Science: Watch Your Head!

What kills the passengers when an airplane crashes? to the nonscientific layman, that question might seem on a par with "What causes death to the fly when a flyswatter mashes it?'' But the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory was interested in the scientific, not the commonsensible answer. If there is no fire, the Cornell investigators decided, the leading cause of death is cracked skulls. So the laboratory, backed by the Navy, set out to learn how a human skull cracks, and how to prevent it. Last week the experimenters described some of their findings.


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