The Birth of a Super Hero

In comic books, if you get zapped by a particle accelerator, you’re turned into a superhero. But if you get zapped by one in the real world, you die, right? That’s the way it’s supposed to work out, but a Russian researcher stuck his head into a running particle accelerator and, amazingly, lived!

Anatoli Petrovich Bugorski, a scientist working on the Soviet particle accelerator the synchrotron U-70 at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Protvino leaned over a piece of equipment in 1978 and accidentally stuck his head through part of the accelerator that the proton beam was running through. He felt no pain, but saw a flash “brighter than a thousand suns.”

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