from the cover of Radio-Electronics, June 1949, Volume 20, Number 9

Can Radio Really Educate?

In the 1920s, radio was an exciting new mass medium. It was known for providing entertainment, but educators wondered if it could also be used for education.
An advertisement for Eagle Pencil Co's fine arts lead pencils, c. 1870-1900

Why You’ll Never Get Lead Poisoning from a Pencil

Some of the greatest moments in international pencil history involve discoveries of a different mineral.
Construction method from the Severn Barrage from the English coast to the Welsh coast

Tidal Power: A Forgotten Renewable Resource?

For well over a century, engineers have proposed harnessing the ocean's tides for energy. But the idea hasn't seemed to register in many places.
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.
Fuchsia

Plant of the Month: Fuchsia

Too popular for its own good? The career of a flower so powerfully beautiful, fashion would inevitably declare it over.
Karate chop

The Physics of Karate

A human hand has the power to split wooden planks and demolish concrete blocks. A trio of physicists investigated why this feat doesn't shatter our bones.
An artist concept of a NASA astronaut on Mars

Why Hasn’t NASA Sent Anyone to Mars?

The Perseverance mission to Mars represents a considerable step forward for the space program. But are rovers as good as it gets?
bottom half of a venus flytrap

Plant of the Month: Venus Flytrap

The carnivorous plant, native to the Carolinas, has beguiled botanists and members of the public alike since the eighteenth century.
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.