You are browsing the archive for Science & Medicine.

Darwin’s Polar Bear

Adam Green - February 21, 2018 in arctic, arctic bears, bears, charles darwin, Comte de Buffon, evolution, James Lamont, natural selection, oliver goldsmith, polar bears, Science & Medicine

Musings upon the whys and wherefores of polar bears, particularly in relation to their forest-dwelling cousins, played an important but often overlooked role in the development of evolutionary theory. Michael Engelhard explores.

The Dreams of an Inventor in 1420

Adam Green - January 24, 2018 in Art & Illustrations, automatons, engineering, Featured Articles, inventions, inventors, Renaissance, Science & Medicine

Bennett Gilbert peruses a sketchbook of 15th-century engineer Johannes de Fontana, a catalogue of designs for a wide-range of fantastic and often impossible inventions, including fire-breathing automatons, pulley-powered angels, and the earliest surviving drawing of a magic lantern device.

Pods, Pots, and Potions: Putting Cacao to Paper in Early Modern Europe

Adam Green - December 7, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, botanical art, botanical illustrations, cacao, chocolate, cocoa, colonialism, Culture & History, food, illustration, Science & Medicine

Christine Jones explores the different ways the cacao tree has been depicted through history — from 16th-century codices to 18th-century botanicals — and what this changing iconography reveals about cacao's journey into European culture.

Pods, Pots, and Potions: Putting Cacao to Paper in Early Modern Europe

Adam Green - December 7, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, botanical art, botanical illustrations, cacao, chocolate, cocoa, colonialism, Culture & History, food, illustration, Science & Medicine

Christine Jones explores the different ways the cacao tree has been depicted through history — from 16th-century codices to 18th-century botanicals — and what this changing iconography reveals about cacao's journey into European culture.

Master of Disaster, Ignatius Donnelly

Phil Morrow - October 24, 2017 in apocalypse, Atlantis, Books, catastrophe, disaster, disaster porn, Featured Articles, Ignatius Donnelly, Literature, pseudo-science, Religion, Myth & Legend, Science & Medicine, science fiction

The destruction of Atlantis, cataclysmic comets, and a Manhattan tower made entirely from concrete and corpse — Carl Abbott on the life and work of a Minnesotan writer, and failed politician, with a mind primed for catastrophe. The magnificent civilization of Atlantis shattered and plunged beneath the sea in February 1882. Or, to be more […]

Human Forms in Nature: Ernst Haeckel’s Trip to South Asia and Its Aftermath

Phil Morrow - October 24, 2017 in aart form in nature, Art & Illustrations, biology, ceylon, Darwinism, ernst haeckel, eugenics, Featured Articles, Kunstformen der Natur, race, racism, Science, Science & Medicine, sri lanka

An early promoter and populariser of Darwin’s evolutionary theory, the German biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel was a hugely influential figure of the late 19th century. Bernd Brunner looks at how a trip to Sri Lanka sowed the seeds for not only Haeckel’s majestic illustrations from his Art Forms in Nature, for which he is […]

Ignatius Donnelly: Recipes for Disaster

Adam Green - September 27, 2017 in apocalypse, Atlantis, Books, catastrophe, disaster, disaster porn, Featured Articles, Ignatius Donnelly, Literature, pseudo-science, Religion, Myth & Legend, Science & Medicine, science fiction

The destruction of Atlantis, cataclysmic comets, and a Manhattan tower made entirely from concrete and corpse — Carl Abbott on the life and work of a Minnesotan writer, and failed politician, with a mind primed for catastrophe.

Human Forms in Nature: Ernst Haeckel’s Trip to South Asia and Its Aftermath

Adam Green - September 13, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, art forms in nature, biology, ceylon, Darwinism, ernst haeckel, eugenics, Kunstformen der Natur, race, racism, Science, Science & Medicine, sri lanka

An early promoter and populariser of Darwin's evolutionary theory, the German biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel was a hugely influential figure of the late 19th century. Bernd Brunner looks at how a trip to Sri Lanka sowed the seeds for not only Haeckel's majestic illustrations from his Art Forms in Nature, for which he is perhaps best known today, but also his disturbing ideas on race and eugenics.

W. B. O’Shaughnessy and the Introduction of Cannabis to Modern Western Medicine

Adam Green - April 19, 2017 in calcutta, cannabis, colonial science, colonialism, first trials medical marijuana, india, marijuana, medical cannabis, medical marijuana, Science & Medicine, weed

Cataleptic trances, enormous appetites, and giggling fits aside, W. B. O'Shaughnessy's investigations at a Calcutta hospital into the potential of medical marijuana — the first such trials in modern medicine — were largely positive. Sujaan Mukherjee explores the intricacies of this pioneering research and what it can tell us more generally about the production of knowledge in colonial science.

Lofty Only in Sound: Crossed Wires and Community in 19th-Century Dreams

Adam Green - April 5, 2017 in civil war, Culture & History, dream, dreams, Featured Articles, paranormal, poetry, psychology, Science & Medicine, telepathy, us civil war

Alicia Puglionesi on a curious case of supposed dream telepathy at the end of the US Civil War, and the important role dreams played in how a traumatised nation responded to the conflict.