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Bored Scientist Has Cool Magnet Idea, Doesn't End Well

Australian trying to invent virus safety device ends up in hospital with 4 magnets in his nose
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2020 8:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – This is what happens when scientists get bored during a quarantine. A young astrophysicist in Australia tried to invent a necklace that would sound an alarm if you put your hand too close to your face. Didn't work. Instead, Daniel Reardon, 27, ended up in the hospital with four magnets stuck up his nose. He spoke separately to the Guardian and the Daily Mail about the weird chain of events. "I thought that if I built a circuit that could detect the magnetic field, and we wore magnets on our wrists, then it could set off an alarm if you brought it too close to your face," he explains. Alas, Reardon couldn't pull it off. In fact, his contraption did precisely the opposite of its intended effect—it would buzz only if the wearer didn't hold their hands close to their face.

At that point, Reardon started goofing around a little with the magnets, clipping them to his nostrils and his earlobes. The ones in his nose did him in. After two magnets got stuck together in opposite nostrils, he tried using the other two magnets to get them out. "Things went downhill pretty quickly," he recounts. The magnets did what magnets do, meaning he now had four in his nose. Out came the pliers. "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," he says. "It was a little bit painful at this point." His partner took him to the hospital, where doctors anesthetized his nose and yanked out the magnets. Reardon, a research fellow at Melbourne's Swinburne University of Technology, says he's done with magnets. Now to pass the time, he's building shelves. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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