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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.

Astronaut Sidney M. Gutierrez, mission commander, pauses on the flight deck during Earth observations on the Space Shuttle Endeavour, 1994

Sidney M. Gutierrez: Shooting for the Stars

The first U.S.-born Latino astronaut to pilot a space mission blazed the long road to NASA with determination and optimism.
The Book of Miracles, c. 1550

The Long History of Comet Phobia

Even the invention of the telescope couldn't convince all people to put aside superstitions about comets.
Pensive man looking out of window

Your Brain on Quarantine

Struggling to stay inside during quarantine? Feeling bored? Anxious? Researchers say you're not alone.
Great White Shark

Sharks Before and After Jaws

The blockbuster Jaws (1975) provoked fear by portraying sharks as "mindless eating machines." But what did people think of sharks before then?
A swarm of locusts by Emil Schmidt

How the Soviet Union Turned a Plague into Propaganda

The fight against locust swarms allowed the Soviet Union to consolidate power over neighboring regions.
Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull

The Erotic Appeal of Alexander Hamilton

The handsome Founding Father has always had a robust fandom—even before the ten-dollar bill, or a certain musical.
A man wearing a surgical mask and gloves threading his needle with suture before an operation.

The Surgeons Who Said No to Gloves

In the late 1800s, doctors in German-speaking countries were having trouble agreeing on one simple thing: whether to wear gloves during surgery.
Marie Lafarge, c. 1850

The Arsenic Cake of Madame Lafarge

The first trial to use forensic toxicology electrified France in 1840 with the tale of a bad marriage and poisoned innards.
The ship María Pita departing from Coruña in 1803, engraved by Francisco Pérez

How Children Took the Smallpox Vaccine around the World

In 1803, nearly two dozen orphan boys endured long voyages and physical discomfort to transport the smallpox vaccine to Spain's colonies.
Nikolai Vavilov in prison

The Weed Scientist Who Brought Down the Wrath of Stalin

Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov's hypothesis on the evolution of rye is now accepted. But in the 1930s, his research got him arrested.