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Cautionary Tales – A leap of religion from the Eiffel Tower


Inventor Franz Reichelt needs to check his novel “parachute swimsuit” from as tall a construction as potential – and the Eiffel Tower appears ultimate. Earlier trial runs used a model strapped to the chute and haven’t ended nicely. Regardless of this, his plan is to make the Eiffel Tower leap himself. Can he be persuaded to see sense?

Self-experimentation – notably within the area of medication – has an extended and checkered historical past. Can we be taught something helpful from such unorthodox experiments, or are they reckless acts of egotism and hubris? 

Cautionary Tales is written by me, Tim Harford, with Andrew Wright. It’s produced by Ryan Dilley, with assist from Courtney Guarino and Emily Vaughn.

The sound design and authentic music is the work of Pascal Wyse. Julia Barton edited the scripts.

Due to the group at Pushkin Industries, together with Mia Lobel, Jacob Weisberg, Heather Fain, Jon Schnaars, Carly Migliori, Eric Sandler, Emily Rostek, Royston Beserve, Maggie Taylor, Nicole Morano, Daniella Lakhan and Maya Koenig.

[Apple] [Spotify] [Stitcher]

Additional studying and listening

On self-experimentation

Who Goes First? The Story of Self-Experimentation in Drugs by Lawrence Altman

Self-Experimentation and Its Function in Medical Analysis, Allen B. Weisse

Overview of Scientific Self-Experimentation: Ethics Historical past, Regulation, Eventualities, and Views Amongst Ethics Committees and Outstanding Scientists. Brian P. Hanley, William Bains, and George Church

On Franz Reichelt

Reporting in Le Figaro, Le Gaulois, Le Petit Journal, La Presse, Liberation and Le Petit Parisien.

On Barry Marshall

Nobel Prize Autobiography

Interview with the Academy of Achievement

Interview with Uncover Journal

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