Mad science?

A documentary about the research of neuroscientist Robert White goes beyond his macabre head-transplant experiments to highlight his contributions to science

Hannah Waters
Feb 24, 2011
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.
Image of Dr. White from A:Head B:Body, Jim Fields's documentary about Dr. Robert White.
Image used with permission of Jim Fields
Mad science has always fascinated the public, but that isn't why linkurl:Jim Fields,;http://www.jimfields.tv/ video producer and journalist for Time Magazine, decided to make the linkurl:documentary,;http://vimeo.com/20230127 A: Head, B: Body,...
Great ExpectationsthereSpringtime for Hitler
Screenshot from A:Head B:Body. Text: "His colleagues admire his genius; his enemies hate him because he experiments on monkeys and dogs."
Image used with permission of Jim Fields
A: Head B:BodyCorrection 2/25: The original version of this article mistakenly indicated that the Hastings Center was a part of Yale University. The mistake has been corrected, and regrets the error.




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