Anatoli Petrovich Bugorski
25 June 1942
|Alma mater||National Research Nuclear University MEPhl|
|Known for||Surviving a particle accelerator accident|
|Institutions||Institute for High Energy Physics|
Anatoli Petrovich Bugorski (Russian: Анатолий Петрович Бугорский), born 25 June 1942, is a retired Russian particle physicist. He is known for surviving an accident in 1978, when a high energy proton beam from a particle accelerator passed through his brain.
As a researcher at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Protvino, Russia, Bugorski worked with the largest particle accelerator in the Soviet Union, the U-70 synchrotron. On 13 July 1978, Bugorski was checking a malfunctioning piece of equipment when the safety mechanisms failed. Bugorski was leaning over the equipment when he stuck his head in the path of the 76 GeV proton beam. Reportedly, he saw a flash "brighter than a thousand suns" but did not feel any pain. The beam passed through the back of his head, the occipital and temporal lobes of his brain, the left middle ear, and out through the left hand side of his nose. He received a dose of 200,000 to 300,000 roentgens. Bugorski understood the severity of what had happened, but continued working on the malfunctioning equipment, and initially opted not to tell anyone what had happened.
The left half of Bugorski's face swelled up beyond recognition and, over the next several days, the skin started to peel, revealing the path that the proton beam (moving near the speed of light) had burned through parts of his face, his bone and the brain tissue underneath. As it was believed that he had received far in excess of a fatal dose of radiation, Bugorski was taken to a clinic in Moscow where the doctors could observe his expected demise. However, Bugorski survived, completed his PhD, and continued working as a particle physicist. There was virtually no damage to his intellectual capacity, but the fatigue of mental work increased markedly. Bugorski completely lost hearing in the left ear, replaced by a form of tinnitus. The left half of his face was paralyzed due to the destruction of nerves. He was able to function well, excepting occasional complex partial seizures and rare tonic-clonic seizures.
Bugorski continued to work as a physicist at the Institute for High Energy Physics and held the post of coordinator of physics experiments. Because of the Soviet Union's policy of maintaining secrecy on nuclear power-related issues, Bugorski did not speak publicly about the accident for over a decade. He continued going to the Moscow radiation clinic twice a year for examinations and to meet with other nuclear-accident victims. He was described as "a poster boy for Soviet and Russian radiation medicine". In 1996, he applied unsuccessfully for disability status to receive free epilepsy medication. Bugorski showed interest in making himself available for study to Western researchers but could not afford to leave Protvino.
Bugorski is married to Vera Nikolaevna, and they had a son, Peter.
- Masha Gessen (1 December 1997). "The Future Ruins of the Nuclear Age". Wired magazine. Retrieved 26 April 2007.
- Геннадий Дерновой [Gennady Dernovoi] (23 January 1998). Персональный Чернобыль Анатолия Бугорского [Anatoli Bugorski's Personal Chernobyl] (in Russian). Izvestiya newspaper (originally), re-published by Экологическая правда. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2011.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
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- "What Happens If You Stick Your Head in a Particle Accelerator?". Skeptical Science. 15 December 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
- "A.P. Bugorsky's research while affiliated with Institute for High Energy Physics and other places". ResearchGate.
- Kentaro Mori (16 September 2008). "Hit by a Particle Accelerator Beam".
- Joel Frohlich (12 January 2017). "What Happens If You Stick Your Head in a Particle Accelerator?".