Articles on History of science

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Jesuit astronomers with Chinese scholars in the 18th century. Les cahiers de Science et Vie October 2009

Jesuits as science missionaries for the Catholic Church

As a Jesuit, Pope Francis is part of a long tradition of religious men of science. Will his leadership influence the Catholic Church's stance on contemporary scientific issues?
Blowing up the desert – and people’s minds: the first atom bomb test in 1945. US Government

Radiation in the postwar American mind: from wonder to worry

The first atom bomb test seventy years ago today marks the start of a change in Americans' thinking about radiation. On balance, our nuclear anxieties endure today.
Deep thoughts for deep problems. xcv

Alan Turing’s legacy is even bigger than we realise

Alan Turing is one of the world’s best-known mathematicians, and probably the best known in the past century. This is partly for his work on cracking German codes in World War II, and partly for his arrest…
18th century German cranial brace and bit to create holes in the skulls. Wellcome Library

Ten weird and terrifying medical instruments from the past

The UK’s largest medical charity, the Wellcome Trust, has made its vast database of images freely available to all. The collection holds photos of hundreds of years worth of medicine, instruments and scientific…
Politicians such as Cory Bernardi hold strong views on the family – but where does the idea of the natural family unit come from? AAP Image/Alan Porritt

The science of the ‘natural’ family unit

It’s no secret that South Australian senator Cory Bernardi is a fan of what he calls “traditional family structures”. His views are back in the news this week with the release of his latest book, The Conservative…
Going up the stairs one animals asks another, “I’m a species. Are you too?” elmada

We have ‘species’ thanks to Noah’s Ark

There was no concept of biological species before the late 17th century in natural history. So why did we get a concept of species in the first place? What is “species” needed for? The answer is that the…

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