Total Nerd Weirdest Scientific Experiments That You Won't Believe People Actually Got Funding For  

Zack Howe
447 votes 103 voters 5.4k views 15 items

List Rules Vote up the strangest scientific projects.

Researchers across the world seek the answers to every question known to man, from "How can we possibly cure the ravaging foe called cancer?" to "Precisely how far can penguins launch their poop?" It's easy to grasp the aim of the former, but you'd understandably have a more difficult time explaining the point of the latter. Yet that is just one of many weird scientific experiments in human history that somehow received funding.

While that's a more innocuous example of empiricism, there are, of course, real instances of what one might reasonably call "mad science." Even the US government has engaged in such experimentation on humans (often under the purview of equally weird government agencies). And mad science is no less inexplicable/unforgivable when it's done to animals.

Here are examples of weird scientific experiments that run the gamut, but they all have one thing in common: they're incredibly strange, yet someone gave them the okay (and the funding).

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Stockholm University Conducted A Study That Proves Chickens Don't Like Ugly People


Stockholm University Conducted... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Weirdest Scientific Experiments That You Won't Believe People Actually Got Funding For
Photo:  Andrei Niemimäki/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Dr. Stefano Ghirlanda of Stockholm University's experiment rests on the understanding that when a chicken pecks a photograph of a person, they do so because they find said person attractive.

Chickens seem to be largely heterosexual as determined by step one of the process. Individual chickens were first shown a picture of a human male and one of a human female. The hens usually pecked the men, while the cocks pecked the women. Then the chickens were presented with seven different images of people, the same images college students were given to rate 0-10 in terms of attractiveness. Roughly 98% of the time, the chickens pecked the most attractive person in accordance with the students' ratings.

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2 31 VOTES

Science Taught Us Rats Prefer Jazz Over Beethoven, But Only If They're On Cocaine


Science Taught Us Rats Prefer ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Weirdest Scientific Experiments That You Won't Believe People Actually Got Funding For
Photo:  Janet Stephens/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

If rats are going to be subjected to music, they prefer Beethoven over jazz. Albany Medical College made these findings in the course of their research, but they further discovered they could change those rats' preferences.

If rats were injected with cocaine, they suddenly enjoyed Davis's jazzy number, "Four." Even after the cocaine was out of their system, those injected with it preferred that song going forward over "Für Elise." 

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3 28 VOTES

Norwegian Scientists Discovered Drunk Leeches Are Less Capable Of Sucking Blood


Norwegian Scientists Discovere... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Weirdest Scientific Experiments That You Won't Believe People Actually Got Funding For
Photo:  Pieria/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Anders Baerheim and Hogne Sandvik of the University of Bergen in Norway hypothesized leeches would more effectively suck blood if they were dunked in beer first. They were wrong.

The exact opposite was true - drunk leeches weren't able to suck blood at all. They also tested the effects of sour cream and garlic on leech sucking abilities, discovering that sour cream was the magic substance, as it made leeches better suckers. Garlic just killed the leeches.

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4 49 VOTES

Dr. Robert E. Cornish Brought Dogs Back To Life In The '30s Using Seesaw Technology


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Dr. Robert E. Cornish was a University of California-Berkeley grad who wished to master death. He unsuccessfully attempted this with humans, so he tried with dogs. He actually did see success there.

On two occasions, he managed to bring dogs back to life that had just been killed via nitrogen gas suffocation. After the dogs were dead, Cornish fixed the dogs to a seesaw and began lifting them up and down to circulate blood flow while injecting them with anti-coagulants and epinephrine. The dogs returned to life and went on living.

After his dog success, Cornish wanted to try his method on a human once again. A death row inmate named Thomas McMonigle offered his body for experimentation post-execution, but the state of California wouldn't allow it, fearing the murderer would be immune to further prosecution if returned to life via the double jeopardy clause

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