Home Tech They experimented on themselves in secret. What they discovered helped win a war

They experimented on themselves in secret. What they discovered helped win a war

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 They experimented on themselves in secret. What they discovered helped win a war

The Allied soldiers who did not die limped back from defeat. It was now clear that they needed to be able to sneak up to the beaches days before a raid to get up-to-date information. They needed to know where the Nazis had dug tunnels in the ground, where they had planted explosives or built machine gun nests. None of their ships or vessels could get close enough to the coast without being detected, so the Allies needed miniature submarines and divers. And they needed science to make those things happen.

By that time, Haldane, Spurway and the other scientists had already given themselves eight seizures and broken several vertebrae as a result. This is because, shortly before the Dieppe disaster, but not in time to stop it, the Admiralty had asked Haldane and his crew to pivot and concentrate on a new, more specific target. To help their compatriots and the Allies defeat Hitler, to help end the war, the Allies needed scientists to use this same work to prepare beach exploration missions.

Five days after Dieppe, still unaware of its horror, Haldane and Spurway were working on the next amphibious assault plan. There would be another beach landing, this time in Normandy, and it could not fail.

Haldane was born in 1892 in the type of Scottish family whose summer houses have towers. Majestic portraits of ancestors with carefully trimmed facial hair and dressed in miles of pleated fabrics looked out from the high walls of their many estates. John, called “Jack” in his youth and later “JBS,” had no patience for such pageantry. He insisted on keeping an old bathtub full of tadpoles under the branches of a stately apple tree. He was determined to raise water spiders.

Jack and his sister Naomi were raised in science the same way some are raised in royalty.

Their parents, Louisa and John Scott, seem to have grown close to each other because of the same fiercely independent and socially irreverent temper they would pass on to their children. She was a bright young woman with golden hair, classic beauty, an affinity for small dogs, and a frank confidence that, along with her propensity for the occasional cigarette, marked her out as a rebel within the prim upper class of 19th-century Britain. .

He was a researcher, doctor and lecturer in physiology at Oxford University, and a notoriously eccentric. He converted the basement and attic of the couple’s home into makeshift laboratories so he could play with fire, air currents and gas mixtures. His children could also do it.

At age 3, Jack, the boy with golden hair and chubby cheeks, was a blood donor for his father’s research. At age 4, he was traveling with his father on the London Underground while John Scott hung a jar out of the train window to collect air samples. The duo found carbon monoxide levels so alarmingly high that the city decided to electrify the railway lines. Young Haldane was learning how to keep people alive and breathing in worlds where they should not survive.

In the late 19th century, frequent explosions and gas leaks made mining one of the deadliest jobs in the world, and John Scott Haldane became known among the country’s miners for his willingness to climb through the narrow, dark, and crowded of coal from highway corridors. his mission to make air supply safer. At age 4, Jack also explored coal mines with his father to discover how people breathed in those narrow, dangerous spaces. That common expression “canary in the coal mine”, still used to describe the early detection of any threatening situation, exists today because it was Haldane’s idea to use these cheerful little birds to detect gas leaks.

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