John Scott Haldane 1860 - 1936

born in:
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

J S Haldane was born in Edinburgh in 1860. He attended Edinburgh University and the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, and graduated in medicine at Edinburgh University in 1884.

A medical researcher, in the late 1890s Haldane introduced small animals in coal mines to warn miners of the presence of dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide - these animals were more sensitive than humans to such gases, which if not detected would slowly poison the miners.

Famous for intrepid self-experimenting which led to many important discoveries about the human body and the nature of gases. He was known to lock himself in sealed chambers breathing lethal cocktails of gases while recording their effect on his mind and body.

When the Germans first used poison gas in World War I Haldane went to the front at the request of British Secretary of State, Lord Kitchener and attempted to identify the gases being used. Haldane found it was chlorine. Both sides used gas and it was much feared by the soldiers. In order to protect the soldiers, Haldane designed the first gas masks, which proved better than the urine-soaked handkerchiefs that the soldiers had used at first. Haldane also demonstrated the value of oxygen in treating soldiers when they were gassed. Science and medicine worked together to prevent an enormous number of casualties from gas attack on the western front during the First World War.