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history of science


  • Can Space Exploration Restore American Faith in Science?

    by John Baick

    The 60th anniversary of the first manned space flight is time to reflect on the devolution of space exploration from an expression of science as a public and collective enterprise to a vanity project of fame-seeking billionaires.



  • Our Greatest Libraries are Melting Away

    by David Farrier

    Ice core samples from the Greenland shelf are a physical archive of the long sweep of human history, and demonstrate the connections of humanity's past and future. 



  • When Black Humanity is Denied

    by Edna Bonhomme

    Enlightenment institutions – the prison, science, and asylums – are organized through binaries that draw boundaries between people who are and are not able to exercise freedom. Black artistic work supports Black freedom by challenging those boundaries. 



  • What Attacks on Science Get Wrong

    by Andrew Jewett

    Reductive diagnoses of a "war on science" ignore the specific political and cultural stakes of controversies around vaccination, climate, or creationism. 



  • How Americans Came to Distrust Science

    by Andrew Jewett

    Scientists and their supporters cannot overcome the current moment of hostility toward their profession and rejection of their expertise unless they confront the cultural history of skepticism toward science, in both conservative and liberal forms. 



  • Reckoning with Our Mistakes

    "If Scientific American is to help shape a more just and hopeful future, we must learn from the arrogance and exclusions of our past. Not just because it is right, but because the power of scientific knowledge is stronger for it."



  • How Racism Is Shaping the Coronavirus Pandemic

    An interview with historian Evelynn Hammonds on the relationship between African-Americans and epidemics in American history, from the eighteenth century to the present day.



  • The Pandemic Is Not a Natural Disaster

    by Kate Brown

    Zoonotic diseases can seem like earthquakes; they appear to be random acts of nature. In fact, they are more like hurricanes—they can occur more frequently, and become more powerful, if human beings alter the environment in the wrong ways.



  • What the Plague Can Teach Us about the Coronavirus

    by Hannah Marcus

    The distant past is not our best source of advice for pathogen containment. But it does offer clear lessons about human responses to outbreaks of infectious disease.