Articles on History of science

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Camp beds set up for travelers returning to Germany from China, who will be isolated for two weeks to make sure they don’t have coronavirus. YANN SCHREIBER/AFP via Getty Images

Quarantines have tried to keep out disease for thousands of years

Even before people understood how germs spread disease, they tried to isolate the sick to keep them from infecting others.
Illustrations from the Nuremberg Chronicle, by Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514)

Dealing with devil has long been a part of medicine

Reports of demonic possession are once again on the rise. But during the devil’s last apogee in early modern Europe, demonic afflictions were taken seriously by both priests and physicians.
An illustration of life in Aru Islands from The Malay Archipelago Wallace, Alfred Russel via Wikimedia Commons

How many people helped Alfred Russel Wallace?

More than a thousand local people helped Alfred Russel Wallace in his eight year voyage collecting specimens of animals in the Malay archipelago.
Weather towers like this one in a park in Vienna were a popular way for the 19th-century public to track the influence of weather on their lives. Source: Wikimedia

The 19th-century tumult over climate change – and why it matters today

Climate science in the computer age is the pursuit of elite scientists. A historian of science sees an upside to the popular, participatory approach of studying changes to the climate from the 19th century.
Scientific pursuits need to be coupled with a humanist tradition — to highlight not just how psychedelics work, but why that matters. (Shutterstock)

The real promise of LSD, MDMA and mushrooms for medical science

Once associated with mind-control experiments and counter-cultural defiance, psychedelics now show great promise for mental health treatments and may prompt a re-evaluation of the scientific method.

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