Thursday, May 3, 2012

What would happen if you put your hand into LHC`s beam

This question has been asked of the people that run the Large Hadron Collider (Oops I almost called it the Large Hardon Collider!) But I bet many of you have never heard of Anatoli Petrovich Bugorski.

On July 13, 1978, Anatoli Petrovich Bugorski was checking some malfunctioning equipment on the then Soviet Union`s largest particle accelerator called the U-70 synchrotron located in Protvino when an accident occurred due to failed safety mechanisms.
Bugorski was leaning over the piece of equipment when he stuck his head in the part through which the proton beam was running. Reportedly, he saw a flash "brighter than a thousand suns," but he didn`t feel any pain.

After the accident the left half of Bugorski's face swelled up beyond recognition, and over the next several days, skin started peeling off, revealing the path that the proton beam (moving near the speed of light) had burned through parts of his face, his bone, and the brain tissue underneath. As it was believed that he had received far in excess of the radiation dose that would normally kill a human being, Bugorski was taken to a clinic in Moscow where the doctors could observe his expected demise. Bugorski survived and even completed his Ph.D! There was virtually no damage to his intellectual capacity, but he completely lost hearing in the his ear and only a constant, unpleasant internal noise remained, sounds like quite the case of tinnitus. The left half of his face was paralyzed due to the destruction of nerves. He was able to function except for the fact that he had occasional complex partial seizures and rare tonic-clonic seizures.

Bugorski continued to work in science, and held the post of Coordinator of physics experiments. He never spoke about the accident for over a decade, he continued going to the Moscow radiation clinic twice a year, for examination, and to meet with other nuclear-accident victims. He "remained a poster boy for Soviet and Russian radiation medicine". In 1996 he applied unsuccessfully for disabled status to receive his free epilepsy medication. Bugorski showed interest in making himself available for study to Western researchers, but couldn't afford to leave Protvino.

Bugorski is married to Vera Nikolaevna, and they have a son, Peter.

Short answer to the original question: Don`t do it, it`ll cause you tons of physical problems, but it sounds like you would live.

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