Coronavirus

A Science Reader for COVID-19

Covering concepts from spillover to virus mutation, this collection of free-to-access readings provides scientific context around the COVID-19 pandemic.
Design for an Urn, 19th century

How Cremation Lost Its Stigma

The pro-cremation movement of the nineteenth century battled religious tradition, not to mention the specter of mass graves during epidemics.
Francesca Vidotto

Francesca Vidotto: The Quantum Properties of Space-Time

Theoretical physicist Francesca Vidotto on feminist epistemology, white holes, string theory, and her book (with Carlo Rovelli) on loop quantum gravity.

What Is Chronobiology?

Does it explain why we’re having so much trouble sleeping?
An illustration of the coronavirus in front of a strand of DNA

Can We Protect Against Coronavirus by Rewriting Our Genomes?

Genome recoding could offer new modes of virus resistance, but the technology raises serious ethical concerns.

How to See the Invisible Universe

Telescopes that detect long-wavelength signals offer clues about the Big Bang, the centers of black holes, and the origins of life.
Two men wearing and advocating the use of flu masks in Paris during the Spanish flu epidemic, 1919

What’s the Difference between Pandemic, Epidemic, and Outbreak?

The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. What exactly does that mean?
Brain organoid

Is It Ethical to Grow a Brain in a Petri Dish?

Brain organoids could be the key to understanding brain diseases, which is why we should think carefully about how far we are prepared to take them.
Source: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Richard Prum: How Does Beauty Evolve?

Prum speaks on Darwin’s idea of sexual selection, the importance of arbitrary traits, and why he could never choose a favorite species of bird.
Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. Flag on the Moon

Should the Moon Landing Site Be a National Historic Landmark?

Some archaeologists argue it’s essential to preserve the history of lunar exploration. But would it represent a claim of U.S. sovereignty over the moon?