Haldane, John Scott

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Haldane, John Scott,

1860–1936, British scientist, b. Edinburgh; father of John Burdon Sanderson HaldaneHaldane, John Burdon Sanderson
, 1892–1964, British geneticist, biologist, and popularizer of science; son of John Scott Haldane. As one of the most influential scientists of the 20th cent, he studied relationships among different disciplines and problems, including the
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. He made many important contributions to mine safety, investigating principally the action of gases, the use of rescue equipment, and the incidence of pulmonary disease. He devised a decompression apparatus for the safe ascent of deep-sea divers, and in 1905 he discovered that regulation of breathing is determined by the effect of the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood on the respiratory center of the brain. He studied barometric pressure on an expedition to Pikes Peak, Colo., in 1911. He founded the Journal of Hygiene, and his published works include Organism and Environment (1917), New Physiology (1919), Respiration (1922), and The Philosophy of a Biologist (1936).

Haldane, John Scott


Born May 3, 1860, in Edinburgh; died Mar. 14, 1936, in Oxford. British physiologist. Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1897). Father of J. B. S. Haldane.

Haldane graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1884. From 1887 to the end of his life he conducted research and taught at Oxford University. He also headed physiological laboratories in Doncaster (from 1912) and Birmingham (from 1921).

Haldane’s principal works dealt with respiration. He showed the relationship between carbon dioxide and the regulation of respiration and developed several analytic methods and devices for studying human respiration, for example, the Haldane-Priest-ley method of obtaining alveolar air, the Douglas-Haldane gas-exchange study, and the Haldane gas analysis apparatus. Haldane solved several problems of great practical significance. He was the first to work out a scientifically substantiated method of decompression for divers; he established the mechanism of the toxicity of carbon monoxide; and he developed measures for physiological safety in high-altitude flight and in mining. Haldane publicly opposed mechanistic tendencies in physiology.

Haldane’s work has not lost significance. The 100th anniversary of the scientist’s birth was widely celebrated by the scientific community.


Organism and Environment as Illustrated by the Physiology of Breathing. New Haven-London-Oxford, 1917.
The Sciences and Philosophy. London, 1929.
In Russian translation:
Dykhanie. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937. (With J. G. Priestley.)


Nature, 1936, vol. 137, no. 3466, p. 566.
The Regulation of Human Respiration. Edited by D. Cunningham and B. Lloyd. Oxford, 1963.
“J. S. Haldane (1860–1936), Respiration Physiologist.” JAMA, 1967, vol. 201, no. 6.


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