This book gives an almost forgotten history concerning civilian university scientists, who carried out research on defense against poison gases in some unusual places during World War II. Most of these were graduate students, working under the direction of professors at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of California (Berkeley). The first job on these projects was to make major improvements on gas masks. Later, most activities were done outdoors to assess the effects of terrain and meteorological conditions on the travel and dissipation of toxic gas clouds. Action took place in California, Florida, and the jungles of Panama.On these two parallel projects, one young participant was a big, healthy, athletic extrovert, who was deeply trained in the physical sciences, and by age twenty-nine (in 1943) was world famous in physics and in biology. Another was opposite in many ways: a skinny sickly loner, who was minimally schooled in science and mathematics. From the ten principal people working on these two projects, one was killed by accident while experimenting with a poison gas in the laboratory; another was proud of how he had defeated the draft system in an unusual way.