How Fake Science Saved Lives in Victorian London

Fake health news can feel like an epidemic these days, but it was also rampant during the Victorian era, when bodily ailments were often a matter of life-or death. But unlike the questionable remedies you may be familiar with—vaginal steaming for your cramps, or a float tank to chill your anxiety out?—some of the bogus ideas about wellness cultivated in 19th century England actually helped save lives, by bringing public health issues to the forefront. Read More >>

Astronomers Found Evidence for Exoplanets 100 Years Ago and Didn’t Know It

University archives are treasure troves of historic information, but it’s not every day they produce scientific discoveries. But now, a 1917 astronomical glass plate from the Cargenie Observatory’s collection is offering the oldest evidence for a planet orbiting another star — besting the first confirmed exoplanet detection by more than 70 years. Read More >>

Was This the First Time Science Lost Out to “Natural Remedies”?

Worthless natural remedies, especially when they come from “exotic” locations, have always been popular. They’ve also always been big business. Here’s one of the earliest struggles on record—when the richest man in Europe went after a medieval doctor. Read More >>

The Gruesome Trial That Sent an Innocent Woman to the Gallows

Few people have heard of Eliza Fenning today, but in 1815 she was the most famous wronged woman in England. Executed for a crime on flimsy evidence, she inspired a new age of scientific inquiry—and a character in Frankenstein. Read More >>

The Sinking of the Titanic Gave The World a Great Invention

The sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912 shocked the world. But there was one scientist who was inspired to come up with something no modern ship would be without: sonar. Read More >>

How a Scientist’s Least Important Discovery Became His Most Famous

Heinrich Wilhelm Dove was a meteorologist who made great contributions to his field. He wrote over 300 papers, and helped launch the science of global climate study. But today, it’s parapsychologists who bring his work up the most. Read More >>

Can You Spot the Time-Keeping Innovation in This Picture?

Here’s a hint: it’s not the clock. There’s a handy device in this picture that’s incredibly simple (and quite famous) but wasn’t invented until 1829. Read More >>

Crazy Historical Chemists: Locusta

Locusta was one of the first recorded professional chemists. She was employed by several royal Romans, and even established a school for other chemists. Here’s why it was best not to piss off either her or her students. Read More >>