental exercises are extremely tiring now.

The real strange part of the outcome was that the left side of his face was completely frozen, he cannot move it at all, and it does not age. This is due to the destruction of the nerves. Despite the accident, Bugorski went on to finish his research and complete his masters.

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