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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.

Spider-Man

The Real Science of the Multiverse

Explaining some of the mind-bending science behind the popular science fiction trope.
Astronaut Loren J. Shriver, Mission Commander of STS-46, attempts to eat floating sweets on the flight deck of the shuttle Atlantis during its orbit of the earth, August 1992.

Food…in…Space!

A brief history of astronaut food, from nutrition cubes to space salads.
A still from Dune, 2021

The Ecological Prescience of Dune

Frank Herbert’s novel isn't just about space messiahs, giant sandworms, and trippy space drugs. At its core, the sci-fi epic is about ecology.

The Evolution of the Mad Scientist

The crazed caricature of genius was largely inspired by now-debunked late-Victorian ideas about how species change.
A protester at the Global Climate Strike, December 6, 2019

Coping with Climate Anxiety

A psychologist suggests ways of giving young people hope for the future of the planet—and themselves.
New York upper Eastside looking south flooded

New York City, Underwater

Climate change is transforming the Big Apple. How long will it be until America’s largest city is all but wiped off the map?
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.