A Fix for the Unfixable: Making the First Heart-Lung Machine
Seventy years ago, a group of Philadelphia scientists and a brave 18-year-old pushed surgery to its final frontier.Read
‘Distillations’ articles reveal science’s powerful impact on our lives, past and present.
The Problem of Piltdown Man
Seduced by a racist idea, archaeologists hyped an outrageous hoax.
Losing the Genetic Lottery
How did a field meant to reclaim genetics from Nazi abuses wind up a haven for race science?
Percy Julian and the False Promise of Exceptionalism
Reflecting on the trailblazing chemist’s fight for dignity and the myths we tell about our scientific heroes.
The Rotten Science Behind the MSG Scare
How one doctor’s letter and a string of dodgy studies spurred a public health panic.
The Murky Ethics of Wastewater Surveillance
By monitoring sewage, scientists can track disease outbreaks in near real time. But will the technology leave long-term privacy risks in its wake?
Fighting through the Fear
Lessons from the Polio Pioneers in an era of misinformation.
Diagnosing the Dead
Can scrutinizing the ailments of historical figures really teach us anything?
Georg Bredig: Scientist, Humanist, and Holocaust Survivor
Restoring the legacy of a physical chemistry pioneer.
Does Louis Pasteur Still Matter?
Or will the scientist’s 200th birthday be his last hurrah?
Magnesium, from the Sea to the Stars
Dow’s gamble on magnesium helped push the boundaries of human exploration and launched an ocean of consumer products.
American Fevers, American Plagues
How yellow fever outbreaks in the early United States anticipated much of what we lament about the COVID-19 era.
The Tragedy of the World’s First Seed Bank
Soviet geneticist Nikolai Vavilov led an ideologically perilous campaign to rid the world of famine.
Confronting America’s Food Emergencies
Can a White House conference muster the political will needed to address the nation’s food insecurity and obesity crises? A summit from 1969 offers clues.
William Dampier, Revered and Reviled
The pirate-turned-naturalist-turned-pirate-again inspired generations of British writers and scientists.
Mouse Heaven or Mouse Hell?
Biologist John Calhoun’s rodent experiments gripped a society consumed by fears of overpopulation.
Greenbacks, Chits, and Scrip
Alternative currencies flourish in desperate times and situations.
Speaking to the Future
Nuclear waste remains dangerous for millennia, so how do we keep people in the distant future away from it?
The Simple Usefulness of the Secchi Disk
A centuries-old sailor’s hack enters the ecologist’s toolkit.