Science can only make progress through trials and experiments. It is done to ensure that the specific study or vaccine is safe for replication. As time progressed, research ethics as well as experiments on humans started to boom. Prisoners, slaves and even enemies were subjected to experiments that were inhumane and risky. Their emotional or physical health were never taken into consideration and doctors as well as many scientific agencies performed experiments on unwilling people. Here are 10 such experiments that were carried out on humans. These evil, unethical and disturbing methods were performed in the name of science.
WARNING: The list provided here may contain descriptions or images of human experimentation. Some viewers may find it offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.
1. Stanford prison experiment.
In an attempt to understand the psychological and behavioral pattern of both the prisoners and the prison guards, Stanford University conducted a study on August 14–20, 1971. A team of researchers, led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo, conducted the study with the help of undergraduate volunteers who acted as both guards and prisoners. In the basement of the Stanford psychology building, the team lived in a mock prison. Many of the prisoners passively accepted psychological abuse and the guards started to overly step beyond their boundaries. The situation turned worse when the prisoners who tried to stop the abuses were harassed and emotionally traumatized. The volunteers started to exhibit sadistic tendencies, which Zimbardo, who acted as the superintendent allowed to continue. After six days, the experiment had to be abandoned since the anti-social behavior in the subjects were increasing at an alarming rate. (source)
2. In 1943, the US Navy tested mustard gas on its own sailors.
During World War II, the U.S. military exposed thousands of American troops to mustard gas in a secret chemical weapons experiment. The experiment including the use of poisonous gas was performed since both the U.S. and Britain feared that the enemies would use such a method. In order to test their newly developed protective clothing and masks, researchers asked young sailors to be a part of the experiment voluntarily. They were told that if the experiment was to be a success, it would effectively shorten the war. However, the use of mustard gas caused the sailors to suffer third degree burns both internally and externally. The volunteers of the experiment ended up in critical condition. (source)
3. Unit 731, a chemical and biological warfare research experiment conducted by the Japanese Army from 1937 to 1945.
Unit 731, was a covert operation conducted by the Japanese army from 1937 to 1945. The covert biological and chemical warfare research was the development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that mainly involved Chinese, a small amount of Russians, Mongolian, Korean and Allied POWs. The lethal human experimentation was conducted on men, women, children, infants, the elderly and pregnant women. In order to better understand the effects of germ warfare attacks, blood loss and weapons testing, the innocent prisoners were subjected to the removal of organs while still alive. The inhumane experiments claimed the lives of around 250,000 human beings. (source)
4. The Tuskegee syphilis experiment, which was conducted to track the progression of untreated syphilis.
The Tuskegee syphilis experiment is often regarded as the most infamous biomedical experiment in U.S. history. For forty years between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), performed a series of experiments that included 399 black men who had contracted syphilis. The men, who were mainly from one of the poorest counties in Alabama, were never informed of their disease or the seriousness of it. The doctors who performed the experiments were not interested in finding the cure but rather studying the effects of it. In order to voluntarily submit them for the tests, the men were given free meals daily. The experiment continued till the 70’s even after a cure was found for the illness. (source 1, 2)
5. Nazi experiments, a medical experimentation in concentration camps by the German Nazi regime.
The German Nazi regime conducted a series of medical experimentation on large numbers of people who were held in the concentration camps during WWII. At Auschwitz, various inmates were selected and subjected to experiments that were meant to help the German soldiers survive in deadly combat situations. Twin children were also a part of this twisted experiment, in order to study the similarities and differences in the genetics on both individuals. Dr. Josef Mengele, who was the leader of the experiments conducted the tests on over 1,500 sets of imprisoned twins. From that large number, less than 200 of them survived the experiments. During the experiment, Mengele often injected chloroform directly into the eyes and hearts of the victims to understand its effects. Several other inhumane tests were performed from July 1942 to about September 1943. (source 1, 2)