On July 13, 1978, Russian scientist Anatoli Petrovich Bugorski put his head directly into the path of a proton beam in the particle accelerator Synchrotron U-70. (He was trying to inspect a malfunction.) The beam, which was moving at near the speed of light, hit the back of his head and exited through the front, near his nose. It exposed him to an absurd amount of radiation, but remarkably, Bugorski survived. He said that he saw a flash "brighter than a thousand suns," but felt no pain. Doctors predicted that he would die shortly after the experience, and their suspicions seemed on target when the left side of his head swelled and his skin began to peel. But Bugorski didn't die, although he did lose hearing in his left ear and suffer from seizures. Eventually, the left side of his face became completely paralyzed. Throughout this process, his mind remained sharp, and he even went on to get his PhD after the accident.
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Written by Curiosity Staff April 27, 2016
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