Leo Szilard conceived the nuclear chain reaction,the nuclear reactor, and wrote the letter suggesting the Manhattan Project, which Einstein signed. After being diagnosed with bladder cancer, he designed his own radiation therapy which led to a full recovery.
The discoverer of a gene for Green Fluorescent Protein lost his grant, didn’t get tenure, left academe and was working at a car dealership in Huntsville, Alabama, when he learned that former colleagues had won the Nobel Prize using the gene he sequenced.
NASA’s first trip into space was made possible in part by Katherine Johnson, an African American scientist who was in charge of calculating the rocket’s flight trajectory. Her work was so trusted that, even after NASA had switched to computers, they would call on her to check for any mistakes.
We all know Sir Isaac Newton was a brilliant mathematician and scientist, but the discoverer of gravity also had flashes of odd behavior. He once stuck a large needle into his eye socket to test his theories about vision, and later in life completely withdrew from his friends, becoming paranoid and confused. It is thought that he may have gone mad after poisoning himself in metal experiments.
A scientist in the 60s gave LSD to dolphins in an attempt to teach them English.
A scientist from Utah used his obituary to confess that not only had he never graduated from college or got a Ph.D, but that he never even learned what Ph.D stood for.
Two scientists skinned, boiled and swallowed a shrew without chewing it, and then carefully examined the excrement and how the carcass reacts within the human digestive system. They were rewarded the ‘Ig Noble Prize’ for their findings.
While viewing 1980’s The Blue Lagoon, a herpetologist noticed iguanas in the background with characteristics unseen in documented species. He then traveled to Fiji, tracked & named the Fiji Crested Iguana.
Chadwick (the discoverer of the neutron) was a student of Rutherford (discoverer of the proton) who was the student of Thomson (the discoverer of the electron).
A team of Czech and German researchers found out that dogs actually align themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field when they poop. The researchers measured the direction of the body axis of 70 dogs from 37 breeds during 1,893 defecations and 5,582 urinations over the course of two years, and found that dogs “prefer to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-south axis under calm magnetic field conditions”.