Mad science? – The Scientist News Story
Judging by his CV alone, neuroscientist Robert White (1926-2010) appears to have been an accomplished physician/scientist. He performed over 10,000 brain surgeries in his lifetime, authored more than 900 publications, and developed brain cooling techniques that revolutionized modern brain surgery. White even received the Humanitarian Award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in 1997.
But he is not usually remembered for these achievements. Instead, his name conjures up images of the bizarre animal experiments he performed: In the 1970s, he transplanted an entire monkey head onto another monkey’s body. And, for a short time, the severed head lived.
Mad science has always fascinated the public, but that isn’t why Jim Fields, video producer and journalist for Time Magazine, decided to make the documentary, A: Head, B: Body, about White. “I’m intrigued more by him than anything he particularly did or the sensationalism,” says Fields. “He had to live in the shadow of something he had no idea at the time was going to be mythic.”
Image of Dr. White from A:Head B:Body, used with permission of Jim Fields.