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Astrophysicist Hospitalized After Getting Magnets Stuck Up His Nose While Trying To Invent Device That Prevents People From Touching Their Faces

Astrophysicist Hospitalized After Getting Magnets Stuck Up His Nose While Trying To Invent Device That Prevents People From Touching Their Faces

If you've been anywhere near the internet or a TV lately, you've probably heard that the best way to fight the current viral pandemic is to wash your hands and stop touching your face.

But if you've been trying not to touch your face, you've probably noticed it's really, really, really hard to do!

An Australian astrophysicist thought he had invented a device to help until—while building it—he ended up in the ER with magnets stuck up his nose.


Dr. Daniel Reardon is a research fellow who studies pulsars and gravitational waves at a university in Melbourne, Australia. While bored during quarantine, he began experimenting with building a device that would alert you whenever you tried to touch your face.

Reardon used electron magnets to create detectable magnetic fields.

A person would wear a magnet around their wrist. When that magnet came too close to a necklace that was also magnetized—as the person's hand was on its way to touch their face—the necklace would detect the wrist's magnetic field and sound an alarm.

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However, by Reardon's own admission... he didn't really know what he was doing?

As he told The Guardian Australia:

"I have some electronic equipment but really no experience or expertise in building circuits or things."

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And as he continued tinkering, Reardon realized the equipment he had only allowed him to create a device that did the exact opposite of his intentions.

"I accidentally invented a necklace that buzzes continuously unless you move your hand close to your face."

So, Reardon scrapped his invention and just started messing around with the magnets, attaching them to his nose.

You know, as one does.

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As he told BBC News:

"...I started mindlessly placing the magnets on my face. First my ear lobes, then my nostrils—like a magnetic piercing."

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And then... well, things took a turn.

"The problem was when I put magnets in my other nostril. They all pinched together, and the ones on my septum got stuck!"

Reardon tried to use the other magnets to remove the magnets, but—in a slapstick twist—those magnets got stuck in his nose too.

what is wrong with you will ferrell GIF by Team CocoGiphy

But Reardon was undeterred.

He grabbed a pair of pliers.

And, well... you can probably guess what happened...

"Every time I brought the pliers close to my nose, my entire nose would shift towards the pliers and then the pliers would stick to the magnet. It was a little bit painful at this point."

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Luckily, Reardon's partner works at a hospital, so she mobilized to get him help... in between fits of laughter.

As he told The Guardian Australia:

"My partner took me to the hospital that she works in because she wanted all her colleagues to laugh at me. The doctors thought it was quite funny, making comments like 'This is an injury due to self-isolation and boredom'."

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Good thing the Hippocratic Oath doesn't apply to people's egos, right?

Anyway, the doctors applied an anesthesia spray to Reardon's nose and were able to remove three of the four magnets. The fourth—because God forbid this story not get even more ridiculous—fell down into Reardon's throat, but he was able to cough it up.

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So thankfully no lasting harm was done.

Except for, you know, the whole internet laughing at Reardon's unfortunate plight.

So where does Reardon go from here?

Well, he's decided to table his magnetic necklace ambitions for now.

As he told BBC News:

"I think I'll give up and let someone more qualified give it a go."

Good plan!

To learn more about magnets, the hand2mind MAGNETS! Super Science Kitfor Kids Ages 8+—Build 9 STEM Experiments & Activity Set is available here.