Nurses react as community members applaud them on April 30, 2020 at NYU Langone Hospital in New York City.

Will Society Remember the Pandemic’s Heroes?

If history is any guide, probably not.
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.
La Malaria by Auguste Hebert

Cracking the Malaria Mystery—from Marshes to Mosquirix

It took science centuries to understand malaria. Now we’re waiting to see how the 2019 vaccine pilot works.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Leonardo_da_Vinci_-_Saint_John_the_Baptist_C2RMF_retouched.jpg

Where Do Finger Names Come From?

Our names for our fingers show a surprising depth of cultural variation—and similarity.
The Premature Burial by Antoine Wiertz

The Fear of Being Buried Alive (and How to Prevent It)

Pliny the Elder remarked: “Such is the condition of humanity, and so uncertain is men’s judgment, that they cannot determine even death itself.”
Stale bread

The Ancient Art of Brewing with Stale Bread

Brewers are once again making beer from things that typically end up in one’s household trash, a 7,000-year-old custom.
A 19th-century advertisement for Hood's Tooth Powder

How the Ban on Medical Advertising Hurt Women Doctors

Intended to protect consumers from unscrupulous quackery, a nineteenth-century ban on medical advertising proved to be a double-edged sword.
Illustration of a man lying on a couch

Workplace Burnout is Nothing New

Doctors were talking about the dangers of chronic stress, exhaustion, and anxiety back in 1909, predicting dire consequences if the symptoms were ignored.
Scottish quack doctor James Graham

The Prince of Quacks (and How He Captivated London)

James Graham, founder of the Temple of Health, benefitted from his undeniable flair for showmanship and his talent for leaping on trends.
A physician administers leeches to a patient. Colour reproduction of a lithograph by F-S. Delpech after L. Boilly, 1827.

Why Did the Victorians Harbor Warm Feelings for Leeches?

Medical authorities wrote about leeches as if they sucked blood out of the goodness of their hearts.