Inventions & Discoveries
The tools and technology that help us understand and change the world
In the early 19th century, Humphry Davy was a scientific superstar, but then science and the world around him changed.
When does self-experimentation cross the line?
In Silicon Valley’s renegade days, a hardheaded Texan chased dreams of a flying car.
Synthetic fibers not only changed the fashion industry; they changed how women lived their lives.
Data overload is nothing new. How have people in the past managed their versions of big data?
Resurrecting radium’s role in early genetics research.
Does history explain why today’s smart machines can seem so dumb?
Some of the most indestructible menswear ever made.
Science’s centuries-long hunt for a common language.
The Cold War is long gone, but many nuclear weapons remain. What happens when some weapons can’t be retired?
Inventor Charles Babbage drew inspiration from an unusual source for his analytical engine.
The day a lead balloon flew.
The story of electricity, danger, nationalism, advertising, and pollution in the lighting of the United States.
Before today’s cell-phone, laptop, and TV screens, there was a whiskey advertisement.
The forgotten life of the scoundrel who created modern concrete.
A tour through the history of radioisotopes, used to study and treat disease and to unlock the secrets of DNA and photosynthesis.
John Hughes worked his way through uncounted pig brains to find the human body’s natural painkiller.
Studying ancient DNA (aDNA) is a lot like playing Whac-A-Mole: stamp out one problem and another will pop up and take its place.