Science Cafe: The D-Day Scientists Who Turned People Into Fish

  • Thursday, July 18, 2024
  • 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Black and white historic photograph of Navy frogmen in wetsuits and breathing apparatuses walking on a shoreline during World War 2Frogmen of the LCOCU leave the water after completing their task. Image: IWM (A 28997)

Join us in person or watch the livestream on YouTube. 

Tonight’s Topic

Human beings have always longed to explore the ocean, but there have been some obvious obstacles. During WWII, however, those obstacles became the barrier to an Allied landing on the mainland to face down Hitler where he was rampaging. One group of scientists conducted a series of extreme experiments on themselves to figure out the answers. Not only were most of them gravely injured in the process, but what they learned enabled the success of the landings of D-Day.

Tonight’s Guest

Dr. Rachel Lance is a biomedical engineer specializing in how the human body breaks when we expose ourselves to extreme environments, like when breathing underwater or in the face of an explosion. She started her career as a civilian engineer with the US Navy, and until recently, she investigated these questions at the Duke University Center for Hyperbaric Medicine. She now mixes her time between science and writing so that she can keep telling hidden stories about how science changed the world. She lives in Durham, NC and loves dogs, baking, and unnecessarily complex home improvement projects.

Rachel’s latest book, “Chamber Divers,” will be available for purchase and signing by the author.

Chamber Divers book cover and Rachel Lance headshotAuthor photo by Carolyn Scott Photography

Grab a bite from the Daily Planet Cafe and join host Chris Smith and special guests for our monthly Science Cafe. On the third Thursday of every month at 7pm, gather with other curious minds at this after-hours event for an informal presentation and conversation about current science topics with guest experts. The Daily Planet Cafe is open 5–8pm with a full menu during the Science Cafe.



July 18
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Daily Planet Cafe

Downtown Raleigh
11 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601 United States
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Chris Smith