A History of Science

A History of Science

Latest Episodes

⑥ Revolutionary Science▪On the politicization of science during the French Revolution
May 27, 2020

The French Revolution was the culmination of Enlightenment thinking. But rather than celebrating science, the revolutionaries suppressed ideas and killed the people that held them. In the last decade of the eighteenth century,

⑤ The Philosopher’s Study▪On alchemy’s transition into chemistry
September 20, 2017

In the 16th century, alchemy became a victim of its own success. The more it achieved, the more its reputation suffered. Cheating death. Curing every disease. Possessing unlimited amounts of gold. Such fantastic objectives were pursued all throughout m...

④ Between Skin and Bones▪On surgery’s discord with anatomy
July 13, 2017

In the 16th century, great advances were made in anatomy. Amazingly, this didn’t lead to a single improvement in surgery, which remained crude, cruel, and lethal. Are you as intrigued by the skeleton in this show’s logo as I am? Probably not.

③ Enchanting Numbers▪On computers’ invention as mechanical calculators
May 22, 2017

Computing began long before the twentieth century. Mechanical calculators ran on cogs, wheels, and steam engines. How would you like a job as a computer? Not a programmer, not even a mathematician. A computer. Someone who makes calculations. By hand.

② Beyond the Edge of the World▪On worldviews in Columbus’ time
May 01, 2017

Columbus discovers America. But more importantly, he discovers discovery itself. In 1492, Columbus sailed west to prove that the world was round. His sailors, terrified of falling off the edge of the world,

① Bloody Beginnings▪On blood transfusion as medical cure-all
April 14, 2017

Daring 17th century doctors try their hand at blood transfusion. With fatal consequences. Blood. The mere sight of it is enough to make many people faint. Blood has long been thought to be the magical ingredient to life. It has been used in rituals,