| 19°C Dublin

Scientist got four magnets stuck up nose working on virus device


Magnetic personality: Astrophysicist Daniel Reardon

Magnetic personality: Astrophysicist Daniel Reardon

Magnetic personality: Astrophysicist Daniel Reardon

Many people have got stuck in to fight Covid-19, but none like the Australian astrophysicist who got four magnets trapped up his nose while trying to develop a device to prevent people touching their faces.

Daniel Reardon, a research fellow at Melbourne's Swinburne University, had to go to hospital after his efforts to build a necklace that sounded an alarm on facial contact went haywire.

The 27-year-old, who studies pulsars and gravitational waves, said he was trying to combat boredom as well as the coronavirus pandemic when he began experimenting with four powerful neodymium magnets.

"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," he said.

But then Mr Reardon placed two magnets inside his nostrils and two on the outside. When the outer magnets were removed, the two inside would not come out. "My partner, who works at a hospital, was laughing at me. After struggling for 20 minutes, I googled the problem and found an article about an 11-year-old boy who had the same problem. The solution was more magnets."

Mr Reardon then tried to use the outer magnets to extract them, and all four got stuck. He attempted to use pliers to pull them out, but the pliers themselves became magnetised.

At the hospital, doctors applied an anaesthetic spray and manually removed three magnets but one fell down his throat. Fortunately he was able to cough it out.

"Needless to say I am not going to play with the magnets any more," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)