Dr. Daniel Reardon, 27, an astrophysicist, tried to invent an alarm that prevents people from touching their faces during the coronavirus pandemic – but wound up attracting the wrong kind of attention when he got four magnets stuck up his nose and ended up in a hospital, according to the Guardian.
“I have some electronic equipment but really no experience or expertise in building circuits or things,” Reardon, a research fellow at Swinburne University in Melbourne who studies pulsars and gravitational waves, told Guardian Australia.
“I had a part that detects magnetic fields. 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. A bit of boredom in isolation made me think of that,” said the would-be inventor, who tinkered with four powerful neodymium magnets in the ill-fated project.
He soon realized that the electronic part he was using completed a circuit when there was no magnetic field.
“I accidentally invented a necklace that buzzes continuously unless you move your hand close to your face,” he told the news outlet.
“After scrapping that idea, I was still a bit bored, playing with the magnets,” he explained.
“It’s the same logic as clipping pegs to your ears – I clipped them to my earlobes and then clipped them to my nostril and things went downhill pretty quickly when I clipped the magnets to my other nostril,” the bumbling academic said.
Reardon said he shoved two magnets into his nostrils and attached the two others on the outside.
When he detached the outside magnets, the two inside stuck together – so he tried to use the remaining magnets to remove them.
“At this point, my partner who works at a hospital was laughing at me,” Reardon said. “I was trying to pull them out but there is a ridge at the bottom of my nose you can’t get past.
“After struggling for 20 minutes, I decided to Google the problem and found an article about an 11-year-old boy who had the same problem. The solution in that was more magnets. To put on the outside to offset the pull from the ones inside.
“As I was pulling downwards to try and remove the magnets, they clipped on to each other and I lost my grip. And those two magnets ended up in my left nostril while the other one was in my right. At this point I ran out of magnets.”
He then desperately tried to use pliers to pull them out, but they quickly became magnetized.
“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 said. “It was a little bit painful at this point.
“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.’”
Finally, the doctors applied an anesthetic spray and manually removed the magnets from his nose – but one fell down his throat.
“That could have been a bit of a problem if I swallowed or breathed it in, but I was thankfully able to lean forward and cough it out … Needless to say I am not going to play with the magnets anymore,” Reardon said.