Category Archives: History of science

1975: The year that quantum mechanics met gravity

Since the revolutionary development of both theories in the early twentieth century, it is fair to say that general relativity and quantum mechanics have had a rather hostile relationship to one another.  One reason for this is simple a matter of … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Physics | 5 Comments

A one-act play about a study in hiring practices in STEM

Scene: A table at Starbucks Cast: Man #1, a wealthy benefactor Man #2, an enlightened guy Man #1: Let me ask you a hypothetical question: given the choice, would you rather have world peace or a billion dollars? Man #2: Oh, … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, General science, Women in science | 1 Comment

One more anecdote about Kathleen Lonsdale

My last post hardly scratched the surface of Kathleen Lonsdale’s amazing life & career. Before moving on to other topics, I can’t help but share one more cool story about her from her biographical memoir, which incidentally is free to read … Continue reading

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Kathleen Lonsdale: Master of Crystallography

In recent years, there has been a wonderful explosion of interest in the often-neglected historical women of science, and more information is available than ever before about the lives and achievements of these women.  Nevertheless, there are still some truly … Continue reading

Posted in History of science, Women in science | 1 Comment

Michael Faraday and the waterspouts (1814)

This week, one of the most fascinating/frightening videos to be posted online was of a waterspout that ran aground on a Brazilian beach, hurling debris and terrifying vacationers.  Weaker than the similar-looking tornadoes that appear over land, most waterspouts have speeds … Continue reading

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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

Posted in ... the Hell?, History of science | 9 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