Science has done a lot of progress over the years, it took a lot of research, time and effort, and in most cases, a lot of experiments, which didn't always have the best results. In some cases practice doesn't make it better, it just shows us some goals can't be achieved, and it makes us second guess if it is possible or worth it to try again. However, no matter how an experiment turns out, there's a lot of information to be gathered from the outcomes. Of course, there are some experiments that fail completely and with a great amount of collateral damage. Here's a list of the top 5 failed science experiments.
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One of the biggest failures in the history of science is the tragedy of Chernobyl. The tragedy occurred in 1986 when the Soviet nuclear experts decided to experiment with the standard procedures. Instead of using 15 boron-carbide rods to control the fission on one of the four reactors, they used only 8, which caused a chain reaction, and a fireball 100 times greater than the Nagasaki and Hiroshima combined. Needless to say, over 4,000 people died and tens of thousands were disabled for life. Chernobyl is still highly radioactive over 30 years later.
2. Edison's X-Ray experiments
Edison is world famous for his many successful inventions, many of them considered to be ideas of other scientists of his time, but one thing is certain: Edison sure had a role in the evolution of science. But not all of his experiments were successful, one he failed, and probably never forgot was his X-Ray experiment. He experimented on a patient named Clarence Dally, unaware of the damaging effects of radiation. Clarence became very ill and ultimately died of Cancer caused by the radiation. Edison immediately gave up his research and experiments, but if this has taught us anything, it is that results sometimes come from failed experiments. Now X-Rays are now used in modern medicine, although much more safely.
3. The Monster experiment
This is a completely horrendous psychological experiment. Wendell Johnson and his understudy, Mary Tudor, performed this experiment in 1936 in Davenport, Iowa. They took 22 orphan children and divided them into two groups. One group received positive speech therapy, being praised for their efforts. The other group received negative therapy and was belittled for speech imperfections. Many of the children from the second group suffered from negative psychological effects and retained the speech impediments for the rest of their lives. The experiment was cruel and unethical, getting it's name from the monstrous way children were treated. Later, a professor at the University of Iowa named the experiment the "largest collection of scientific information." Perhaps this provided the foundation for today's successful speech therapy.
4.The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis
This experiment took place between 1932 and 1972. The main purpose of the experiment was to prove that the patients were better off without the Syphilis medication, which was known to be toxic and dangerous at that time. However, the experiment was done in a brutal manner, using people who were unaware of their rights, they were lied to and used in what became one of the cruelest experiments in the history of science. They denied medication or often offered placebos to their subjects in order to observe the development of the disease. At the end of the experiment, which had 399 subjects, only less than 80 remained alive. Most of them died from Syphilis or other complications. Some of the wives of the subjects were also infected and gave birth to children with congenital syphilis.
5. Human-Ape Hybridization
They really thought it was a good idea to try breed humans with apes, possibly calling it the Humanzee, so they could create a war machine (ape-man soldier) that would destroy people in battle. It was completely fitting for the Golden Age of Soviet science in the 20's. This was also known as the failed attempt to prove Darwinism, this experiment began in 1920 and was conducted by Ilya Ivanov and funded by the Soviet Government. The professor had many attempts at producing human/ape hybrids, and he failed as many times as he tried. Modern science today shows that it would be impossible to achieve positive outcomes from such an experiment.
All scientific experiments served the purpose of gathering knowledge, but sometimes the results were an abomination and inhumane result. In the extreme failed cases, the outcome was usually as horrible as you could make it to be, but it still was able to teach valuable information that may help in the future. Everything we know today comes from years of medical research and experimentation. We can only thank those people who knowingly, or unknowingly, gave their lives to the name of scientific methods that save people today.
Was it worth the knowledge? Or was the damage worth preventing?