He was more distinguished as a man of science than as a politician or administrator. His classical work, La Pression barometrique (1878), embodies researches that gained him the biennial prize of 20,000 francs from the Academy of Sciences in 1875, and is a comprehensive investigation on the physiological effects of air-pressure, both above and below the normal.(1) Central nervous system oxygen toxicity was first described in this publication and is sometimes referred to as the “Paul Bert effect”.(1, 2) He showed that oxygen was toxic to insects, arachnids, myriapods, molluscs, earthworms, fungi, germinating seeds, birds, and other animals.
1. Bert, Paul (1943) [First published in French in 1878]. Barometric pressure: Researches in Experimental Physiology. Columbus, OH: College Book Company. Translated by: Hitchcock, Mary Alice; Hitchcock, Fred A.
2. Acott, Chris (1999). “Oxygen toxicity: A brief history of oxygen in diving“. South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society Journal 29 (3): 150–5. ISSN 0813-1988. OCLC 16986801.