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A black-and-white photo of a person’s hands holding a black-and-white barred chicken. The feathers of its breast have been pulled back to reveal a large tumor.
Transmissible Tumors, 1909
Pathologist Peyton Rous made a groundbreaking discovery in the early 20th century, but his work wasn’t widely recognized until more than 40 years later. 
Transmissible Tumors, 1909
Transmissible Tumors, 1909

Pathologist Peyton Rous made a groundbreaking discovery in the early 20th century, but his work wasn’t widely recognized until more than 40 years later. 

Pathologist Peyton Rous made a groundbreaking discovery in the early 20th century, but his work wasn’t widely recognized until more than 40 years later. 

Foundations
Diagram of the causes of mortality in the army in the east.
Diagrammatic War, 1858
Andy Carstens | Dec 1, 2022 | 3 min read
Pioneering nurse Florence Nightingale had an eye for creating memorable graphics that helped convince the general population that including sanitation reforms as part of public health policy would save British soldiers’ lives.
In the 1920s, the Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin was a haven for queer people, many of whom came to the institute seeking to express their identities without fear of being imprisoned. This undated photo depicts a costume party at the institute; its founder, Magnus Hirschfeld (second from right, in glasses), can be seen holding hands with his partner, Karl Giese (center).
Trans Medicine, 1919
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Nov 1, 2022 | 3 min read
German physician and sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld founded a revolutionary clinic where transgender people could receive gender-affirming care, but he left behind a complicated medical and scientific legacy.
A black and white photo of a woman in a plumed hat in a laboratory classroom with several men
Birth of The Pill, 1956–1960
Andy Carstens | Oct 3, 2022 | 2 min read
Researchers overseeing the clinical trial for the first FDA-approved oral contraceptive claimed the drug gave the Puerto Rican participants power over their family planning. Critics claimed the women were exploited.
A postcard from the early 1900s depicting an Indigenous midden in Damariscotta, Maine.
Sticks and Bones, Circa 8000 BCE
Dan Robitzski | Sep 1, 2022 | 3 min read
Ancient stashes of animal bones, tools, and other artifacts are often dismissed as archaic garbage heaps, but the deposits provide glimpses of the cultural practices and environmental conditions of past Indigenous settlements.
Photo of Makio Murayama
Handmade Hemoglobin, 1912-2012
Dan Robitzski | Aug 1, 2022 | 3 min read
Makio Murayama, a Japanese-American biochemist who was turned away from the Manhattan Project due to his heritage, rose to prominence for his work uncovering the link between the structure of hemoglobin and the mechanisms of sickle cell disease.
Person in a black, beaked robe (left) and man in a black tunic (right), flanking a red coat of arms
Masking Up, 1619 to Present
Devin A. Reese, PhD | Jul 5, 2022 | 3 min read
Putting on a mask to protect oneself and others against disease is nothing new, nor is resistance to mask-wearing, but mask designs have changed considerably from their first iterations.
A black and white photo of a woman holding up a spider in a pair of tweezers
The Spider Lady, Circa 1939
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Jun 1, 2022 | 3 min read
Nan Songer, a spider expert living in California, played an integral part in the Allies’ success in World War II by supplying silk for bombsights.
Photo of John Calhoun crouches within his rodent utopia-turned-dystopia
Universe 25, 1968–1973
Annie Melchor | May 2, 2022 | 3 min read
A series of rodent experiments showed that even with abundant food and water, personal space is essential to prevent societal collapse.
A black and white photo of a man standing at a lab bench, holding up a glass jar
Reimagining Ecology, 1939
Lisa Winter | Apr 4, 2022 | 3 min read
Edward Ricketts built his laboratory just onshore from the swirling tidepools of Monterey Bay, California, an ideal backdrop against which he developed a new system for studying the ecology of any given habitat.
A photo of soybean pods
The Right Chemistry, 1935
Catherine Offord | Mar 1, 2022 | 3 min read
Percy Lavon Julian, a young, Black scientist working in Jim Crow America, gained international recognition after beating chemists at the University of Oxford in the race to synthesize the alkaloid physostigmine, used for decades as a treatment for glaucoma.
A lithograph of a woman sitting up in bed while a nurse attends to her.
Death by Nostalgia, 1688
Lisa Winter | Feb 1, 2022 | 3 min read
Before its association with a pining for the toys or TV shows of yesteryear, nostalgia was deemed a dangerous psychiatric disorder.
Formed of various flowers, this personification cartoon of a female botanist, painted by George Spratt, was pasted into Allen’s copy of The English Flora.
La Botaniste, 1810–1865
Sukanya Charuchandra | Jan 4, 2022 | 2 min read
Elaborate annotations hidden in a copy of Sir James Edward Smith’s The English Flora hinted at the life of a mysterious woman botanist.
In one of the only known photos of Abraham Lincoln taken on the day of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln can be seen seated, hatless, just below and to the right of the flag. Lincoln began developing symptoms of smallpox on the train home to Washington, DC.
Presidential Pox, 1863
Annie Melchor | Dec 1, 2021 | 3 min read
Researchers continue to debate whether US President Abraham Lincoln was coming down with smallpox as he delivered his famous Gettysburg Address, and if he had been immunized.
Photograph of drought land due to climate change
An Earthy-Smelling Substance, 1964
Lisa Winter | Nov 1, 2021 | 3 min read
How the pungent odor that occurs after a light rain became a well-studied phenomenon
Photograph of a waterfall
Falling Water, Rising Rocks, 1834
Catherine Offord | Oct 1, 2021 | 2 min read
Intrigued by an optical illusion he experienced while traveling in Scotland, Robert Addams wrote what is now considered one of the definitive observational accounts of so-called motion aftereffects.
A black and white photo of two sets of flowers in test tubes, one of which is wilting
Posies, Poison, and Periods, Early 1920s
Annie Melchor | Sep 1, 2021 | 3 min read
Centuries of folklore backed by scientists in the early 1900s have perpetuated the idea that menstruating women can exert dangerous forces.
Birth of Midwifery, Circa 100 CE
Lisa Winter | Aug 1, 2021 | 3 min read
Soranus of Ephesus’s manual shaped the way midwifery was practiced for more than a millennium.
two black-and-white microscope images, one with a few black dots, the other with many rod-shaped bacteria
Identifying a Killer, 1895
Catherine Offord | Jul 1, 2021 | 4 min read
A contaminated ham put bacteriologist Émile Pierre-Marie van Ermengem on the path to discovering the microbe that produces botulinum toxin.
a large campus building, Frederick Douglass Memorial Hall at Howard University
Leader of the Pack, 1903–1994
Lisa Winter | Jun 1, 2021 | 3 min read
Ruth Ella Moore had a trailblazing career, overcoming barriers of racism and sexism as she pursued her interest in microbiology.
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