Category Archives: History of science

The Great Sausage Duel of 1865

(Tip o’ the hat to Blake Stacey for first pointing this story out to me!) The history of science is filled with macabre tales of self-experimentation, amoral experimentation on others, horrific accidents, and even mysterious and sinister disappearances. Perhaps the … Continue reading

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Posted in ... the Hell?, History of science | 7 Comments

Jane Marcet educates Michael Faraday

This post is in honor of Ada Lovelace Day, a celebration of the contributions of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Even when women weren’t officially recognized as scientists or allowed to pursue a formal education or career in science, … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Women in science | 3 Comments

Paris: City of lights and cosmic rays

This post of mine originally appeared on the Scientific American guest blog some time ago.  Considering it has been three years, and it’s always been one of my favorite pieces of writing, I thought it was time to “bring it … Continue reading

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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

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 | 8 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