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21 Science Fails That Will Make You Cringe

Would you rather accidentally swallow rat semen or infect yourself with rabies? Sometimes, the greatest fails lead to the best discoveries.

Posted on May 19, 2015, at 2:35 p.m. ET


Froze my shoes by spilling liquid nitrogen on them. Didn't notice for a few minutes due to thermal properties of shoes. 😨 #sciencefail

TriStar Pictures / Via


Another #sciencefail ! 1st week working in microbiology lab that studied enteropathic E. coli. Called in sick 2nd day, everyone knew why


Misspelling "frontispiece", literally the VERY FIRST WORD in my Honours thesis #sciencefail


#sciencefail Used TOTAL instead of INTEGRAL to count photons in a simulator, and we blasted our $1MM detector with 10x too much light.


@realscientists Not me, but I know several people who gave themselves lab-acquired malaria. #sciencefail

ABC / Via


@realscientists I over-microwaved agarose gel ...boiling glob shot out of flask, over lab partition, missed the postdoc by cms #sciencefail


. @realscientists my #sciencefail was opening mist-nets too early in a Mexican cloud forest--caught a cranky vampire bat that gave me rabies


@realscientists 1st time running the boat; didn't buy nautical maps #sciencefail positive = free beer from onlookers


@realscientists I once weighed pounds instead of ounces and applied a herbicide at 16-times the recommended rate. #sciencefail


@realscientists Had an intern come in sick while demonstrating laser safety. Laser heated vomit smells awful. #ScienceFail

Bravo / Via


@realscientists I was hit by a dead chicken in the face while collecting data in the farm #sciencefail


.@realscientists spilled 96x1.5ml tubes of boiling H2SO4 into lap. Melted lab coat, jeans, parts of chair & laminate on floor #sciencefail


@realscientists will never forget when I squirted wound fluid from infected leg ulcers all over my face and hair. #sciencefail


@realscientists During a DNA extraction, I "incubated" samples for an hour...with the hotplate turned OFF #sciencefail


My #sciencefail: touched my jeans with radioactive gloves That's how I earned the nickname 'hot pants'

Fox / Via


@realscientists To keep the field notebook out of the rain, I accidentally put it in patch of poison ivy. Didn’t go over well. #sciencefail


.@realscientists in the field for 8 weeks of geology/paleontology fieldwork, discovered I forgot my field boots. #ScienceFail


@realscientists my lab mate squirted rat semen in his mouth. #sciencefails

Fox / Via


@realscientists I discovered that it's impossible to run away from your own trousers after dripping conc HCl on them. #sciencefail #OwOwOw


This paper has a typo, the primer concentration is missing a zero. I wasted 2 days #sciencefail #PCR


@realscientists after 9 months of #sciencefail I generated 3 new gene KO strains of Cryptococcus all in the same week! #scienceFTW

AMC / Via

Check out more science fails using the Twitter hashtag #sciencefail.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.