February 25, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

Extraordinary science carried out by normal people like you and me included in the top 6 Darwin awards ...


Wendy Northcutt, the founder of the awards, was just a biology student at Stanford University when she thought to create the website to “commemorate individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives,” in an extraordinarily idiotic manner.

It features stories including that of the chap who was killed by a vending machine whilst trying to tip it forward for a free drink, the escaping prisoner whose rope of bed sheets was 86 feet short of the ground, and the man who tried to rob a gun shop, but was instead shot by customers and the clerks. Surprisingly, these aren’t even the cream of the crop of stories available, so here we have compiled our top six.

The Manliest of Men

In 1995, Krystof, a Polish farmer, was drinking with friends when someone suggested they take off all their clothes in a display of their ‘manliness’. At first, they fought each other with frozen turnips, but to up the ante, one of the men whacked out a chainsaw and cut off the end of his foot. Not to be outdone, Krystof swung at his own head, and decapitated himself, landing himself firmly on the Darwin awards shortlist.


Have you ever wondered what would happen if you connected your nipple piercings to an electronic control tester using crocodile clips? A 23 year old man in Pennsylvania, USA, did. It turns out that you get electrocuted. His coworkers attempted to resuscitate him, but were unsuccessful. He died at the scene, but his untimely exit was immortalised on Wendy’s gruesome list for all to read.

For the love of a moped


Rosanne, a 50 year old woman from North Carolina, took her moped out for a spin and a beer during some serious flooding in 2009. She told her mother that she would be fine, but on the drive back, she skidded off the flooded road, and into a creek. She was rescued by Highway Patrol, but then jumped back into the creek in an attempt to rescue the moped. She subsequently drowned, although it is unsure if the scooter made it back to the bank in a workable condition.

Year of the Tiger

It was on New Year’s Day, 1996 when friends Prakesh and Suresh had the reckless idea that would result in their downfall. They decided to put a flower garland on a tiger in Calcutta Zoo, as a New Year’s greeting. Suresh threw the garland but the distgruntled tiger responded by attacking him. Prakesh, in an attempt to save his friend, kicked the tiger in the face, after which the tiger mauled him to death.

This bag is not a toy

In 2002, a farmer in Sao Paulo took it upon himself to remove a bees’ nest from his orange tree. Putting a plastic bag on his head to protect himself from stinging, he grabbed a torch, and began to burn the hive. Unfortunately, he forgot to put air holes in the bag. His wife found him, asphyxiated, a few hours later.

Lorry Surfer


As a lorry trundled along the Main Street of Shepparton, Australia, the Spring Nationals country festival 2000 was in full swing, and everyone was a little drunk. A man in a sombrero attached a rope to the lorry and surfed along the road on a piece of cardboard. The rope then became caught amongst the wheels, and the man was pulled in. Unfortunately he could not be saved, and next to the body bag lay his sombrero.

This article was written by Pippa Mitchell and Letizia Diamante.