Cautionary tales – a leap of faith from the Eiffel Tower

Inventor Franz Reichelt wants to test his version of the parachute suit from the highest possible structure – and the Eiffel Tower looks perfect. Previous experiments used a mannequin attached to the chute and did not finish well. His plan, though, is to make the Eiffel Tower jump by itself. Can he be persuaded to see the meaning?

Subjective experiences – particularly in medicine – have a long and volatile history. Can we learn anything useful from such unconventional experiences, or are they reckless acts of selfishness and arrogance?

Cautionary tales written by Anna, Tim Harford, and Andrew Wright. Produced by Ryan Daily, with support by Courtney Guarino and Emily Vaughn.

Original sound and music design by Pascal Weiss. Julia Barton edited the scripts.

Thanks to the Pushkin Industries team, including Mia Lobel, Jacob Weisberg, Heather Fine, John Schnarz, Carly Migliore, Eric Sandler, Emily Rostic, Ruston Pesserve, Maggie Taylor, Nicole Morano, Daniela Lakhan and Maya Koenig.

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More reading and listening

On self-experimentation

Who goes first? The Story of Self-Experience in Medicine by Lawrence Altman

Subjective experience and its role in medical research, Allen B

A review of scientific self-experimentation: a history of ethics, regulations, scenarios, and opinions among ethics committees and eminent scholars. Brian B Hanley, William Pines and George Church

About Franz Reichelt

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

On Barry Marshall

Nobel Prize Biography

An interview with the Academy of Achievement

Interview with Discover . magazine

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