This is worth reading just to find out who JBS Haldane was and what he did.
With all the contributions JBS Haldane made to physiology, biochemistry and genetics described in this book, I don’t understand why he is not better known. While I had heard his name, I certainly knew nothing about him. His work and life were so wide-ranging that they are difficult to describe. He was an excellent classical scholar and very good mathematician who challenged authority throughout his life. In college, he changed his course of study to what was called “Greats”, or arts, from science, in which he had excelled. He then worked and taught for the rest of his life in science without a degree in science. One of the things for which he is best known is the popular articles he wrote explaining science. He was very active in the Communist party for a while. He believed that animals should not be used for experiments when humans could be used instead, and he used himself in many experiments that sound both dangerous and damaging. These included subjection to varying combinations of cold, pressure, carbon dioxide and oxygen, usually until unconsciousness was reached. In later life, he moved to India and became a vegetarian, while establishing and working at scientific institutions there.
The book is a little hard to read because the author uses British terminology, quite a few references to British institutions, and mentions even small historical events of the time without always explaining them. Beadle is one example of British terminology, and I have only the vaguest idea what a beadle is. This would be a good book to read on an electronic device where you could look up words as you read, but it is probably not available on any of those. Also frequent references to the letters from which he got the material and the author’s constant descriptions of Haldane’s obstinate character prevent the narrative from flowing as well as it might.