A Red Cross nurse wearing a face mask, c. 1918

Teaching Pandemics Syllabus

Readings on the history of quarantine, contagious disease, viruses, infections, and epidemics offer important context for the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
William Cheselden giving an anatomical demonstration to six spectators in the anatomy-theatre of the Barber-Surgeons' Company, London, c. 1730

The Study of Human Anatomy and the Corpses of Vienna

For cultural and geographical reasons, the city was a great place to find bodies to dissect. But there was also the matter of one well-connected doctor.
A 100 dollar banknote with medical mask.

The True Costs of Managing Pandemics

The fear of the next global virus isn't just media indulging in catastrophizing; it's a collective concern for global economic and political health.
Alice Ball

The Chemist Whose Work Was Stolen from Her

The Black scientist Alice Ball helped develop a treatment for leprosy in the early twentieth century. But someone else took the credit.
A stamp printed by Poland, showing Ibn Sina

The Vast Influence of Ibn Sina, Pioneer of Medicine

In the 11th century CE, science was rapidly advancing in the Islamic world. The scholar Ibn Sina (Avicenna) synthesized its medical wisdom.
1971 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Ambulance

When Ambulances Were Hearses

The federal government pushed the improvement of emergency services from several directions in the 60s and 70s.
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.
Molecular model of Penicillin by Dorothy Hodgkin, c.1945

We’re Living in a Post-Antibiotic World

A new CDC report warns: “Stop referring to a coming post-antibiotic era—it’s already here.” Contrast that to a 1944 article on the promise of penicillin.
Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen looking into an X-ray screen placed in front of a man's body and seeing the ribs and the bones of the arm.

The X-ray Craze of 1896

For many science-obsessed Victorians, X-rays were not just a fun novelty, but a potential miracle cure.
William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza

What Did the Winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine Discover?

The 2019 Nobel Prize for Medicine honors a discovery that may make it possible to prevent or even reverse the damage from cardiovascular disease.