Two men wearing and advocating the use of flu masks in Paris during the Spanish flu epidemic, 1919

What’s the Difference between Pandemic, Epidemic, and Outbreak?

The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. What exactly does that mean?
A cup of coffee with a red circle and a line struck through it

When Coffee Cargo Was Quarantined

In the 1800s, sick passengers weren’t blamed for disease epidemics—their baggage and cargo was.

P.S., Mushrooms Are Extremely Beautiful

American mycologist Violetta White Delafield painted over 600 stunning watercolors of mushrooms as part of her fieldwork. Here they are in all their glory.
A researcher works in a lab that is developing testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus in New Jersey

With the Coronavirus, Science Confronts Geopolitics

The containment of COVID-19 raises pressing questions related to the freedom of scientific information, civil liberties, and human rights, one scholar explains.
Pneumonia coronavirus

Are Viruses Alive? Define Life.

Scientists have different ideas about whether viruses are living beings. But they have solid advice on how to destroy them: wash up.
Many cassiopea xamachana, upside down jellyfish

Upside-Down Jellyfish and the Mucus of Death

You could get stung by a jellyfish even when there don't seem to be any around. Meet Cassiopea xamachana and its "stinging water" weirdness.
A hedgehog in a porcelain cup

Biomimicry Comes for the Noble Hedgehog

Inventors often use animals' adaptations to the environment in applications that benefit humans, from sharky swimsuits to hedgehog-inspired helmets.
The cover page of Rebecca Lee Crumpler's book

The “Doctress” Was In: Rebecca Lee Crumpler

The first Black woman physician served communities in the South after the Civil War but was buried in an anonymous grave. That will likely change.

Plant of the Month: Turmeric

The plant’s golden color has inspired a long—and potentially deadly—fascination.