Nikola Tesla was an ideal “Mad Scientist.” He was a genius, an original and idiosyncratic thinker who often spoke his mind and made outlandish claims. Unlike most who talk trash, Tesla made good on many of those claims.
In 1989, chemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann reported that they had achieved cold fusion. “Cold fusion” refers to a type of nuclear reaction that takes place at temperatures far below the several million degrees that are usually required for the reaction. It’s not known whether cold fusion is possible. When the report came out it garnered enormous media attention. Fusion would be a source of cheap and relatively safe energy. Any process that could generate fusion energy – cold or otherwise – is big news.
In 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays while playing around in his laboratory. The discovery made enormous contributions to physics and other sciences. Röntgen received the first Nobel Prize for Physics his work. It also triggered intense interest in rays of all kind, real or imagined.
Kirlian photography is a technique of acquiring photographic images through the use of high-voltage electricity. It was developed in the Soviet Union by Semyon Kirlian and his wife Valentina during the first half of the 20th Century.
In 1908, a worker at a gravel pit in Piltdown, England, found pieces of a skull. The discovery attracted the attention of a collector named Charles Dawson, and paleontologist Arthur Smith Woodward. These men found additional pieces of the skull at the site, as well as a jawbone apparently belonging to the same creature. The creature seemed to have a brain around two thirds the size of a human’s, while its jaw was similar to that of a chimpanzee’s. It was called “Piltdown Man.”