Portrait of Alexander von Humboldt by Friedrich Georg Weitsch

Who Was Alexander von Humboldt?

Remembering the work of the great naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, on the 250th anniversary of his birth.
koala

Are Koalas Really Going Extinct?

A report from the Australian Koala Foundation declaring koalas "functionally extinct" has caused a confusing scare. What does it mean?
Brain organoid

Is It Ethical to Grow a Brain in a Petri Dish?

Brain organoids could be the key to understanding brain diseases, which is why we should think carefully about how far we are prepared to take them.
Two people gathering seeds

Can Crops’ Wild Relatives Save Troubled Agriculture?

Cultivating a limited number of crops reduced the genetic diversity of plants, endangering harvests. Seed collectors hope to fix it by finding the plants’ wild cousins.
Molecular model of Penicillin by Dorothy Hodgkin, c.1945

We’re Living in a Post-Antibiotic World

A new CDC report warns: “Stop referring to a coming post-antibiotic era—it’s already here.” Contrast that to a 1944 article on the promise of penicillin.
Several lab mice in a container

An Epidemic of Retractions

Nicolas Chevassus-au-Louis's new book, Fraud in the Lab, offers some tough love for the scientific community.
A smart toilet

Smart Toilets: The Jetpack of the Bathroom

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are envisioning a toilet that can analyze urine for indicators of disease.
White matter fibres

Can Zapping Your Brain Really Make You Smarter?

Early scientific results on transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) show promise, but are they enough to support a multi-billion-dollar industry?
Tofurkey

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dates Back to the 1900s

Tofu turkey was created in 1990, but some Americans celebrated Thanksgiving with veggie dishes over a century ago.
Diagram representing the divergence of species

An Early Review of On the Origin of Species

"Darwin openly and almost scornfully repudiates the whole doctrine of Final Causes. He finds no indication of design or purpose anywhere..."