The New India Museum, Whitehall-Yard. Illustration for The Illustrated London News, 3 August 1861.

Imperial Science and the Company’s Museum

The East India Company’s London museum stored the stuff of empire, feeding the growth of new collections-based disciplines and scientific societies.
Large crowds of people have gathered to watch a hot-air balloon

Hot Air Balloon Launch Riot!

In the early days of ballooning, launches were prone to failure. When failure looked imminent, the crowd’s mood would begin to turn.
Photograph: Amphibians of La Escalera Region, Southeastern Venezuela

Source: WIkimedia Commons

Why the History of Science Should Matter to Scientists

Two historians consider the field of taxonomy to ask what history can provide science at the bench level.
A Rosy-breasted Longclaw specimen

How Ornithologists Figured Out How to Preserve Birds

A very nineteenth-century-science problem: lots of decaying avian specimens.
An anti-vaccination pamphlet from 1911, a rally of the Anti-Vaccination League of Canada, 1919, and an Anti-Vaccination Society of America advertisement from 1902

Vaccine Hesitancy in the 1920s

As Progressive Era reforms increased the power of government, organized opposition to vaccination campaigns took on a new life.
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.
An image from the Milgram experiments

The Hidden Meaning of a Notorious Experiment

In Stanley Milgram's studies of obedience, people believed they were giving shocks to others. But did their compliance say much about the Nazis?
A hand holding coarse dry ice pellets

Dry Ice Will Help Keep COVID-19 Vaccines Cold

A brief history of dry ice, aka solid carbon dioxide, shows why some coronavirus vaccines will benefit from its use.
Yellow Jacobins

Our Long-Running Love Affair with Pigeons

Through crazes of pigeon-fancying, these birds have been reshaped into a dizzying variety of forms.
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.