10 of the most dangerous scientists in history
The history of science has had everything. And among the geniuses that revolutionized our world are the scientists who contributed their genius to fantastic ideas that changed the world. But that also had a rather “odd” side. These “crazy scientists” were not quite so, but there is also room for the real mad scientists who used their intellect for investigations worthy of horror stories or science fiction.
Today, we’ll focus on those personalities of the world of science who used this excuse of human advance to carry out dangerous and debatable experiments from all kinds of prisms.
1. Giovanni Aldini
The Italian scientist Giovanni Aldini (1762-1834) was the nephew of another famous scientist, Luis Galvani. He spent a good part of his life trying to defend his uncle’s ideas. To achieve this, he was connecting lifeless bodies of people and animals to batteries to demonstrate that electricity was the basis of life.
Aldini toured Europe with members of the human body to which he provided electric shocks and which caused them to convulse. But his experiments also came to be used in living people, whom he sought to cure their mental disorders by applying electric current in their heads.
2. Harry Harlow
As in other cases, Harry Harlow (1905-1981) had an honorable background: this American psychologist was known for his studies on the importance of love and care in relationships. And to prove it, nothing better than to use monkeys and expose them to all kinds of tortures, something for what has been called “the Mengele of the monkeys”.
Harlow isolated the young monkeys from any biological contact and tortured members of the group, in addition to placing the mothers in scenarios in which the mating was forced into devices that he named as the “foals of rape”. The small monkeys were for example subjected to total isolation for 24 months, the period after which they were severely disturbed.
3. Sidney Gottlieb
Sidney Gottlieb (1918-1999) was a US biochemist and military psychiatrist who was the director of the CIA’s chemical division. He was responsible for many of the mind control experiments that this US intelligence agency conducted in the 1950s and 1960s.
Gottlieb tried to find drugs capable of “bursting the human psyche to such an extent that it admitted anything.” The famous MKULTRA Project encompassed all these efforts, and for example, served as the basis to try, among other things, to poison Fidel Castro through his shoes or fill his TV studio with LSD.
4. Robert J. White
The American neurosurgeon Robert Joseph White (1926-2010) was responsible for 10,000 surgical operations and more than 900 articles in journals on that discipline. He received various honors as well as, among other things, being a counselor of Pope John Paul II on issues of ethical medicine.
However, his experiments also had a much dark side. In 1962 White was the first person to extract a dog’s brain and keep it alive outside the body. Two years later, he would go further and transplanted the brain of one dog into the neck of another. However, it was in the 70s where his experiments were even more unique and he managed to transplant the head of one monkey into the body of another. The monkeys managed to live for a few days, but all of them were paralyzed from the neck down.
5. Fritz Haber
Haber is the person responsible for the creation of chemical warfare. Fritz Haber (1868-1934) devoted a good part of his career to creating chemical weapons for war. He always defended his methods with the phrase “death is death, whatever the means to inflict it “.
Interestingly, Haber managed to win the Nobel Prize for the advances in the creation of nitrogen fertilizers which was much cheaper to produce at that time. However, the impact of his research on chemical warfare was especially dangerous. In fact, after using for the first time the chlorine gas or Bertholite, it is said that his wife, Clara Immerwahr, committed suicide after knowing the impact that the creation of her husband had in the First World War.