stories from the wilder side of science

Films 1960-1979

Below you will find filmclips in connection to the experiments in the books. Please note "book 1" refers to "The Mad Science Book", "book 2" to "Das neue Buch der verrückten Experimente" the second volume that has not yet been published in English (see foreign rights).

1961 Maus mit Kiemen (book 2, p. 121) 


1962 Der Höhlenmensch (book 2, p. 127) 

1963 Bullfighting by Remote Control  (book 1, p. 182)

José M. R. Delgado in the Bull Fight Arena
Spanish neurologist Jose Delgado was not only convinced that electrical stimulation of the brain was the key to understanding the biological bases of social behaviour, but he was also prepared to prove his case in a rather risky fashion.

So on a spring evening in 1963 he came face to face with Lucero, a 250-kilogram fighting bull owned by the landowner Ramón Sánchez, who had granted Delgado the use of a small practice ring on his estate of La Almarilla in Córdoba for the experiment. Lucero lumbered towards him. Delgado pressed a button on the remote-control. The radio-controlled electrodes he had placed in the brain few days before the experiment activated. This instantly dissipated the animal’s aggression; Lucero skidded to a halt and trotted off.

1964 Warum hilft niemand? (book 2, p. 130) 


1967 Wie ein nicht-funktionierender Lügendetektor funktioniert (book 2, p. 148)


1968 Das Lange Warten auf zwei Marshmallows (book 2, p. 153) 


1969 The Ape in the Mirror (book 1, p. 199)

Human Ape (National Geographic)
Watch a short documentary by National Geographic about self recognition in apes and humans (including Gordon Gallups mirror test).

a more recent test with an elephant.

1971 Das Gefängnis des Professors (book 1, p. 211)


1971 Galileo on the Moon (book 1, p.223)

Hammer and Feather on the Moon
On 2 August, 1971, the astronaut David Scott dropped a feather and a hammer weighing forty times as much simultaneously. Both hit the surface of the Moon at exactly the same moment. Although the result was a foregone conclusion, it was still reassuring, as a NASA report on the Apollo 15 mission later stated. After all, the astronauts’ ability to get home safely depended entirely on the theory associated with this experiment holding water.

1976 Controversy over Life on Mars (book 1, p. 248)

Mars: Life on the Red Planet
It was 28 July 1976 when, 205 million miles from the Earth, a grasping arm reached out to resolve one of the greatest questions ever posed by humanity. A small shovel on the end of the arm tipped a handful of Mars dust into a funnel leading to the biology module of the Viking I spacecraft. This section of the Mars lander housed three experiments, which should have provided a conclusive answer to the question of whether there is life on Mars. Instead, the results have occupied scientist Gilbert Levin’s every waking (and even dreaming) moment for the past 32 years. His life became one long crusade against the US space agency NASA, which is bent on suppressing the truth, or at least what Levin believes to be the truth.

As Levin explains: “The only conclusion consistent with all the known facts is that the Viking Labeled Release Experiment discovered microorganisms in the soil of Mars.”

Watch a short documentary about the misson.