The best biographies are autobiographies. Thus, Hugh Montgomery and Mike Grocott, Editors-in-Chief of Extreme Physiology & Medicine, have commissioned a series of career perspectives from research experts in the field. These short personal reviews are written by eminent academics discussing their life’s work and influences so far.
Jim Milledge’s interest in high altitude began as a child, hill walking in Snowdonia. Combining research with clinical medicine in his day job, his career was interspersed with expeditions to study the effects of altitude on various aspects of human physiology.
Among those that influenced him, Jim mentions John West, whom he met participating in the Silver Hut expedition in 1960. The expedition was named for the silver painted wooden building at 19,000 feet where the research programme was based.
John’s own interests span two extreme environments: high altitude and microgravity. His career took him to the peak of Everest to obtain physiological measurements, and to NASA to study effects of gravity on the lung.
Combined environmental stressor studies formed the basis of Mike Sawka’s research. He describes his fascination with the human body’s ability to adapt to extreme physical conditions.
In these brief memoirs, all three scientists report huge enjoyment of their research careers. They consider themselves fortunate, and wish similar good fortune on future field leaders.