Books et al.History of Science

The daring doctor

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Science  28 Aug 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6251, pp. 934
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac8111

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On 10 December 1954, Col. John Stapp shot across the grounds of Holloman Air Force Base on a rocket sled, reaching 639 miles per hour and coming to a complete halt in less than 1.37 seconds. This was not a publicity stunt. Stapp, a biophysicist and medical doctor, was conducting an experiment in the emerging scientific field of biomechanics. In Sonic Wind, author Craig Ryan brings Stapp's death-defying feats to life. Reviewer Lee Vinsel praises the book's smooth prose and Ryan's efforts to humanize Stapp, but questions his portrayal of Stapp as a lone genius.