Background: I have an idea for a podcast that tells the stories of the bravest, most daring, and most innovative men and women the world has known. I picture this in a similar vein as Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, i.e. I want to give tons of context so my audience will understand the world in which these innovators lived. (One of my goals is to dispel the notion that people in the past were foolish or backwards-minded, and I think context of the times is important.)
I'm aware there are a few resources of "badassery" on the internet, but I'm not interested in the "Swear word kill shoot kill swear word SWEAR VERB F-BOMB YEAH!!!!" style adopted by most of these sites. Also, I don't inherently define a badass as a guy who killed a lot of other guys because of his huge testicles. I'm more interested in those who had a radical idea and stuck out their neck/reputation to prove it.
is my favorite example and probably my first subject. To keep it short, Air Force crash standards of his time dictated that the human body could not survive a force greater than 18Gs. John thought humans could survive greater, so he built a rocket sled, pushed it to ~600mph, and brought it to a rapid halt. To test this on humans, he strapped himself
into the rocket sled and rode it a few dozen times. Each run was at a higher speed, until he sustained a 42G stop, which struck him blind for 10 minutes after the test and made his eyeballs bleed
. Because of his work, the crash test dummy was invented, auto safety was improved, and he even coined Murphy's Law.
(Other subjects: The Manhattan Project scientists, the space program, the guy who proved ulcers are caused by bacteria, anyone who put their well-being on the line to prove a crazy idea.)
I think the history of science is rife with stories of bravery by forgotten individuals that have long-lasting effects. This fascinates me, and I want to tell these stories.
In listy format
Who's your badass of choice?
What did they do?
What are good resources to learn their story?
What are good resources to learn about the times in which they lived?
Why are they important?
Bonus points for the following:
-A new angle on a familiar story or individual
-Resources that describe the context of the times, as I think that will be my greatest challenge
-Resources for effective podcasting (Easy enough to find on my own, but I'm willing to collect as much advice as I can.)