As the legendary science fiction author Arthur C Clarke once suggested, JBS Haldane was perhaps the most brilliant science popularizer of his generation. #LostTales
JBS Haldane ranks among the greatest scientists of the 20th century, particularly for his invaluable contribution to our understanding of genetics. More fascinatingly, however, this remarkable polymath left his home country of the United Kingdom in 1957 and moved to India permanently. He took up residence and Indian citizenship with his wife Helen Spurway, a gifted biologist in her own right.
Never before in the 20th century had a scientist of his standing chosen to take his scientific research to India from the Westnot to mention becoming a citizen.
This cool water-saving device easily fits on to your tap to save water that would have otherwise gone waste! It can easily be retrofitted on to most standard taps, with no compromise on your wash experience.
Born on 5 November 1892, in Oxford, England, JBS grew up in privilege with his father John Scotee Haldane, an Oxford University physiologist. JBS was a child prodigy, learning how to read and acquiring a certain degree of familiarity with scientific terminology by the tender age of three. The influence of John Scott loomed large on his son with the duo acting as their own guinea pigs in various experiments, including ascertaining the physiological effects of poison gases.
But the turning point for JBS came when his father took him to a lecture by A D Darbishire, a British zoologist and geneticist, about legendary scientist Gregor Mendels laws of inheritance, dominance and segregation. The lecture facilitated his fascination with genetics.
JBS studied at Eton, an elite boys school, and subsequently at Oxford University, where he pursued the Classics and Mathematics, graduating with honours in 1914. However, his academic pursuits were brought to a halt by World War I. Commissioned to the British Army, he served in France and Iraq, where he was wounded.
Following the War, he came back to Oxford to pursue his research in genetics.
His most important genetical contributions were a series of mathematical papers on the effect of natural selection, which were summarized in his book, The Causes of Evolution. This work became the foundation for population genetics along with the works of R.A. Fisher and Sewall Wright. Haldane [also] introduced the important idea that immunity to infectious diseases played an important part in human evolutionHe emphasized the importance of ethical considerations in evaluating eugenic programs and the impact of in vitro fertilization, writes Krishna R Dronamraju, a colleague of JBS, for the Indian Journal of Human Genetics.
In many ways, JBS played a critical role in laying the foundation of classical human genetics.
He derived the law of steady-state kinetics in enzyme chemistry, besides ascertaining the physiological effects of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide by testing them out on his own body, a method he learnt from his father.
After a four-year stint as a Professor of Genetics at the University College in London, he spent the next twenty as the Professor of Biometry. As a professed socialist and humanist, JBS was also deeply engaged in popularising the science to the masses beyond the laboratory.
As the legendary author Arthur C Clarke once suggested, JBS Haldane was perhaps the most brilliant science popularizer of his generation.
However, towards the fag end of his time in England, he grew increasingly disenchanted by British politics and society. The breaking point was his governments role in the Suez Crisis of 1956, which he saw as violations of international law, while admiring the Indian Independence Movement. Moreover, the warmer climate of India and Prime Minister Nehrus experiments with socialism also offered JBS and wife Helen with the necessary rationale for shifting base.
It was the legendary statistician P C Mahalanobis, who offered JBS a teaching position in the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. At this time, he also began immersing himself in Indian philosophy and logic systems, applying indigenous knowledge systems to scientific research.
He continued his work in the study of genetics in India, ranging from studies about inbreeding in Andhra Pradesh, and colour blindness in Andhra and Odisha, apart from other such studies.
Never before in modern times had a Western scientist of Haldanes calibre chosen to move to India not to speak of becoming a citizen. He was critical of Indian science and scientists but saw hopes in young people. During his stay here, he did much for research in animal and human genetics and in support of science education, writes Dr Veena Rao, a faculty member at the National Institute of Advanced Sciences. Science, he believed, must help common citizens understand what goes on inside the research laboratories, for some of which he pays, writes Dr Veena Rao, Adjunct Faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, for The Hindu.
He also criticised the bureaucratic roadblocks that stifled true research in India. There was even a dust-up between him and the management at the ISI, which led to his resignation and the eventual shift to Bhubaneswar, Odisha, on the invitation of Biju Patnaik.
Haldane was appointed [the] head of an entirely independent research establishment, where he worked with his young colleagues from Calcutta, including S D Jayakar, with whom he published papers on population genetics that are as enduring as the best of Haldanes early work, says this Down to Earth profile.
Whats particularly remarkable about his life is how quickly people forgot him. More than anything else, however, he passed on to his students and peers a passion for the sciences.
Also Read:This is Your Prize, Sir. How a Pak Nobel Laureate Paid Tribute to His Indian Guru
Just before passing away on 1 December 1964 of rectal carcinoma, he issued strict instructions that he wanted to dedicate his body to scientific researchthe mark of a true scientist.
Our only hope of understanding the universe is to look at it from as many different points of view as possibleNow, my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose, he wrote.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
Listen to our new podcast
- A New York Times column on 'Jewish genius' draws criticism for linking to a debunked University of Utah study - Salt Lake Tribune - January 5th, 2020
- Ambroxol Reverses Bone Damage in Girl With GD Type 1, Case Study Shows - Gaucher Disease News - January 5th, 2020
- Gene editing breakthroughs that cured genetic diseases in 2019 - The Star Online - January 5th, 2020
- Digid8 and the Emergence of DNA Matchmaking - Study Breaks - January 5th, 2020
- Etched in DNA: Decoding the secrets of the past - Christian Science Monitor - January 5th, 2020
- The Face of Science - Clemson World magazine - January 5th, 2020
- Aborting Babies Because They're Gay: Coming Soon to China - Patheos - January 5th, 2020
- Mutants among us: "Natural short sleepers" reveal the genetics of sleep - Inverse - January 5th, 2020
- The End of Infertility Is in Sight - UCSF News Services - January 5th, 2020
- Who is a Jew? DNA home testing adds new wrinkle to age-old debate - The Jewish News of Northern California - December 1st, 2019
- Humans and autoimmune diseases continue to evolve together - Medical News Today - December 1st, 2019
- Mutations in emerging autism gene tied to distinct traits - Spectrum - December 1st, 2019
- Gail Fisher's 'Dog Tracks': Spoiling you dog with extra food could cut short its life - The Union Leader - December 1st, 2019
- In a Wisconsin village, the doctor makes house calls and sees the rarest diseases on Earth - USA TODAY - December 1st, 2019
- Alzheimer's and Autism: Researchers Pinpoint Genetic Mutations Overlapping in Both Diseases - Being Patient - December 1st, 2019
- How do consumer DNA tests from the US and China stack up? - Abacus - December 1st, 2019
- Is Nature vs. Nurture an Outdated Concept? - The National Interest Online - December 1st, 2019
- Collection of genetic data leads to privacy concerns - The New Economy - December 1st, 2019
- Is sexual orientation genetic? Yes and no, an extensive study finds - Haaretz - November 19th, 2019
- Sexual orientation cannot be changed at will, lawyers argue - The Straits Times - November 19th, 2019
- Adam and Eve Are Possible: A Second Bite at the Genetic Apple - Christianheadlines.com - November 19th, 2019
- InterVenn Biosciences Announces Positive Interim Clinical Trial Results and Appoints Biotech Veteran Klaus Lindpaintner, M.D. as Chief Scientific and... - November 19th, 2019
- How maternal Zika infection results in newborn microcephaly - Baylor College of Medicine News - November 19th, 2019
- Dicerna scores broad, 'rest of liver' deal with Novo Nordisk, bagging $225M in cash to hit some 30 targets with RNAi platform - Endpoints News - November 19th, 2019
- Sexual orientation cannot be wilfully changed, say lawyers fighting to repeal Section 377A - The Straits Times - November 19th, 2019
- The American Heart Association's Annual Conference Comes to Philly This Weekend - Philadelphia magazine - November 19th, 2019
- Clear link between genetics and depressive symptoms uncovered - The Age - November 19th, 2019
- At-Home DNA Tests Still Need the 'Human Touch,' Say Panelists at Genomics Roundtable Workshop - National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and... - November 19th, 2019
- How in utero Zika virus infection can lead to microcephaly in newborns: Baylor research - Outbreak News Today - November 19th, 2019
- Taller People have Increased Risk of Irregular Heartbeat - News18 - November 19th, 2019
- In Down syndrome mouse model, scientists reverse intellectual deficits with drugs - University of California - November 19th, 2019
- Alector Reports Recent Business Highlights and Third Quarter 2019 Financial Results - GlobeNewswire - November 19th, 2019
- Section 377A constitutional challenge: Expert evidence reveal sexual orientation cannot be changed at will, lawyers argue - The Online Citizen - November 19th, 2019
- Co-creator of CRISPR lectures about future applications of genome editing technology - Daily Bruin - November 19th, 2019
- Connecting gene mutations, rare genetic diseases - Baylor College of Medicine News - October 28th, 2019
- Utah researchers discover link between certain brain cells and anxiety, OCD - KSL.com - October 28th, 2019
- UH Receives $2M to Study Cancer Risks of Environmental Toxins - Big Island Now - October 28th, 2019
- Genetic testing could keep you healthy. But what about personal info? - Deseret News - October 28th, 2019
- Student group works to foster diversity in the sciences - UChicago News - October 28th, 2019
- Takeaways from ASHG 2019 in Houston: Users of Bionano's Saphyr System Presented Validation Results for FSHD, Repeat Expansion Disorders and Digital... - October 28th, 2019
- DNA research holds the keys to human history but it's being weaponized by politicians - Haaretz - October 28th, 2019
- Scientists have created the first-ever 18-carbon ring, a major feat of molecular architecture - Massive Science - October 28th, 2019
- Law, Privacy and Genome Human Rights Failure in Russia - Putin's Fascination with Hitler's Eugenics Project - Communal News - October 28th, 2019
- Neural activity plays an important role in longevity - CMU The Tartan Online - October 28th, 2019
- Book Summary: Genetics and the Aryan Debate by Shrikant Talageri- I - IndiaFacts - October 28th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More - May 25th, 2019
- Ripple Price Forecast: XRP vs SWIFT, SEC Updates, and More - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: XRP Validators, Malta, and Practical Tokens - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETF Rejection, AMD Microchip Sales, and Hedge Funds - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: What You Need to Know This Week - May 25th, 2019
- Bitcoin Rise: Is the Recent Bitcoin Price Surge a Sign of Things to Come or Another Misdirection? - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Vitalik Buterin Doesn’t Care About Bitcoin ETFs - May 25th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: New Exchanges Could Boost Crypto Liquidity - May 25th, 2019
- Human genetics - Wikipedia - May 5th, 2019
- Human Genetics - medschool.ucla.edu - May 5th, 2019
- Department of Human Genetics | The University of Chicago - May 5th, 2019
- Human genetics | biology | Britannica.com - May 2nd, 2019
- What is Bitcoin Cash? - finance.yahoo.com - April 29th, 2019
- Bitcoin Soars As Ethereum, Ripple's XRP, Bitcoin Cash, And ... - April 29th, 2019
- Bitcoin Cash - finance.yahoo.com - April 29th, 2019
- What is Bitcoin Cash? - Coin Rivet - April 29th, 2019
- Bitcoin Cash - Wikipedia - April 29th, 2019
- Ripple Price Forecast: XRP vs SWIFT, SEC Updates, and More - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: XRP Validators, Malta, and Practical Tokens - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: New Exchanges Could Boost Crypto Liquidity - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETF Rejection, AMD Microchip Sales, and Hedge Funds - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: What You Need to Know This Week - April 21st, 2019
- Bitcoin Rise: Is the Recent Bitcoin Price Surge a Sign of Things to Come or Another Misdirection? - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Vitalik Buterin Doesn’t Care About Bitcoin ETFs - April 21st, 2019
- Scientists Say New Quantum Material Could “‘Download’ Your Brain” - April 12th, 2019
- Scientists Find a New Way to Kickstart Stable Fusion Reactions - April 12th, 2019
- The Israeli Moon Lander Is About to Touch Down - April 12th, 2019
- Some People Are Exceptionally Good at Predicting the Future - April 12th, 2019
- MIT Prof: If We Live in a Simulation, Are We Players or NPCs? - April 12th, 2019
- Here’s How Big the M87 Black Hole Is Compared to the Earth - April 12th, 2019