History of Science

The remnant's of Kepler's supernova imaged with modern instruments.

How a 1604 Supernova Presented a Challenge to Astronomers

The supernova provided proof to Galileo, Kepler and others that the heavens were not fixed–although they were wrong about what caused the bright star

Guillaume Rondelet was an early anatomist who founded his own dissecting theater, which was a thing people did in the sixteenth century.

A Sixteenth-Century Hot Date Might Include a Trip to the Dissecting Theater

Anatomy theaters were an early site for science as spectacle

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a more modern form of IVF.

In Vitro Fertilization Was Once As Controversial As Gene Editing is Today

The scientists who pioneered it were regarded as pariahs, even within their own universities

Unlike Samuel Morse's one-key telegraph, Baudot's used five keys.

The Roots of Computer Code Lie in Telegraph Code

Émile Baudot, born a year after the first long-distance telegraph message was sent, helped advance the technology

You can see the resemblance in his eyes.

This Nineteenth-Century Genealogist Argued Norse God Odin Was George Washington’s Great-Great-Great... Grandfather

Albert Welles's ideas about whiteness were a reflection of his time, and would be continued into the future

To the naked eye, the Albireo star system looks like a single, brilliant star. In reality, this binary system consists of two stars, similar to the ones witnessed by Korean astronomers nearly 600 years ago.

The Secret Lives of Cannibal Stars Revealed, Thanks to 15th Century Korean Astronomers

For the first time ever, astrophysicists observe the entire life cycle of a binary star system

Paul Ehrlich was the first to take a chemical approach to immunity.

The First Syphilis Cure Was the First 'Magic Bullet'

The term 'magic bullet' once just meant a targeted drug

One of the best-known paintings of the doomed Franklin expedition. Full title: "They forged the last link with their lives: HMS ‘Erebus’ and ‘Terror’, 1849–1850."

A Dentist Weighs in On What Really Doomed the Franklin Expedition

Addison’s disease may have blackened the explorers' gums and hastened their demise, proposes a history-obsessed dentistry professor

A Russian scientific institute unveiled a statue in 2013 to an unsung hero of science - the lab mouse

This Russian Monument Honors the Humble Lab Mouse

A peculiar Russian monument praises the scientific achievements of a tiny mammal

The inaugural issue of Gernsback's Amazing Stories magazine. Young readers—in several cases the sci-fi writers of the future—could expect an exciting blend of adventure and technology in every fresh installment.

Fifty Years Later, Remembering Sci-Fi Pioneer Hugo Gernsback

Looking Back on a Man Who Was Always Looking Forward

Pierre de Fermat left behind a truly tantalizing hint of a proof when he died—one that mathematicians struggled to complete for centuries.

The Romance of Fermat's Last Theorem

Fermat left a lot of theorems lying around. Mathematicians proved them all–except one

Napoleon Bonaparte was born on this day in 1769 in Corsica. As a young man at school, one instructor said that he "has always been distinguished for his application in mathematics."

Napoleon's Lifelong Interest in Science

Napoleon was a Frenchman of his time, which means he was interested in how science could do good–he just took it farther than most

JFK aboard the PT-109 in the South Pacific in 1943

Why JFK Kept a Coconut Shell in the Oval Office

During this week in 1943, a 26-year-old Kennedy and his crew were marooned on a deserted island and then rescued thanks to two daring men

NASA's Earth-orbiting satellite Hinode observes the 2011 annular solar eclipse from space.

How Eclipse Anxiety Helped Lay the Foundation For Modern Astronomy

The same unease you feel when the moon blots out the sun fueled ancient astronomers to seek patterns in the skies

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