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Faster & fairer - science & sport at King's College London

Application of research

Immersion experimentImmersion experimentExperiments since the 1970s as part of the successful MSc programme in Human and Applied Physiology at King's have also recorded the changes that take place in the human body during a variety of stressful situations that mimic those on the sports field.

Atmospheric diving suitAtmospheric diving suitNot least of these was a series of studies carried out in 1995 to investigate the debilitating effects of prolonged weightlessness on astronauts, and test the impact of returning to earth on the human heart .

The highlight was an experiment in which the test volunteers were suspended upside down on a tilting table for up to six hours.

Other experiments examined the physical challenges faced by servicemen, including naval divers, which took place at the Institute of Naval Medicine in Hampshire during the 1980s.

Diving, 1981Diving, 1981These included immersion tests in which subjects were suspended in cold-water tanks while attached to recording equipment, in order to understand the physiological effects of exposure to cold.

These were later also applied to studies investigating the vulnerability of the elderly to hypothermia. Atmospheric tests also examined the impact of variable air pressure on divers.

Survival equipment such as life jackets and nuclear, biological and chemical warfare protection suits were assessed for their robustness.

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