Our museum and library is closed today in celebration of Juneteenth.

The Disappearing Spoon podcast

Topsy-Turvy Tales from Our Scientific Past

Inventions & Discoveries

The tools and technology that help us understand and change the world

sepia-toned engraving of four men around a tree
Inventions & Discoveries

The British Tobacco Empire

He was behind the rise of the British Empire, a public-health epidemic, and the lost colony of Roanoke Island. Thomas Harriot has a lot to answer for.

Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard inside a deep sea exploration vehicle.
Inventions & Discoveries

The Most Exclusive Club in the World

As recent tragedies reveal, it’s harder to reach extreme ocean depths than the Moon. Meet the people who got there first—and barely lived to tell to the tale.

illustration of two men in a balloon
Inventions & Discoveries

Death-Defying Science at 75,000 Feet

How balloon geek Auguste Piccard inspired Hollywood and became a worthy namesake for Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek fame.

Albert Einstein, Hendrik Lorentz and Arthur Eddington standing outdoors
Inventions & Discoveries

Proving Einstein Right

Meet Arthur Eddington, the weirdo scientist who made Albert Einstein the genius we know today.

Overhead view of DNA evidence kit on white background.
Inventions & Discoveries

How New DNA Sleuthing Can Expose Dangerous Killers—and You

The downside of using genetic genealogy to fight crime.

Inventions & Discoveries

The Big ‘What If’ of Cancer

How a feisty, suicidal Nobel laureate infuriated both Hitler and Stalin, and stalled cancer research for 50 years along the way.

Inventions & Discoveries

Burn After Watching

The world’s first plastic made Hollywood possible—and killed thousands of people along the way.