Australian astrophysicist Daniel Reardon thought he’d turn his inventiveness to help humanity by inventing a device to help people learn not to inadvertently touch their faces. His idea was to build a necklace with sensors which would respond to magnets worn on the wrists and buzz to alert the wearer when their hands approached the face.
Experimenting with neodymium magnets, clipping them to his earlobes and nostrils, he placed two magnets inside and outside each of his nostrils. So far, so good. But when he removed the magnets from the outside of the nostrils, the two inside attached to one another with his septum in the middle. If you have played with these rare earth magnets, you know how strong they are and difficult to separate if they become stuck together.
Reardon tried to dislodge the magnets with pliers, but the pliers became magnetised and shifted his entire nose toward them and stuck to the magnets. He tried using another magnet to counter the attraction of the two stuck together, but it was pulled out of his fingers and stuck to one of the magnets in his nose. He now had two magnets in one nostril, one in another, and was out of magnets.
He ended up in hospital, where doctors applied an anæsthetic spray and pulled out the magnets, filing this report.
Here is the full story from the Guardian Australia, including the detail that he abandoned his invention when he couldn’t figure out how to invert the signal from the sensor in the necklace, which behaved opposite from the desired way. Perhaps in the future he should stick to pulsars and gravitational waves, which are less prone to getting stuck up your nose.