Caveman/Geologist/Chronobiologist

April 17th, 2011

In 1962, Michel Siffre had an idea:

In 1962, you were just twenty-three years old. What made you decide to live underground in complete isolation for sixty-three days?

You have to understand, I was a geologist by training. In 1961, we discovered an underground glacier in the Alps, about seventy kilometers from Nice. At first, my idea was to prepare a geological expedition, and to spend about fifteen days underground studying the glacier, but a couple of months later, I said to myself, "Well, fifteen days is not enough. I shall see nothing." So, I decided to stay two months. And then this idea came to me – this idea that became the idea of my life. I decided to live like an animal, without a watch, in the dark, without knowing the time.

Instead of studying caves, you ended up studying time.

Yes, I invented a simple scientific protocol. I put a team at the entrance of the cave. I decided I would call them when I woke up, when I ate, and just before I went to sleep. My team didn't have the right to call me, so that I wouldn't have any idea what time it was on the outside. Without knowing it, I had created the field of human chronobiology. […]

[Via longform.org]

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