A pressing of a plant in a book
La Botaniste, 1810–1865
Elaborate annotations hidden in a copy of Sir James Edward Smith’s The English Flora hinted at the life of a mysterious woman botanist.
ABOVE: ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY LINDLEY COLLECTIONS
La Botaniste, 1810–1865
La Botaniste, 1810–1865

Elaborate annotations hidden in a copy of Sir James Edward Smith’s The English Flora hinted at the life of a mysterious woman botanist.

Elaborate annotations hidden in a copy of Sir James Edward Smith’s The English Flora hinted at the life of a mysterious woman botanist.

ABOVE: ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY LINDLEY COLLECTIONS

history of science

Collage of images including sperm, bacteria, coral, and an illustration of a researcher
Our Favorite Cell and Molecular Biology Stories of 2021
Jef Akst | Dec 2, 2021
Beyond The Scientist’s coverage of COVID-19’s molecular underpinnings were many other stories highlighting the advances made in scientists’ understanding of the biology of cells.
Photograph of a waterfall
Falling Water, Rising Rocks, 1834
Catherine Offord | Oct 1, 2021
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.
Human blood in a plastic Intravenous drip bag, the tube running out of the image. Square crop. Horizontal with copy space.
Opinion: What the History of Blood Transfusion Reveals About Risk
Paul A. Offit | Sep 1, 2021
Every medical intervention—even one with a centuries-long history—brings dangers, some of which become clear only later.
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
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
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
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
Ruth Ella Moore had a trailblazing career, overcoming barriers of racism and sexism as she pursued her interest in microbiology.
Can Single Cells Learn?
Catherine Offord | May 1, 2021
A controversial idea from the mid-20th century is attracting renewed attention from researchers developing theories for how cognition arises with or without a brain.
Stamping Out Science, 1948
Catherine Offord | May 1, 2021
Trofim Lysenko’s attacks on geneticists had long-term effects on Russian science and scientists, despite a lack of evidence to support his beliefs about biological inheritance.
Infographic: Investigating Whether Single Cells Learn
Catherine Offord | May 1, 2021
Historical and modern experiments have hinted that unicelluar organisms can learn from their experiences, but the idea still has its critics.
Bile and Potatoes, 1921
Jef Akst | Apr 1, 2021
One hundred years after its invention, BCG has stood the test of time as a vaccine against tuberculosis.
Identity Crisis, 1906
Catherine Offord | Mar 1, 2021
A famous account of multiple personality disorder in the early 20th century foreshadowed a century of controversial diagnoses and debate among psychiatrists.
Viral Discoveries, 1929
Max Kozlov | Feb 1, 2021
The “mother of plant virology and serology,” Helen Purdy Beale, developed techniques to understand the nature of viruses that went unappreciated for decades.
Introducing Inoculation, 1721
Max Kozlov | Jan 1, 2021
As a deadly smallpox outbreak ravaged Boston, one of the city’s leaders advocated for a preventive measure he’d learned about from Onesimus, an enslaved man.
Discovery Against All Odds
The Scientist Staff | Dec 1, 2020
Watch Nobel Laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini tell the story of how she continued her transformative cell biology research as World War II raged.
Action at a Distance, Circa Early 1950s
Diana Kwon | Dec 1, 2020
Neuroscientist Rita Levi-Montalcini began her Nobel Prize–winning work in a makeshift laboratory in Italy during the Second World War.
Octopod Sailors, 300 BC–present
Jef Akst | Nov 1, 2020
Lore has always surrounded argonauts, pelagic octopuses that build shells and travel the seas.
Scientist as Subject
Amanda Heidt | Oct 1, 2020
In the past, it was not uncommon for researcher to test their experimental therapeutics and vaccines on themselves. Some even volunteered to be exposed to pathogen-carrying vectors.
Coronavirus Closeup, 1964
Ashley Yeager | Sep 1, 2020
Electron microscopy revealed that a deadly disease of birds was not a form of flu, but a different type of virus entirely.