Alice Ball

The Chemist Whose Work Was Stolen from Her

Alice Augusta Ball was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1894, the child of a middle-class family in which both parents and a grandfather were photographers. At the time, developing and...
J. Ernest Wilkins Jr.

The Black Mathematician Who Resisted Nuclear War

When J. Ernest Wilkins Jr. graduated from the University of Chicago in 1942 with a PhD in mathematics at the age of nineteen, he became one of the one half...
Termites

Margaret S. Collins, Pioneering Black Entomologist

Born in 1922, Margaret James Strickland Collins was the first African American woman entomologist in the United States, at a time when the country made higher education difficult, if not...
A puffin carrying tree branches in it's mouth

Puffins Seen Using Tools, Breaking Dumb-Puffin Stereotypes

If bird intelligence were like high school, corvids (crows, ravens, jays) would be the whiz kids. They make and use tools for multiple purposes: to get at food, to poke...
A cartoon of a T Rex holding a boom box

Take These Teenage Dinosaurs Seriously!

Q. How can tell you tell how old a dinosaur is? A. Count the rings… In 2005, two partial dinosaur skeletons were found at the Hell Creek Formation site, which...
A stamp printed by Poland, showing Ibn Sina

The Vast Influence of Ibn Sina, Pioneer of Medicine

One thousand years ago, medicine not only looked different from what it is now, it also varied geographically. While many of the scientific texts of the Greeks were lost to...
An illustration of a syringe and a microscope

The Measles Might Make Your Body “Forget” Its Own Immunity

In June 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that rinderpest—a deadly disease affecting cattle and other ungulates, related to measles—had been eradicated from the earth. A month later, The...
A composite image of a grey squirrel and a red squirrel

Can CRISPR Save Tufty Fluffytail?

When Beatrix Potter wrote The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, it was 1903, and the squirrels that populated her books were the English countryside’s native Eurasian red (Sciurus vulgaris), with tufted...
An octopus

Stuck in the Midden with You

To paraphrase an old adage, one species’ garbage is another’s bounty (of research material). Refuse sites called middens can be as simple as a single household’s outdoor pit, or an...
Mussels

When Cancer Spreads Between Species

If you’re a multicellular organism (and you are), you’re at some risk to get cancer (with very few exceptions). The disease is both simple (uncontrolled cell proliferation) and exceedingly complex...