In 1860 John Scott Haldane was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Haldane family belonged to the notables of the city. John Scott Haldane studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated in 1884.
After a short appointment at the Queens College in Dundee, he moved to Oxford. He specialized in the physiology of respiration and discovered that carbon dioxide concentration in the blood formed the main control mechanism for respiration, instead of the oxygen concentration. Haldane studied the impact of altitude and depth on the breathing and gas concentrations in the blood. By means of his theory of compartments he formulated decompression tables which made it possible to safely recover the gold of the sunken Lusitania between 1917 and 1924.
He also made an important contribution to the theory regarding the maximum ascend speed of compressed air divers. In addition Haldane had significantly increased the safety for miners by demonstrating the toxic effects of carbon monoxide and introducing the use of different safety tools.
He was the founder of the Journal of Hygiene, in which his first decompression tables were published in 1908.
Furthermore he published Organism and Environment (1917), Respiration (1922) and also The Philosophy of a Biologist (1936). In 1936 he moved to Persia to study the effects of sunstroke on oil laborers. However when he returned to cold Oxford he suffered from pneumonia.
The same year he died from the effects of it.