How forensic investigations left the kitchen

Katherine Ford, in the History of Science Centre’s blog, writes about the history and advantages of science laboratories: I came across an unnamed manuscript dated c.1859, discussing the various effects of certain solutions on worms and other small things.  What caught my eye, though, was the reference to a worm, post-dunking in a chemical solution, […]

Gutenberg’s desired output (toilet paper, of a sort)

The man who invented the printing press planned to make good, practical use of it, according to Michael Lewis (writing in Vanity Fair): The first thing Gutenberg [pictured here] sought to publish, after the Bible, was a laxative timetable he called a “Purgation-Calendar.” Here is a fragment of that Purgation-Calendar (reprinted in An introduction to […]

Good sketchy histories of the universe

Except for a very few people who know everything, nobody knows in detail how the universe started or what happened between then and now. But we’ve been given many interesting suggestions. Some, biblical in nature, tell take-it-leave-it stories. Others offer some combination of evidence and logical reasoning. John Baez‘s majestic “The Earth—for Physicists” appeared in […]