Andro Linklater

His Own Guinea Pig

Suffer and Survive: Gas Attacks, Miners’ Canaries, Spacesuits and the Bends: The Extreme Life of Dr J S Haldane

By

Simon & Schuster 422pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Science is an accumulative body of knowledge, and what was once an astounding breakthrough quickly becomes background information. Three pages in a standard A-level biology textbook can teach you about the helical structure of DNA, whose discovery won a Nobel Prize for Crick and Watson fifty years ago, while two paragraphs are enough for John Scott Haldane’s century-old work in understanding how we breathe. Yet Haldane deserves to be celebrated not only for his discoveries, but for the manner in which he practised science. Nothing demonstrates his approach better than the way he made the miner’s canary a safety device.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The breadth of Clarke’s knowledge and experience, coupled to a conspicuous absence of pomposity, makes for easy an… ,
    • In this month's Silenced Voices, Lucy Popescu shines a light on Myanmar's persecution of writers and journalists, p… ,
    • Lecture on war and peace in 19th-century Europe by Professor Sir Richard Evans, Thurs 25 Oct, 6.30pm Europe House… ,
    • 'Why, throughout the world, are so many people fascinated by the fiction and reality of espionage? And why of all p… ,
    • . here on books, Muriel Spark and life's tangled dance ,
    • RT : There aren't enough aggressive subtitles these days: ,
    • Churchill's on the cover of the October edition of the magazine. Piers Brendon reviews two new books about the Brit… ,