Smoking Ears and Screaming Teeth - Trevor Norton (2010)

Recommended Reading

Lawrence Altman’s Who Goes First?, University of California Press, 1998 is the source on medical self-experimentation. It is detailed and based not only on the published literature but also on innumerable interviews with the researchers themselves.

Roy Porter’s The Greatest Benefit to Mankind, Fontana Press, 1999 is an excellent history of medicine that provides the background to many of the experiments.

The numerous articles from New Scientist that are listed in the bibliography cannot be bettered for interesting and readable accounts of the non-medical pioneers.

For experiments on people other than oneself, see S. Lederer’s Subjected to Science, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

The mentality of the self-experimenter has never been described with more clarity and wit than by J. B. S. Haldane in ‘On being one’s own rabbit’ in his delightful collection of essays Possible Worlds, reprinted by Transaction Publisher U.S. in 2001.


The author would like to thank all those responsible for giving permission to reproduce pictures and extracts from copyright material.

Altman, L. K., Who Goes First? reproduced by kind permission of the University of California Press

Austin, W., engraving entitled A night watchman disturbs a body-snatcher, Wellcome Library, London

Physicians of the Utmost Fame’ by Hilaire Belloc (© Hilaire Belloc) is reproduced by permission of PFD ( on behalf of The Estate of Hilaire Belloc.

Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: NATURE, Bishop of Birmingham, November 29th, 1930, ©1930

Engraving of the Gravitator, reprinted from The Lancet, vol.12 issue 302, Blundell, Observations on the transfusion of blood, p.321, © 1829, with permission from Elsevier

Buckland, F., engraving of him with a porpoise, from Curiosities of Natural History, Third series, Richard Bentley & Son, 1873.

Churchill, W.S., The Second World War, Vol. 2 Their Finest Hour, Cassell, 1949. Reproduced with permission of Curtis Brown Ltd, London on behalf of The Estate of Winston Churchill. Copyright © Winston S. Churchill

Editorial, ECT in Britain, The Lancet, 1981, 28th November, 1207–1208, reprinted with permission from Elsevier

Editorial, The Mosquito Hypothesis, Washington Post, November 2nd 1900, by permission of PARS International Corporation, New York

Thanks to Craig Ferreira, for permission to use his pithy phrase on the possibility of being ‘munched’ by sharks

George, A, Hard to swallow, New Scientist, Dec 9th 2006, with permission of New Scientist Syndication (RBI-UK)

Extracts from books of Professor Hans Hass with permission, © Hans Hass-Archive (HIST)

Leake, C., Technical triumphs and moral muddles, Annals of Internal Medicine, 67, suppl. 7, 1967, with permission, Medical Reprints

Mellanby, K., Human Guinea Pigs, Merlin Press, London, 1973 reproduced by permission of The Merlin Press

Diagram of balloon from A. Piccard, Au Fonde des Mers en Bathyscaphe, 1954, copyright B. Arthaud, Éditions Flammarion

Throckmorton, P., The Lost Ships, Jonathan Cape, 1976, by kind permission of Paula Throckmorton Zakaria and Lucy Throckmorton

Illustration of Arne Zetterstrom’s grave based on photograph by Dr John Bevan

While every effort has been made to secure permissions, I apologise for any apparent negligence on my part and undertake to make any necessary corrections in future editions.