Being a guinea pig for the British government's Common Cold Unit in 1946 was very popular with students. They saw it as a cheap holiday: getting free accommodation in spacious flats fully equipped with books, games, radio and telephone, and spending your leisure time playing table tennis, badminton, or golf. You even got paid three shillings a day.
The students were instructed to maintain a distance of at least 9 metres from all unprotected persons, other than their flatmates. The unpleasant part of the experiment began when the participants had to spend half an hour in a draughty corridor after taking a hot bath, had to wear wet socks for the rest of the day, and were infected with nasal secretion from a cold sufferer.
This was the experiment that contradicted what your mother told you: the common cold is not caused by cold temperatures, but by infection. This is just one of nine of the oddest experiments ever, detailed at New Scientist. The last one is a hoot! Link -via Digg