Filtering Science from the Scientist

A strange but understanable history of some disregarded research, in The Guardian:

In 1943 two researchers, Schairer and Schöniger, published their own case-control study in the journal Zeitschuft für Krebsforschung, demonstrating a relationship between smoking and lung cancer almost a decade before any researchers elsewhere. It wasn’t mentioned in the classic Doll and Bradford Hill paper of 1950, and if you check in the Science Citation Index, the paper was referred to only four times in the 1960s, once in the 1970s, and then not again until 1988. In fact, it was forgotten.

It’s not hard to understand why: Nazi scientific and medical research was so bound up in the horrors of cold-blooded mass murder, and the strange puritanical ideologies of nazism, that it was almost universally disregarded, and with good reason. Doctors had been active participants in the Nazi project, and joined Hitler’s National Socialist party in greater numbers than any other profession (45% were party members, compared with 20% of teachers).