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Jess Romeo

Jess Romeo is a science writer with a passion for literature and a tendency to fall down rabbit holes. Her work has appeared in Popular Science, Undark, and Scholastic classroom magazines.

William Dampier

William Dampier, Pirate Scientist

An oft-overlooked explorer who traversed the globe, driven by his thirst for scientific discovery—and a love of piracy.
Exploring Biology by Ella Thea Smith

The Hidden History of Biology Textbooks 

American biology textbooks supposedly became less scientific after the Scopes trial. One scholar argues that this isn't the whole story.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-1984-0216-004,_VEB_Elektronik_Gera,_Ingenieure.jpg

How Computer Science Became a Boys’ Club

Women were the first computer programmers. How, then, did programming become the domain of bearded nerds and manly individualists?
Three young women in swimsuits, ca. 1920

Policing the Bodies of Women Athletes Is Nothing New

For women who play sports, there's often no way to win.
Portrait of astronaut in space suit and helmet

Space Medicine for the Inexperienced Astronaut

The promise of commercial spaceflight raises questions about how untrained travelers will endure the extreme hostility of space.
An illustration of a woman experiencing information overload

ADHD: The History of a Diagnosis

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has been a controversial diagnosis since it was first described, back in the 1940s.
The Western Fence Lizard

There’s Something About Lizard Blood

The blood of western fence lizards has the ability to neutralize Lyme disease in ticks—so why aren’t scientists bottling it to sell at the grocery store?
A crystal ball with an oil field inside of it

The Mediums Who Helped Kick-Start the Oil Industry

Apparently some people communed with spirits to locate the first underground oil reserves.
The Jewel Casket by John William Godward

Recipe for an Ancient Roman Glow Up

Start by saying yes to antioxidant-rich barley pap, and avoid wine tainted with newts.
Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu

Chien-Shiung Wu, the First Lady of Physics 

Chien-Shiung Wu disproved a fundamental law of physics—a stunning achievement that helped earn her male colleagues (but not her) a Nobel Prize.
Nurses withdraw blood for testing from a volunteer taking part in the AIDSVAX B/E vaccine trial July 18, 2002 at the Boon Mee Clinic in Bangkok, Thailand.

RV144: The Largest HIV Vaccine Trial in History

One of the biggest advances in AIDS vaccine research was a controversial, landmark treatment that tested a new vaccine on 16,000 Thai volunteers.
A beached whale painting

The Tragicomedy of Johanna the Super Whale

How a beached cetacean triggered one whale of a controversy.
An illustration of the Whole Earth Catalog over a 90s computer graphic

The Whole Earth Catalog, Where Counterculture Met Cyberculture

Long before Facebook or Twitter, an L.L. Bean-style catalog for hippies inspired the creation of one of the world’s first social networks.
Depressed teen girl in black clothes playing guitar sitting on bed in her room.

Why Do We Listen to Sad Music?

Scientists investigate the emotional and physical effects of sad music, in an ongoing quest to explain the "paradox of pleasurable sadness."
Disintegrating Head Of David On Pink Background

What’s the Deal with Crypto Art?

Thirty years after the invention of blockchain, an artist sold a JPG using that technology for nearly $70 million. Huh?
Illustration from the cover of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower

How Octavia E. Butler Became a Legend

The early inspiration and experiences that shaped the visionary science fiction storyteller.
Matilda Joslyn Gage

Erasing Women from Science? There’s a Name for That

Countless women scientists have have been shunted to the footnotes, with credit for their work going to male colleagues. This is called the Matilda Effect.
Test tubes

The Invention of the Test Tube

Chemists learned to blow their own glass vessels in the nineteenth century. It definitely beat using wine glasses.
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.