J B S Haldane

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All features, stories and articles authored by: J B S Haldane

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The Snake with the Golden Teeth

The Snake with the Golden Teeth

There was once a man called Paolo Maria Encarnacao Esplendido. He lived at Manaos in Brazil. He was a very rich man. He owned two gold mines and a silver mine. You might think one got more money from a gold mine than a silver mine because gold is worth more than silver. But, as a matter of face, more money goes down gold mines than comes out of them, because people are always digging mines for gold in places where there isn’t enough to make it worth their while....

A Day in the Life of a Magician

Excerpts from ‘A Day in the Life of a Magician’. First published by Vigyan Prasar, India Years ago I gave up hanging up a stocking on Christmas Eve. One reason is that I have no stockings to hang, because I almost always wear trousers, and even when I wear shorts I wear socks with them so as to make my calves brown. And I don’t think Father Christmas would find room in a sock for all the things I want....

Excerpts from 'Everything has a History'

Haldane’s books are the best for communicating science to a layperson. He wrote almost 300 brilliant articles on popular science for ordinary workers, many of which were later collated into books such as ‘Everything has a History’, ‘Science in Everyday Life’ and ‘On Being the Right Size’. Here are two chapters from ‘Everything has a History’. How Bees Communicate: Eight years ago, I gave an account in ‘The Daily Worker’ of the early work of Von Frisch and others on the language of bees....

My Magic Collar Stud

My Magic Collar Stud

I suppose you think there aren’t any more fairies nowadays, or witches or wizards or goblins. Well, of course they don’t go about dressed up like the ones in picture books. You don’t see little fairies with butterfly wings perching on the chimneys at Hendon, or old ladies in pointed hats riding down Oxford Street on broomsticks and waiting for the green lights to go on. But they’re doing other things. The good magicians are still doing magic things like radio and chemistry....



Excerpts from ‘Rats’. First published by Vigyan Prasar, India Now at this time there was a great plague of rats in the London Docks. They were specially fierce rats, whose ancestors had come on steamers from Hong Kong along with tea and ginger and silk and rice. These rats ate all sorts of food which are brought to London in ships because we cannot grow enough food in England to feed all the people here. They are wheat from Canada and cheese from Holland, and mutton from New Zealand and beef from Argentina....

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