Category Archives: History of science

The Giant’s Shoulders #72: The Seven Wonders

The 2nd century BCE marked an unusual milestone in the history of civilization.  As the Greeks had conquered most of the civilized world, its citizens were more or less free to travel widely through Europe and the Middle East, to see … Continue reading

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Posted in General science, History of science | 1 Comment

A Michael Faraday primer for COSMOS!

I’ve really been enjoying the new version of “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” though this Sunday’s coming episode has me more excited than any other!  Titled “The Electric Boy,” the episode will focus on Michael Faraday (1791-1867), one of the most … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Physics | 6 Comments

Death by ball lightning

Lightning has been a source of fear and mystery through the entire history of mankind.  Violent, unpredictable, and potentially deadly, it was often seen as an indication of divine judgment or displeasure.  Now we know it is a natural electrical … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Horror, Physics | 7 Comments

1895: Cats meddle in geophysics

Updated slightly to add even more cat goodness! The more I research, the more it becomes clear that cats caused all sorts of mischief in the scientific community in the late 1800s!  The source of this mischief is the feline … Continue reading

Posted in Animals, History of science, Physics | Leave a comment

The Case of the Telephone in His Hat (1894)

The history of science provides me with a practically never-ending set of delightful surprises!  Case in point is a set of articles I found while browsing through volume 17 of Current Literature, “A Magazine of Record and Review,” published in … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, History of science | 2 Comments

1842: Jean-Daniel Colladon guides light with water

Big technological advances often start with very humble beginnings.  If you’re reading this post on the internet right now, it is almost certain that the information has come to you at some point in the journey in the form of … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Optics, Physics demos | 4 Comments

Cat-turning: the 19th-century scientific cat-dropping craze!

One thing I’ve learn from studying the history of science is that scientists are human beings.  Often incredibly weird, weird human beings.  For example: in the mid-to-late-1800s, an exciting era in which the foundations of electromagnetic theory were set and … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, History of science, Physics | 10 Comments