It is a long standing saying* that the pantheon of primatology is essentially the Justice League of America, with Jane Goodall as Superman, the inspiring and morally upright founding figure, Dian Fossey as Batman, the earnest champion grappling with dark forces, and Birute Galdikas as Wonder Woman, steady and indestructible. ... [Read More]
In the opening days of the Nazi attack on France, a Jewish engineer took his family aside and instructed them on how to commit suicide by slitting their wrists, explaining that death by one’s own hand was more honorable than what would happen to them if they fell to the enemy. As the family fled from town to town, desperate to escape Europe and the Nazi ... [Read More]
Polio, unique among humanity’s eradicated diseases, carries with it a visual familiarity that has insistently lingered far beyond its demise.
Boys and girls with leg braces and dual crutches.
FDR in his wheelchair.
Rooms full of iron lungs mechanically keeping children alive.
Paradoxically, that very immediacy has defanged our towering horror of the disease somewhat – we realize that all of ... [Read More]
The 1960s and early 1970s were the Rock Star era of anthropology, when each year seemed to bring a stunning new glimpse into the early development of man, and being a top anthropologist was to be a household name on par with Buzz Aldrin or Leonard Bernstein. And while individual ... [Read More]
In 1923, when Estelle Massey graduated from the City Hospital No. 2 School of Nursing with the highest exam score in the entire state of Missouri, only 14 of the nation's 1300 schools for nursing allowed black people to even apply. The American Nursing Association did not accept black nurses as members, and the US Navy categorically refused ... [Read More]
Remember a while ago when I said that botanists were the most under-respected members of the scientific community? Well, that's true until you consider a branch of science so underappreciated that many disdainfully refuse to even consider its practitioners as ... [Read More]
The lady researcher
Is always fumbling about,
searching and probing around her,
For problems to fathom;
She studies and parlays and memorizes and discusses
but can find no satisfaction.
She searches out famous scholars,
Discusses philosophical problems,
Studies creation and the course of the stars.
She even dares to approach ... [Read More]
Before NASA, there was NACA, an oddball collection of aeronautics nerds using black box data and wind tunnel analysis to figure out as much as they could about the science of flight. Calculations, done almost entirely by hand, were the coursing lifeblood of the organization. Those calculations ... [Read More]