Monday, October 28, 2019

Anything for Science

In the late 1700s there was a fad for scientific experiments among the British elite, giving us for example the Lunar Society, or Ben Franklin's experiments with lightning. And this:
In 1797 the Annual Register [of the Royal Society] recorded as noteworthy but hardly surprising an experiment that had been going on for four years: a labourer who had a large family has responded to an advertisement and offered himself, mouse-like, for detention underground, "to live for seven years without seeing a human face." The bait was provision for his wife and children while he was gone and £50 per year thereafter.
The experimenter was a Mr. Powyss of Moreham. And that is absolutely all we know about this incident or the people involved.

Norma Clarke in the TLS for 4 October 2019

1 comment:

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