It was August 27, 1885. In a hospital in Lima, Peru, a student named Daniel Carrion was preparing to infect himself with a dreaded disease . . . He had a small, sharp lancet ready . . . Carrion's friends and teacher from the medical school thought it was a bad idea. They knew Carrion was eager to learn more about this mysterious disease.
But were the risks worth it?
Science and medicine from the inside out-ten engrossing stories of self-experimentation
Who are these "guinea pig scientists"? Searching for clues to some of science's and medicine's bigger (and sometimes stranger) questions, they are all the men and women who devoted their lives to help find the answers. Spanning from the 1770s to the present--and uncovering the science behind digestion, the spread of yellow fever, the development of the first heart catheter, and more--their ten stories are at once scientifically detailed and fascinatingly personal.
Gr. 5-8. From hundreds of examples gathered during a decade of research, the authors offer 10 enthralling case studies of scientists from the past several centuries who became their own test subjects--with occasionally fatal results. The accounts are lively, compelling, and not always for the squeamish: Peruvian medical student Daniel Carrion and American Dr. Jesse Lazear inoculated themselves with deadly tropical diseases; Werner Forssman inserted a catheter into his arm and then pushed it up to his heart; John Paul Stapp rode a rocket car that went from more than 600 mph to a standstill in 1.4 seconds to test jet pilot safety gear; Lazzaro Spallanzani, who studied digestion, swallowed numerous things that you probably wouldn't. Aside from the Curies, most of the subjects will be new, even to a well-read audience, and though some of their achievements may seem quirky (to say the least), the authors cogently discuss each experiment's significance in advancing our understanding of science and medicine. Illustrated with a mix of period black-and-white photos and Mordan's nineteenth-century-style portraits, and with commentary on changing attitudes toward experimenting on animals threaded throughout, the episodes make riveting reading as well as vintage booktalk material. Resource lists, a time line, and endnotes are appended.