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Diagram of the causes of mortality in the army in the east.
Diagrammatic War, 1858
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.
Diagrammatic War, 1858
Diagrammatic War, 1858

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.

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.

science history
A vial labeled “RSV vaccine” on a reflective surface next to a syringe.
After Decades of Delays, RSV Vaccines Show Promise in Early Data 
Dan Robitzski | Nov 1, 2022 | 3 min read
Both Pfizer and GSK have shared preliminary data suggesting that their experimental vaccines can protect older adults and newborn infants from the virus.
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 | 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.
Surgery tools from World War 1
An excerpt from The Facemaker
Lindsey Fitzharris | Jun 13, 2022 | 5 min read
This new book tells the fascinating story of plastic surgery’s unlikely origin on WWI battlefields.
A black and white photo of a woman holding up a spider in a pair of tweezers
The Spider Lady, Circa 1939
Natalia Mesa | Jun 1, 2022 | 4 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 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 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.
Opinion: The Politics of Science and Racism
Sadye Paez and Erich D. Jarvis | Aug 18, 2020 | 7 min read
Race has been used to segment humanity and, by extension, establish and enforce a hierarchy in science. Individual and institutional commitments to racial justice in the sciences must involve political activity.
The Child Hatchery, 1896
Catherine Offord | Mar 1, 2018 | 3 min read
The incubator exhibitions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries publicized the care of premature babies.
Bathtub Bloodbath, 1793
Shawna Williams | Oct 1, 2017 | 2 min read
French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat took on many roles over the course of his life, including physician and scientist.
Discovery of the Malaria Parasite, 1880
Shawna Williams | Sep 1, 2017 | 2 min read
Most didn’t believe French doctor Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran when he said he’d spotted the causative agent of the disease—and that it was an animal.
First Micrographs of Myxobacteria Forming Fruiting Bodies
Tracy Vence | Aug 1, 2016 | 3 min read
By ditching traditional agar-based media, two biochemists captured iconic images of Myxococcus in 1982.
First Photo of Intact Giant Squid, 1874
Catherine Offord | Jul 1, 2016 | 3 min read
Moses Harvey’s photograph brought the mysterious creature out of legend and into science.
The Rabies Vaccine Backstory
Catherine Offord | Jun 1, 2016 | 3 min read
Louis Pasteur’s trepidation at injecting a child with the first rabies vaccine might have reflected his private knowledge of its lack of prior animal testing.
Oprah to Star in Henrietta Lacks Movie
Tanya Lewis | May 3, 2016 | 1 min read
She will also be an executive producer on the HBO Films project, which is based on a 2010 book about the life of Henrietta Lacks.
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