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John Paul Stapp

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November 22, 1999 | ERIC MALNIC, TIMES STAFF WRITER
John Paul Stapp--heralded as "the fastest man on earth" after his daring, high-speed ride on an experimental rocket sled in 1954--has died in New Mexico after decades of research to improve transportation safety. He was 89. Stapp, a medical doctor and retired Air Force colonel who died Nov. 13 in Alamogordo, spent much of his life preaching that even when people are subjected to extreme forces, like those in high-speed traffic accidents, better safety equipment can prevent lethal injuries.
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NEWS
November 22, 1999 | ERIC MALNIC, TIMES STAFF WRITER
John Paul Stapp--heralded as "the fastest man on earth" after his daring, high-speed ride on an experimental rocket sled in 1954--has died in New Mexico after decades of research to improve transportation safety. He was 89. Stapp, a medical doctor and retired Air Force colonel who died Nov. 13 in Alamogordo, spent much of his life preaching that even when people are subjected to extreme forces, like those in high-speed traffic accidents, better safety equipment can prevent lethal injuries.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 29, 1999
Thank you for publishing such a complete career summary of Col. John Paul Stapp (obituary, Nov. 22) and for including a reference to "Murphy's Law," correctly attributing it to my father, Edward A. Murphy Jr. (1918-1989). However, it was not Murphy who "rigged a harness incorrectly." It was a technician on his test team, who will forever go politely nameless. The sensor harness mistake was the classic of being absolutely wrong. Sensors intended to switch "on" the instant the rocket sled test started were incorrectly connected to switch "off."
HEALTH
June 18, 2001 | ROSIE MESTEL
Last week, among other things, we reported that our fingernails grow at the rate of about 3 mm a month. How, we wondered, did people ever arrive at that number? Dr. Philip Fleckman, a nail expert at the University of Washington in Seattle, told us that through the decades, various scientists have sought estimates by studying groups of people--hundreds of Japanese adults and kids in one study; 49 British Navy men in another.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 3, 2003 | Rosie Mestel, Times Staff Writer
Some achievements stir the spirit, save lives or lay bare deep, scientific truths. Other people achieve greatness in a different way -- such as the mathematician who revealed why toast falls butter side down, the man who created an "infidelity detection spray" to be applied to a spouse's underwear, and the inventors of a childbirth table that is rotated at high speed so that centrifugal forces can aid in the birthing process.
NEWS
November 11, 1986 | LEE DYE, Times Science Writer
A third of a century after he was hailed as "the world's bravest man," John Paul Stapp still feels the pain from his historic experiments, but he knows his task is not yet finished. The old scientist, who laid his own body on the laboratory test bed over and over again, walks slowly now and, at 76, he knows every bone in his body because he personally put some of them back together.
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