Science: Red Research

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A thousand U.S. scientists in Manhattan last week saw dead animals brought back to life. It was the first public U.S. showing of a film picturing an experiment by Soviet biologists. They drained the blood from a dog. Fifteen minutes after its heart had stopped beating, they pumped the blood back into its lifeless body with a machine called an autojector, serving as artificial heart and lungs. Soon the dog stirred, began to breathe; its heart began to beat. In twelve hours it was on its feet, wagging its tail, barking, fully recovered.

This picture was shown to a Congress of American-Soviet Friendship. The film explained the work of a group of Russian scientists under Dr. Serge Bryukhonenko at the U.S.S.R. Institute of Experimental Physiology and Therapy at Moscow. The scientific audience thought this work might move many supposed biological impossibilities into the realm of the possible.

The autojector, a relatively simple machine, has a vessel (the "lung") in which blood is supplied with oxygen, a pump that circulates the oxygenated blood through the arteries, another pump that takes blood from the veins back to the "lung" for more oxygen. Two other dogs on whom the experiment was performed in 1939 are still alive and healthy. The autojector can also keep a dog's heart beating outside its body, has kept a decapitated dog's head alive for hours—the head cocked its ears at a noise and licked its chops when citric acid was smeared on them. But the machine is incapable of reviving a whole dog more than about 15 minutes after its blood is drained—body cells then begin to disintegrate.

Laboratory Faith. Eminent U.S. scientists who have visited Russia gave last week's Congress a well-documented report on Soviet scientific progress.

In Russia schoolchildren are constantly confronted with posters proclaiming that science will solve the world's ills. Popular science magazines are widely read. Red science is a vast, centrally directed enterprise, with the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences at the top and hundreds of institutes working on assigned problems. No scientific frontier is neglected. Red scientists are well paid, get special vacation privileges, are rewarded with prizes up to 200,000 rubles for outstanding work, rank with writers in prestige.

Practical Works. Among the great recent works of Soviet science are the explorations of some 1,200 geologists. Yale's Geologist Carl O. Dunbar reported that they have uncovered vast stores of metals, minerals and oil, keeping the Soviet war machine well supplied despite the temporary loss of resources to the Nazi invader. Since 1939 they have tripled known coal reserves.

In chemistry the Russians have pioneered in the preparation and use of blood plasma, in synthetic rubber, photochemistry, explosives, helium, winter lubricants for tanks and planes. Dr. Wendell M. Stanley, famed virus investigator of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, told of a new Russian antiserum that has given the best results yet in preventing influenza. Soviet scientists have found ways to extract iodine cheaply from the foul waters of oilfields, sugar from watermelons, vitamin C from pine-tree needles for hungry Leningrad. Important contributions have been made to molecular physics, optics, electronics.

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