We found out today that the phrase “Heroes are not born, they are made” is all about these unsung heroes. These guys shaped the modern world yet we know so little about them. We have thus compiled a list of great people who you should know about, but probably don’t.
3 Heroes gave their Life to save Thousands in Chernobyl Disaster
The nuclear plant of Chernobyl exploded in April 1986. It caused great amount of radiation to leak out to the atmosphere. What most of you may not know is that the reactor was connected to a huge reservoir of water. Had the radioactive semi-liquid (which was like lava) made it to that pool… a steam explosion would have contaminated an area the size of the city.
The only way to stop the explosion was to drain the pool by opening up the valves. That meant exposing yourself to huge amount of radiation. Nevertheless, three engineers: Lexei Ananenko, Valeri Bezpalov and Boris Baranov volunteered for the suicidal mission. They were able to drain the pool saving thousands of lives but sadly died of radiation poisoning afterwards.
Doctor gave up $7 Billion to save Millions of Lives
Dr. Jonas Salk is the inventor of Polio Vaccine, responsible for saving millions of people around the globe. Dr. Jonas knew the potential of the vaccine yet refused to patent his invention. This led to affordable costing of the medicine and Polio getting wiped from most parts of the planet.
Prior to the vaccine, there were millions around the world affected by Polio including US President Franklin Roosevelt. Its estimated that Dr. Jonas would have had profited close to $7 billion if he had just patented it.
The man who gave us Clean Energy and Invented Radiation Therapy
Leo Szilard was one of the first scientists to work on nuclear power and atomic bombs. He was also the guy who sent the famous “Einstein Letter” to Roosevelt. He envisioned atomic bombs as a way to hold countries at bay and even has a patent on it.
Leo tried to persuade the US Government against using the bombs, and soon left the nuclear power field after US bombed the Japanese. He then went to work on the field of molecular biology. He combined his experience of nuclear power to come up with Cobalt Therapy, which is used even today to treat cancer.
Volvo gave away Seat Belt Patent for the Betterment of all Drivers
We are so used to wearing seatbelts that we assume it to be a part of the vehicle invention. Though, that wasn’t the case before 1959. If you have ever been in a serious accident and came out unscathed, then you owe it to Volvo’s engineer: Nils Bohlin.
Bohlin invented a seat belt that fit over the driver’s torso as well as his or her lap. It was first launched in Volvo cars in 1959. The seat belt patent could have made Volvo a monopoly in the transport industry besides earning them billions, yet they choose to gave away the patent.
They decided that the invention was a game changer and had more value as a free life saving tool… than something to make profit from. We really hope that more companies learn from Volvo commitment to customer than of Monsanto’s.
The genius who single handedly ended World War II
Nazis had invented and were using the Enigma machine to send messages during WW II. These were thought to be uncrackable making it impossible to defeat them. Nazis would have won the war had it not been for Alan Turing. Alan was a genius scientist and he cracked the codes single handedly, enabling allies to win the war.
If Alan Turing sound familiar, then that’s probably because of the fact that he is known as the father of the computer. He also developed mathematical biology, a new field of biology and was an Olympic level runner.
Sadly, Alan was chemically castrated for the crime of being gay and he committed suicide when it was publicly outed in 1952.
The Russian who Stopped Nuclear War
Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov was part of Soviet Union’s early warning systems unit. His job was to register enemy missile launches and report to his superiors.
One day in 1983, several alarms went off suggesting that US had fired nuclear missiles on Russia. It was Petrov’s job to report this but he held on to his nerves and instead reported this as a system glitch. He believed that no country would launch a nuclear war.
This act of going against the Army conventions and rather choosing to believe in the goodness of the people prevented an all out “retaliatory” nuclear attack. Later, it was found out that the system had indeed malfunctioned. Thank you Petrov for stopping a potential nuclear war.
Army Veteran Sacrificed his own Life to save over 2,600 People during 9/11
Rick Rescorla was an army veteran who worked as a Security head for Morgan Stanley. Ever since 1993 bombings at WTC, Rick was worried about the security of the twin towers thinking it to be still vulnerable to terrorist target. He thus asked Morgan Stanley executives to move their office to New Jersey for more security but that fell on deaf ears.
Regardless of getting turned down… Rick started making his own evacuation plan based on his army experience. He also started conducting evacuation drills regularly on those plans for all the Morgan Stanley employees. This further nerved the executives.
When the first plane hit the north tower, Rick sprung up and started executing his evacuation plan on the south tower… despite officials advice to stay put. As a result, he was able to clear out more than 2,600 people from the south tower in minutes which led to only 18 deaths in the south tower.
Sadly, Rick was one of the 18 casualties. He bravely and selflessly went inside the tower to check whether any people were left behind, and died in the process. He definitely has a special place in our heart as a true American hero.