An alchemist in his laboratory. Oil painting by a follower of David Teniers the younger.

When Did Alchemy End?

Despite royal prohibition, transmutation efforts continued underground long after the widely accepted dates for their demise.

A Natural History of Dragons

Dragons began life as snakes, but natural historians gradually began describing them in more fantastical ways.
Source: http://beeld.teylersmuseum.nl/Digital_Library/Emags/149b_439-2/pubData/source/images/zoompages/zoompage86.jpg

Plant of the Month: Sunflower

With the invasion of Ukraine, it seemed like sunflowers suddenly appeared on the political landscape. Yet they’ve long held symbolic and economic value in Europe.
Factory chimneys pumping out pollution in the Ruhr, Germany, 1970

A Precautionary Tale

West Germany’s “do no harm” approach to environmental protection—which became known as the precautionary principle—was revolutionary in its time.
An old car radio

The Boomin’ Systems: The Evolution of Car Audio

Sound systems, as much as the automobiles themselves, symbolized upward mobility, social affiliation, and cultural identities.
A poster advertising polio research

Before Long COVID Came Post-Polio Syndrome

While the rise of long COVID and its many symptoms may be surprising and difficult to diagnose, post-viral diseases are nothing new.
An illustration of a whale watch boat and a whale

Who Is Watching the Whale-watchers?

Whale-watching cruises can negatively affect the behavior of cetaceans, depending on species, environment, and population.
An illustration of Rafflesia arnoldii, 1821

Plant of the Month: Corpse Lily

The largest flower on the planet—a gigantic, pungent parasite—reveals deep genetic mysteries and unique conservation challenges.
From Remarks on the new comet. In a letter from William Herschel to Charles Blagden

Caroline Herschel Claims Her Comet

Couching her petition in a mix of modesty and expertise, Herschel became the first woman to have a scientific paper read to the Royal Society of London.
Protestors raise their fists as they take to the streets during a mass demonstration against New York State abortion laws, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, 28th March 1970

Medical Mutual Aid Before Roe v. Wade

In 1968, a group of Boston University students published a handbook about abortion and birth control for their peers. Over half a million copies were distributed.