10 Incredible “fine, I’ll Do It Myself” Moments in History – Part Two

by Rishika Jain2 years ago

6 In 1947, Thor Heyerdahl was trying to prove his theory about Polynesian islands that it was settled by South American people. When nobody believed him, to prove his theory, he crossed the Pacific Ocean with the technology people had during pre-Columbian times. He could have died in the process, but ultimately he made it to the Polynesian islands.

Thor Heyerdahl
Thor Heyerdahl, The Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo. Image credits: Nordics.info, Denis Kudlay/Shutterstock

Thor Heyerdahl, who was a Norwegian adventurer and ethnographer, had gone to a major extent to prove his theories. He is notable for his Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947.

Heyerdahl believed that during pre-Columbian times, South American people would have reached Polynesia, but nobody believed his theory. This was the moment Heyerdahi thought, fine I’ll prove it myself.

Heyerdahl departed for the Kon-Tiki expedition by only using materials and technologies people had back then. He sailed using a hand-made boat with only a few modern devices like radio, charts, watches, and metal knives. The trip began on April 28, 1947, and ended on August 7, 1947. He made it to the Polynesian island even after having a near-death experience.

However, Heyerdahl’s theory of a South American origin of the Polynesian peoples along with his “drift voyaging” hypothesis is still rejected by scientists today, but his expedition is praised worldwide. (1, 2)


7 During the 13th century, Genghis Khan sent a caravan to Khwarezmia to establish official trade ties. The Khwarezmian Sultan had the whole caravan arrested and executed. Later, Genghis Khan sent three ambassadors; they were also executed or shaved. This triggered Genghis Khan, he attacked Khwarezmia with 100,000 men and destroyed the whole empire.

Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan

During the early 13th century, Genghis Khan sent a message seeking a trade to the ruler of the Khwarazmian Empire, Sultan Muhammad II. He regarded Sultan as his neighbor and said that “I am the master of the lands of the rising sun and you are the sultan of the setting sun, let’s agree to peace and treaty”.

He sent a 500 men caravan of Muslims to Khwarezmia to establish official trade. However, the Sultan was doubtful of Genghis Khan’s peace treaty so he instructed his governor Inalchuq to have the members of the caravan arrested by falsely claiming that the caravan was a conspiracy against Khwarezmia.

Later, the entire caravan was executed. Genghis Khan again sent a three ambassadors group, one Muslim and two Mongols demanding to set free the caravan and governor be handed over for the punishment. However, the Sultan had the muslin beheaded and shaved Mongols back to Genghis Khan.

This was a huge disrespect for Genghis Khan and to make the Khwarezmian Sultan regret his mistake, Khan marched with 100,000 men to Khwarezmia.

He conquered the three leading cities of Khwarezmia which were Bukhara, Samarkand, and Urgench. He destroyed the entire empire and killed people, it was one of the bloodiest wars in human history. (Source)


8 Issac Newton invented calculus in 1665. He invented calculus just because he didn’t have enough math to prove his physics theory and wanted more, so he created his own math to continue working on his theory. However, Newton made one of the greatest breakthroughs in mathematics history by inventing calculus.

Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton. Image credits: Nicku/Shutterstock, Shutterstock

Issac Newton was a physicist, mathematician, and cosmologist in the 17th century. He is known for formulating the laws of motion and universal gravitation. One of his best-known achievements was the invention of calculus.

When he was working on a physics theory, he wanted to solve it with a new mathematical framework that did not exist at that time. His main focus was gravity and the law of motion which linked him to his breakthrough in calculus.

When Newton started to describe the speed of a falling object, he realized that the speed of a falling object increases every second and there is no mathematical explanation for this. Here, Newton saw a void and decided that “Fine, I’ll do it myself!”

He started working on his theory, which included his theory about planetary ellipses to explain the orbit of the planets. He used calculus to explain the movement of planets and the reason why the orbits of planets are in an ellipse. Newton invented calculus in 1665, but his revised theory of calculus was published in 1676. (1, 2)


9 In 1963, Maurice Hilleman, an American microbiologist, developed a mumps vaccine when his oldest daughter caught the mumps. He cultured a sample from her and developed a vaccine, then injected it into his younger daughter in 1966 as a part of the experiment. This vaccine is still in use and has saved millions of lives globally.

Maurice Hilleman
Maurice Ralph Hilleman, Image to the right is used for representational purposes only. Image credits: thelancet.com, Shutterstock

Maurice Ralph Hilleman was an American microbiologist who has developed over 40 vaccines in his lifetime, which is an unparalleled record of productivity. In 1963, when one night Hilleman’s oldest daughter, Jeryl Lynn, had a swollen jaw and fever, which was immediately diagnosed by Hilleman was caused by mumps.

Mumps is an infection in the salivary glands which can lead to infections of the brain and can cause permanent deafness or even death.

Hilleman was concerned as a father but he also saw an opportunity. He quickly visited the virus laboratories at Merck and returned home with a few cotton swabs and a vial of chicken broth. He collected mumps samples from his daughter and grew those samples in chicken embryos in his laboratory to weaken them.

With the help of the attenuated mumps virus, he created a mumps vaccine in 1965. He tested his vaccine on his youngest daughter, Kirsten, in 1966 which was created from the virus isolated from her older sister.

Hilleman’s vaccine worked, and in 1967 it was approved by the FDA for commercial use. Eleven million doses of Hilleman’s mumps vaccine were distributed in the US, and his vaccine saved millions of lives worldwide. (1, 2)


10 In 1945, when Léo Major and his best friend were scouting a Dutch town called Zwolle, which was captured by Germans in WWII. During the trip, a firefight broke out in which his friend was killed. Enraged by this, Major stayed there and single-handedly liberated the Dutch town from Germans by convincing them that a massive Canadian attack was coming.

Leo Major
Image credit: Historisch Centrum Overijssel_Zwolle via nytimes

In April 1945, Léo Major and his buddy, Willy Arseneault, agreed to scout for a Dutch town called Zwolle, which was captured by Germans in World War II.

They agreed to observe and report the mission as the Major’s unit approached the town of Zwolle in the Netherlands. Canadians wanted limited casualties, so they told Major and Arseneault to alert local Dutch resistance and warn them of a morning attack, so the locals should take cover.

Soon, they both were caught by a German roadblock, and during the ensuing confrontation, Arseneault was killed. Enraged by this, Major killed his friend’s attacker and chased the rest away. Major found a German officer and told him that a massive Canadian attack was on its way.

The word spread that Canadians were in town and planning a massive attack. Here, Major decided to single-handedly liberate the town. He threw grenades throughout the town, avoiding civilians and causing as much panic as possible. He made explosions and noise making it sound like the entire Canadian Army had arrived.

He fired bursts from a submachine gun and killed several Germans despite being outnumbered. He even located the local SS headquarters and lit it on fire. When the German Army was convinced that they were under attack from a well-prepared force, they retreated from the city before dawn.

The next day, the Canadians marched into the town, and Major was recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal. He was the only person to receive DCMs in two wars. (Source)

Also Read:
10 of the Most Notorious Traitors in History

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