Karate chop

The Physics of Karate

A human hand has the power to split wooden planks and demolish concrete blocks. A trio of physicists investigated why this feat doesn't shatter our bones.
An illustration of digital viruses

Do Viruses Cheat to Win at Evolution?

How one pair of researchers used game theory to predict the sneaky, underhanded behavior of microbial competitors.
An artist concept of a NASA astronaut on Mars

Why Hasn’t NASA Sent Anyone to Mars?

The Perseverance mission to Mars represents a considerable step forward for the space program. But are rovers as good as it gets?
Annie Montague Alexander

Annie M. Alexander: Paleontologist and Silent Benefactor

An unsung patron of science whose deep pockets and passion for exploring led to the founding of two influential natural history museums.
An image of the uterus and womb, 1908

The “Scientific” Antifeminists of Victorian England

Nineteenth-century biologists employed some outrageous arguments in order to keep women confined to the home.
A collection of rare beer cans

An Archeologist’s Guide to Beer Cans

Here's how to figure out how long it's been since someone left their empties around, only to be dug up later.
a caricature of three women whose depicted clothing satirizes the beginnings of neo-classical fashion influences in England.

Why Are So Many Romances Set in the Regency Period?

The British Regency era lasted less than a decade, but it spawned a staggering number of unlikely fictional marriages.
Vintage engraving of an old fisherman drinking a cup of tea, 1900

What’s the Difference between a Shanty and a Sea Song?

“Soon May the Wellerman Come” is the heart of ShantyTok—but it’s not a sea shanty at all. Two authoritative essays roil the waters.
An illustration of a man sneezing

You Don’t Get Colds from Being Cold

On the persistence of a folk belief.
Actress Dorothy Tutin having an anti-flu injection, 1969

How Scientists Tried to Find a Universal Flu Vaccine

The quest to “conquer” influenza with a shot that could be used every year started out with high hopes, and ended up a hot mess.