The “I’ve set fire to stuff” badge (LEVEL IV).


In which the recipient has set fire to his or herself while performing experiments in the name of science. Cooking or drinking accidents do not qualify one for this badge. (JM)



  1. I frequently impress my class with the flaming hands of death, and have made the front page of the local newspaper once or twice because of it.

  2. Set my hands on fire whilst doing a combustion demo for a group of high school juniors. The day of my first date with my eventual wife.

  3. Sadly earned this trying to prevent someone else from setting equipment on fire- and even more sadly when I was only 15- but happily put myself out with out over-reacting unlike the head grad student came running at me with a fire extinguisher!

  4. Ah, yes. My colleague doused me with gasoline and lit me on fire a few years ago. Good thing we were outside and there was snow on the ground. I still got pretty badly burned on the nose and the ears though.

    Oddly, I can’t seem to remember what we were trying to prove at the time…

  5. I have a full beard. In fact, it’s somewhere between Grizzly Adams and ZZ Top, so you know.

    So, I was soldering (science? Really more like engineering), and I smelled burning hair. I looked down, and there was smoke. So I hurriedly set down the soldering iron, and the smoke didn’t stop. Then I beat the flames and smolder out with my hands and had a forked long beard for a couple months. True story.

  6. I think there should be a level V badge: In which the recipient has set fire to others while performing experiments in the name of science.

    I never did it myself, but I’ve seen it happen.

  7. I qualify for the level V badge, as a full time Pyrotechnician I regularly set my co-workers on fire for movies, tv ect…

  8. Way back in high school, I learned that I could set a 50/50 mix of water and rubbing alcohol burning on my hands without more than a warm feeling. More recently, I’ve discovered that you can pull the same trick with hand sanitizer. Does this count as setting yoruself on fire?

    If not, I also used to annoy my roommates by using a lighter to burn the hair off my arms.

  9. Doing archeometallurgical experiments, I’ve set myself on fire on numerous occasions, usually my pants, though I’ve burned beards, eyebrows, and hair as well. Molten steel is hot — just the radiant heat from the crucible can set cotton on fire from a couple of feet away. Fun to play with, though.

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