Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks to reporters following a meeting of the coronavirus task force at the White House on April 6, 2020

Anthony S. Fauci on Pandemic Preparedness

Before he led the effort to contain COVID-19, the nation's top infectious disease expert published several papers about pandemic preparedness. Here are two.
Pneumonia coronavirus

Are Viruses Alive? Define Life.

Scientists have different ideas about whether viruses are living beings. But they have solid advice on how to destroy them: wash up.
Quaker tobacco farmers in Barbados

The Invention of the “Healthy” Caribbean

Europeans used to believe that "bad air" caused diseases, so they distrusted the Caribbean's air quality and land features like swamps.
A smart toilet

Smart Toilets: The Jetpack of the Bathroom

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are envisioning a toilet that can analyze urine for indicators of disease.
Portrait of Kenelm Digby by Anthony Van Dyck

Treating Wounds With Magic

Spoiler alert: It doesn't work.
A Shocking Announcement by Vittorio Reggianini

Why Do People Faint?

Fainting—or, more technically, syncope—has a variety of causes.
A woman looking out a train window into the sunset with vitamin d pills approaching

How Does the Body Make Vitamin D from Sunlight?

A Curious Reader asks: How exactly does exposure to sunlight cause the the human body to synthesize Vitamin D3?
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.
An illustration of John Harvey Kellogg and an early corn flakes advertisement

The Strange Story Behind Your Breakfast Cereal

Kellogg's Corn Flakes were originally created by a doctor who believed bland food would reduce people's urge to masturbate.
A tree with branches blown sideways by wind

When Europeans Feared the Wind

In early modern Europe, various sorts of winds were associated with illness and even death.