Synopses & Reviews
Many scientists have followed the advice of the great Victorian doctor Jack Haldane to “never experiment on an animal if a man will do” and “never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself.” He and his father inhaled poisonous gasses to test the efficacy of the prototype gas mask they had invented. When breathing gasses under pressure he suffered the smoking ears and screaming teeth of the title.
The stories in Norton’s new book are astonishing, disturbing or absurd. The zoologist Frank Buckland made a concentrated effort to widen the nation’s diet by personally testing everything that crossed his path, from boiled elephant’s trunk to slug soup. Some medics deliberately contracted deadly blood diseases in the hope of finding cures. Then there was the surgeon who was fired and subsequently won the Nobel Prize for thrusting a catheter into his own beating heart.
"Erudite, funny, weird and endearing." John Banville
"A beautifully written book." The New Yorker
"Trevor Norton exemplifies that rare species: a scientist who can not only communicate but whose writing is a pleasure to read." James Hamilton-Paterson, Whitbread Prize winner
A witty celebration of the great eccentrics who have performed dangerous scientific experiments on themselves for the benefit of humankind.
About the Author
Trevor Norton is an emeritus professor at the University of Liverpool, having retired from the Chair of Marine Biology. He has published widely on ecological topics. His much acclaimed books include Stars Beneath the Sea; Reflections on a Summer Sea; Under Water to Get Out of the Rain; and Smoking Ears and Screaming Teeth.