In yet another sign that 2020 will go down as the weirdest year in recent memory, an Australian astrophysicist trying to build a homemade coronavirus prevention device ended up in the hospital after getting high-powered neodymium magnets stuck in his nose.
Dr. Daniel Reardon was building a prototype for a necklace that warned the wearer they were touching their face when he got bored one day and started playing with the rare-earth magnets he was using to construct the device. He attached two to the inside of his nostrils, two to the outside. But when he went to remove them, they became attracted to each other and he couldn’t dislodge them.
“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.”
It was at this point Reardon attempted to pivot to pliers to help him with the nose-magnet problem, but this only made matters worse.
“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.”
Thankfully, the very smart man with magnets up his nose was OK. Doctors managed to remove the magnets, including one that accidentally slid down his throat.
This is absolutely a “do not try this at home” situation. Not only are neodymium magnets extremely strong, but they carry legitimate risk of injury or death, particularly if ingested. There were over 12,000 reported cases of rare-earth magnet injury among children from 2002-2011, according to the National Institute of Health, with surgery being required in 69 percent of cases.
So whether you’re an astrophysicist or simply bored at home, let this story serve as a warning: Don’t play with magnets.