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Electrified Sheep: Glass-Eating Scientists, Nuking the Moon, and More Bizarre Experiments

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  539 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Benjamin Franklin was a pioneering scientist, leader of the Enlightenment & founding father of the USA. But perhaps less well known is that he was also the first person to use artificial respiration to revive an electric shock victim. Odder still, it was actually mouth-to-beak resuscitation on a hen that he himself had shocked.
Paperback, 343 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Boxtree, Limited (first published 2011)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  539 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Brian Clegg
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
It’s difficult to read this title without thinking of Philip K. Dick’s story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep which was (very loosely) translated in the movie Blade Runner. Actually it’s difficult to read the title of this book at all because of strangely wordy cover. But what’s inside is not a freak show, but rather an exploration of some of the more bizarre experiments that scientists have in all honest decided to take on.

This is a field that is already covered by the igNobels (annual
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Human kind is unbelievable. This book made me physically sick to my stomach numerous times. Fantastic!
Jun 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Quick, what mad scientist first revived a shock victim using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? And who was the victim? Answer: The scientist was Ben Franklin, and the victim was a chicken. And that’s just one of the weird stories in this collection.
Donald Armfield
This is A 3.5 rating the opening studies are extremely boring.

Chapter 1: Electric Bodies
The study of electric goes to the animals one thing I will remember next time the lights go out with no sign of a storm, then that is pay back from the pigeons.

Chapter 2: Nuclear Reactions
Much better section the things scientist to with Atomic Bombs will definitely leave your jaw with awh stuck.

Chapter 3: Deceptive Ways
Very boring!

Chapter 4: Monkeying Around
Scientist trying to make monkeys civilized and why
Robert Day
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: knowledge
If you were a Mad Scientist - what experiment would you conduct?

I would embed the workings of a smartphone in people's brains and synch it up with their eyes and ears etc. (instead of a screen, microphone and speakers etc.) just to see if having a secret smartphone would mean they would spend more time inside their heads/smartphones.

I guess on the outside, they would just look a little distracted (and maybe drool a little more), but apart from that, who would be able to tell that they were
Jan 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Geeks like me
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Not as good as the first book, Elephants on Acid. Maybe if you read this book first it wont be so disappointing. The book rehashes some of what was said in the first book and honestly I would advise people to read the first book and skip this one.
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-issues
Some good stories, some dumb ones, some funny ones, some I didn't even want to read. Kind of a mixed bag.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This book reminded me that science isn't always as straightforward as I think, but this title was fun nonetheless. However, the last chapter made me feel a bit ill- some people do some strange things to themselves in the name of science.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting collection of eccentric individuals who toed the line between science and madness.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Quite the collection of experimenters. All the stories are pretty short, good to pick up and put down often.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
More tales of eccentric scientists. Informative and entertaining.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
For some reason, I struggled to get started with this. Once I did, I really enjoyed the section on early primate research.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rambling narrative exploring four fields of scientific enquiry; electricity, nuclear bombs, psychology and scientists who dice with death. I really enjoyed the quirky tales of unusual science experiments, written in a comfy prose. Definitely going to search out Boese's other books.
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A really interesting book about a lot of "forgotten" experiments in science. Both interesting and sad, and an amazing read!
Guillermo Galvan
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems as if there isn't anymore "neat" stuff anymore. Well, at least since the 90's ended. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? From the look of the cover, I knew this book was filled with plenty of neat stuff. It promised true stories about chimpanzee butlers, the day the soviets almost nuked the moon, liquid sunshine, and a zombie chicken. No connoisseur of the bizarre can resist that Bradburyesque lineup.

I should have taken the title, Electrified Sheep, literally since the first
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Boese collects some very interesting experiments here. And some that are less interesting than gross. I liked the book and I found it fascinating in places but I squirmed a little in places too. The experiments are grouped together in chapters so the similar ones are together but there are short little stories with headings every few pages or so, so it is a good book to sit down and read for a while or if you only have a few minutes at a time. Everything here was done in the name of science and ...more
Aug 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: science, history
Definitely a pop science book, with the start of each section having a (at least partially fantasised) dramatic section. In fact, while it is a pop science book, there is a lot of history in there (which is probably quite expected given the subject matter).

It is organised into, electricity, nuclear reactions etc., and starts of with the section containing the title story, electricity. However, I felt that this was too large a section, and toward the end of it, I had become quite bored of hearing
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2012
A collection of mad, foolhardy and gross scientific advancements that have been made by scientists that are on the very edge of the scientific community.

Covers people who have eaten all manner of things, have poisoned themselves, have tried to tech chimp to become low IQ worker and pushed their own bodies to the limits of what they could do.

The chapter on electricity is fascinating, as this was an age of discovery. The psychology chapter has been covered in greater detail in other books, but
Sara Gray
Dec 11, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a fairly engaging series of short essays and stories about various "mad" scientists and the experiments that made them (in)famous. Josh and I especially enjoyed the ones about toxinologists who let themselves be bit by black widow spiders and other creepy crawlies. I could have done without the introductory "stories" that headed each chapter, as they ended up being fairly redundant. The author also had a hard time closing each chapter, ending on a pat or silly concluding sentence that ...more
Elizabeth Kennedy
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Finally finished this book. Not listed highest in my recommendations because of the first several chapters consisting of lectures in electricity and nuclear energy, the book became slightly more interesting towards the end. However gruesome and reprehensible the experiments were, it is interesting to note that many medical procedures and much of the scientific facts that are common knowledge today, would be unknown without these crazy scientists. I liked the information but much was upsetting ...more
I found this book less enjoyable than Elephants on Acid. Boese seemed to dwell more on the history of the experiments leading to a dryer read. Also, many of the "experiments" talked about in this book aren't truly bizarre. That's not to say they are uninteresting, but I think Boese covered the cream of the crop in his first book leaving this one a a little disappointing. Boese did have some moments when his commentary lead me to laugh out loud, but generally this book was a pale shadow of its ...more
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alex Boese presents an interesting book about some of the incredibly odd and often times disturbing things people have done in the name of science. I particularly enjoyed the section about electricity and the development of our understanding of it today. Due to this book, I've lost all respect for Thomas Edison and the heinous things he did to animals. Many of the experiments described in the book were very fascinating, but some just grossed me out and left me shaking my head. An enjoyable read, ...more
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly interesting collection of mad science research, easy to understand while still providing unusual and often little known information. I warn any reader that it can get deeply disturbing at times, all the more so since you know it's true. I had to skip some paragraphs becuase of this. All the same, it's a worthwhile read, and certainly teaches you about the giants whose shoulders we stand on, and their weird perversions done in the name of science.
Interesting. Odd. Weird.
Be careful not to eat before some of the reading, or plan to eat afterward. Parts of this book may affect your gross-out factor.
Main chapters are: Electric bodies; Nuclear reactions; Deceptive ways; Monkeying around; Do-it-yourselfers.
It's amazing what scientists put themselves, their loved ones, and innocent animals through, often without any knowledge gained or progress made.
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a while since I read Boese's similarly-themed Elephants On Acid, so I may be wrong in this, but this definitely feels more structured, better put together. The stories within of scientists, and the peculiar and unorthodox lengths they'll go to, remain fascinating, and at times hilarious. At others, they become shocking, particularly when animals are involved. But nevertheless, as a testament to man's curiosity, it's definitely worth dipping into.
Swati Rane levendovszky
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love this book, I have not finished it yet but am almost there. It talks about different scientific experiments men conducted on their paths to discovering great things and also failing in their quests. It is humbling to know the passion that drives us and also makes you uneasily aware of the times when we just crossed the boundaries that define a scientific experiment.
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
This was a very interesting book. From the time I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. Alex Boese covered a lot of quirky research starting from the late 1700's - some of them I couldn't believe, so I had to dig deeper (I ended up confirming the text).

Very fun and interesting read. If enjoy understanding where and how things jump-started, this book is that with humor inserted.
Dawn Stricker
Dec 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I almost gave it three stars because some of it is difficult to read. I reconsidered though as it is well written and interesting stuff. It's not Alex Boese's fault some of it is so cringe worthy and nauseating.
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I actually got bogged down. I wasn't finding the stories as interesting as I had hoped, and something about the writing bugged me. I'll probably finish it eventually. But onward, through my reading list.
I got this book after really enjoying Elephants on Acid; however this book is more in depth and about 20% longer than a comfortable read. I completely understand that every story needed to be told the way it was and that just took some pages, but I still like Elephants on Acid better.
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Alex Boese holds a master's degree in the history of science from UC San Diego. He is the creator of He lives near San Diego.