A particle accelerator is not a toy with which one may play ignoring the possibility of danger. It is quite an intriguing question as to what would become of a human who sticks his/her head inside a running particle accelerator. With a little common sense and slightest idea about a particle accelerator, anyone can tell that there are only a few possibilities and all of them lead to instant death.
Just stick your head in and boom! You get roasted by the beam. If not so, you could get suffocated by the lack of air or get poisoned by radiation. You don’t even need a vast imagination to be able to figure that out.
Chances of even surviving a particle accelerator hit maybe one in a million but, something extraordinary happened to Anatoli Bugorski. Bugorski is a Russian scientist who was a researcher at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Protvino. He was working with the Soviet Particle accelerator, The Synchrotron U-70.
In the July of 1978, Bugorski was checking a piece of equipment that had malfunctioned. He stuck his head accidentally inside the particle accelerator where the proton beam was running. According to him, he saw a flash that was “brighter than a thousand suns” but reported felt no pain at all.
Another thing to notice here is the proton beam was only a 76 GeV which is 200 times less powerful than the Large Hadron Collider. The beam measured 2000 gray, where one gray is equivalent to a Joule of radiation energy absorbed by one kilogram of matter. If an average human were to absorb 5 grays at any time, it could lead to death in about 14 days. So, what miracle happened here?
The beam entered the back of his head and came out around his nose, burning through his skull and brain tissues. The left half of his face was left beyond recognition, and he was expected to die in a few days. Against all expectations, he recovered from the accident surprisingly well.
In the aftermath of the incident, he was left with some health problems. He lost hearing in his left ear, and the left half of his face became paralyzed over the next two years. Mental work began to fatigue him significantly more, but his mental abilities were not affected. He let nothing stop him and he continued his research to complete his Ph.D.
The most interesting part of the accident was how it left the left half of his face young forever. Over the past 40 years, the right half of his face has wrinkled and aged like a normal human being, but the left half was frozen in time.
If you are thinking about getting eternal youth by sticking your head inside a particle accelerator, don’t! With the newest particle accelerators, the best you can get is a roast of yourself.
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