Science History

Unearthed! Piltdown Man

The Piltdown Man is one of the world’s most infamous instances of scientific fraud, and it derailed the study of evolution for decades. How exactly did scientists in 1912 fall so completely for a hoax?

The Life and Times of Sir Isaac Newton

You may know the apple/gravity story, but Isaac Newton's life was so much more than that. Not only did he contribute huge concepts to physics, mathematics and astronomy, he also busted counterfeiters.

The Explosive Career of Antoine Lavoisier

Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier was a chemist, biologist, geologist, physiologist, and economist. But at the end of the day, he's most often referred to as the father of modern chemistry. He also was smack dab in the middle of the French Revolution.

Luis W. Alvarez, Pt. 2

The second part of the Luis Alvarez episode covers his time as part of the Manhattan Project designing detonators for atomic bombs. Beyond his controversial work, Alvarez also contributed to particle physics, mystery solving and paleontology.

Luis Alvarez was a physicist whose broad interests connected him to some of the 20th century's most influential moments, including the bombing of Hiroshima and the assassination of JFK. His diverse work led to the nickname "the wild idea man of physics."

Philo T. Farnsworth

Phylo T. Farnsworth is called the "Father of Television" -- his initial idea for electronic television came to him as a teen. He's also become something of an icon representing the little guy -- he battled big business in in a patent suit.

Pluto: The Demoted Dwarf Planet

It was the only planet to have been discovered by an American, but it's no longer classified as a planet. Who found Pluto, and how did astronomers even know to look for the so-called Planet X on the edge of our solar system?

Particle Physics and Animals

Felicia the ferret, who helped Fermilab in the early '70s, has been popping up in online stories and social media lately. How did she come to work in a particle physics facility, and what other animals made their homes there?

Five Historical Robots

Long before Czech playwright Karel Capek coined the term "robot" in his 1920 play "R.U.R.," mechanized creations -- automata -- were being created without electronics or computers. Many were simple, but they paved the way for the robots of today.

Benjamin Banneker

Despite having almost no official schooling and being a man of color in Colonial America, Benjamin Banneker turned out to be such an accomplished scholar that schools and professorships are named after him today.