An amazing and selfless Aussie astrophysicist named Dr Daniel Reardon has taken upon himself the role of experimenter and lab rat to curb the infection rate of coronavirus.
The Melbourne University research fellow was admitted to a local hospital after his high powered neodymium magnets became lodged in his nose after testing a device that stops people touching their face.
Reardon, 27, studies the pulsars and gravitational waves and has become increasingly bored in self-isolation and attempted to follow in the footsteps of Isaac Newton who invented calculus in isolation during the great plague of London.
How did the idea come together?
We'll let Dr Reardon explain in his own words:
“I have some electronic equipment but really no experience or expertise in building circuits or things. 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.”
Sounds like a pretty basic yet highly useful idea that could effectively save the lives of many and slow the spread. Touching your face may sound menial and easy to stop, but for workers in hospitality and healthcare, it could mean spreading the virus exponentially.
“I accidentally invented a necklace that buzzes continuously unless you move your hand close to your face. After scrapping that idea, I was still a bit bored, playing with the magnets. 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.”
That's when the isolation experimentation went downhill.
Or should we say, up nostril...
Reardon had two placed inside his nose and their magnetic counterparts on the outside. When the outer magnets were removed the remaining two within his nose joined together pinning his septum.
“At this point, my partner who works at a hospital was laughing at me,”
We entirely understand why.
“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."
This is where the solution became part of an even bigger problem for Reardon.
“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.”
Reardon attempted to use pliers to remove the high-powered magnets, but alas, the pliers were magnetic. They are metal, after all.
“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. 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.’"
In a relatively pain-free (thanks to the anaesthetic spray) procedure, a pair of doctors released the magnets from Reardon's upper nasal cavity.
But that wasn't the end of the magnet saga...
“When they got the three out from the left nostril, the last one fell down my 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 any more.”
Reardon has made a full recovery and has stopped playing with the magnets or trying to create an anti-face touching device to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
“I’m actually getting a lot of work done. Working remotely is not that bad. We are also renovating our house, so I am building shelves, making furniture and doing some tiling.”
And with that, we wish you all the best young fella and thank you for providing us with some relief in this troubling time.
You're fighting the virus by staying inside, binging Netflix and playing board games.
You're a modern-day hero and all heroes need a cape, so we designed the Need Space Tee.
Tell everyone via social media or from safe social distancing that you Need some bloody Space!