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Stories by Topic

Science is woven into almost every corner of our lives—sometimes to the point that we stop even seeing it. Whether you are curious about the history of health and medicine, the science of food, who does science and where science happens, the environment and sustainability, or early science and alchemy, we have articles, podcasts, videos, oral histories, books, and objects you can explore. Select a topic below to get started!

Man in a labcoat

The Human Side of Science

Who does science? Science is a human endeavor, and scientific and technological knowledge—what we know about the natural and material world—is created through the work of many people.  

Paula Hammond in her lab at MIT.

Women Do Science, Too

Wrinkle-free cotton? A woman developed that. CRISPR? Also a woman. The creation of the first state-level water quality standards in the United States? You guessed it: a woman was behind that too. Although women have often faced barriers to participating in science—even sometimes seeing their contributions credited to men—science is definitely women’s work.

Color photo of old billiard balls on white background

The Science of Stuff

Science shapes the world around us, sometimes in surprising ways. From clothes that stretch with your movements to the phone in your pocket, science is embedded in the stuff of everyday life. 

Lab workers testing car exhaust with a scientific instrument

Where Science Happens

Where does science happen? It happens in field sites, factories, workshops, kitchens, and classrooms—not just in laboratories. And in all these places, science gets done by people using complex laboratory instruments, hand-made apparatuses, and sometimes, just their senses.

tin of 12 bayer aspirin

The Science of Sickness & Health

Medicine is where science intersects most directly with our bodies. From leeches to vaccines, germ theory to gene therapy, the ways we think about health and healing are shaped by how we observe—and seek to manipulate—the natural and material world.

Molding a Bright Future in Plastics

The Science on Your Plate

Nearly everything we eat has been shaped by science in some way. Biotechnology began with beer, canning (eventually) conquered contamination, and plastics preserved fresh food in new ways. From the science of flavor to the color of margarine, you’re tasting science with every bite.

Environmental Matters

Everything has a history, including the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the environments we inhabit—as well as the ways we think about, understand, and confront waste, pollution, and climate change.

painting depicting two alchemists in a lab

Alchemists & Early Scientists

Before there was chemistry, there was chymistry, and before there was chymistry, there was alchemy—all part of a long human history of curiosity, experimentation, and discovery about the natural and material world.

group of women standing around a lab table with periodic table in background

Learning Science

How should we teach and learn about science? From chemistry sets and comics, to educational board games and TV programs, we often turn to play when it’s time to learn.

Color advertisement for dyes

The History of Color

For thousands of years, we’ve colored our clothes, our bodies, and our environments to express our culture, our beliefs, and our traditions.

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