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August 17, 2017

Cool Vintage Photos of 14 Odd Science Experiments from the Past


Scientific studies do a pretty good job of answering questions about how the world works. But often, researchers are pursuing things we never thought of as worth pursuing. Here's a collection of 14 cool photos of odd science experiments culled from the amazing LIFE magazine archives.

1. Turn This-a-Way, 1941

(Photo: Alfred Eisenstaedt)

A West Point cadet standing atop a turntable gyrates in the opposite direction to the spin of a wheel he's holding during an outdoor analytical mechanics demonstration.


2. Magnetic Personality, 1948

(Photo: Al Fenn./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

A research engineer plays with an electronic tube inside of which usually invisible lines of magnetic force appear as curving lines.


3. Jack Gariss: Turn Off Your Mind, 1972

(Photo: Ralph Crane./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Spiritual teacher and meditation instructor Jack Gariss conducts a group meditation experiment.


4. Fun With Chemicals, 1965

(Photo: Henry Groskinsky/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

NASA scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland study the chemicals that cause the tail of a firefly to light up in 1965.


5. Down Is Up, 1958

(Photo: Grey Villet)

A naval researcher tests the effects on animals of being upside-down for prolonged periods of time.


6. Feel Me Now?, 1964

(Photo: Ralph Morse/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

American astronaut Gus Grissom tests his suit's range of motion with a series of rulers mounted onto the frame of a space capsule, Dallas, Texas, 1964.


7. Heli-Puller, 1947

(Photo: Charles E. Steinheimer./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

The president of United Helicopters, Stanley Hiller Jr., leads a helicopter with a scarf tied to its front wheel in a demonstration for the company's stockholders.


8. Shutter to Think, 1945

(Photo: Andreas Feininger./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

A demonstration of the way a camera shutter works.


9. Force Field, 1948

(Photo: Al Fenn./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Magnetism is made visible in a 1948 device.


10. Astronaut Hands, 1968

(Photo: Ralph Morse)

Plaster casts of the hands of NASA astronauts, taken in order to custom-fit their space suits, Houston, Texas, 1968.


11. Skull Cracking, 1948

(Photo: Cornell Capa./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

In skull cracking experiments at Cornell, researchers use imitation skulls to determine how to redesign aircraft interiors so as to reduce large number of fatalities resulting from head injuries.


12. High Flyer, 1941

(Photo: Dmitri Kessel)

A participant in an experiment on the effects of high altitude flight rides a bicycle while wearing an air mask.


13. Prototype Space Suit, Mojave Desert, California, Early 1960s

(Photo: Fritz Goro)

Technician testing space suit for Apollo Moon mission in Mojave desert lava cave.


14. Goodbye Kitty, 1968

(Photo: Ralph Crane./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

A cat drops upside down to demonstrate how its movements while falling can be imitated by astronauts in space.

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