How a scientist looking to prove his food wasn’t fresh discovered radioactive tracers and won a Nobel Prize
George de Hevesey had the suspicion the cooks were reusing leftovers and made his dinner into a radioactive tracer experiment.
Study: ancient technique holds thousands of tons of carbon, sequestered over centuries
"Dark earth" holds thousands of tons of carbon, sequestered over centuries by indigenous practices, a new study suggests.
PhD student solves a mysterious ancient Sanskrit text algorithm after 2,500 years
For centuries, a grammatical problem surrounding a meta-rule in Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī has risked readers misinterpreting the text.
Viktor Frankl: The doctor who prescribed the meaning of life to his patients
Not having a meaningful life can be dreadful, and one psychologist thought it was the root of many neuroses. His ideas became Logotherapy.
New AI translates 5,000-year-old cuneiform tablets instantly
Translating an ancient language is a time-intensive process, and only a few hundred experts are qualified to perform it. Could AI do the job?
The radical drop in maternal mortality was a public health miracle
In 1758 in Sweden, 1205 mothers died for every 100,000 live births, which was likely representative of the global maternal mortality rate.
Ancient technology that was centuries ahead of its time
These forward-thinking inventions are often called "ahead of their time." They are reflections of the ingenuity of their civilizations.
Did life evolve more than once? Researchers are closing in on an answer
Current scientific consensus is that life emerged from non-living molecules in a process called abiogenesis. But if life emerged once, why not more times?
We’re analysing DNA from ancient and modern humans to create a “family tree of everyone”
Genetic genealogy not only helps us understand where we came from, but it could also be used for tracing the origin of genetic mutations.
We used to have steam-powered cars. What happened to them — and will they come back?
Steam cars went extinct because gas-powered cars became far more convenient. Will technology ever bring back the steam car?
Technology over the long run: See how dramatically the world can change within a lifetime
Bringing to mind how dramatically the world has changed can help us see how different the world could be in a few years or decades.
Science fiction books that predicted the future with terrifying accuracy
Science fiction writers have anticipated a variety of modern inventions, from cars to organ transplants. Some books barely seem like fiction.
Today, people fear Twitter. In the 1850s, they feared telegrams
Telegrams elicited the exact same concerns, including the spread of misinformation, “addiction” among youth, censorship, and impersonation.
Ancient mystery solved: Why was Roman concrete so durable?
How have Roman walls held up so long? Their ancient manufacturing strategy may hold the key to designing concrete that lasts for millennia.
Earth’s magnetic field supports biblical stories of destruction of ancient cities
By utilizing the ancient orientation of the Earth’s magnetic field, scientists have been able to piece together the history of ancient Judea.
Our ancestors first developed humanlike brains 1.7 million years ago
Using computed tomography, a team of researchers generated images of what the brains of early Homo species likely looked like.
How Greek philosopher Democritus predicted the atom in 400 B.C.E.
The idea of atoms goes as far back as the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus in 400 B.C.E., who thought physics left no room for free will.
Wild mammals are making a comeback in Europe thanks to conservation efforts￼
Many large mammals in Europe were close to extinction. New data shows us that the continent’s mammal populations are flourishing again.
Svante Pääbo wins Nobel Prize for discovering an extinct human species via DNA
Swedish geneticist Svante Pääbo has won the Nobel Prize for "discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution."
A neural network discovered Copernicus’ heliocentricity on its own
Scientists trained a neural network to predict the movements of Mars and the Sun, which placed the Sun at the center of our solar system.
15th century futurism: Leonardo da Vinci’s famous helicopter design finally takes flight
Da Vinci dreamed up a helicopter 400 years before they actually existed. Now, engineers have brought his design to life, but with a twist.
How child mortality fell from 40% to 3.7% in 200 years
The collapse in child mortality rates is a testament to the tremendous benefits of scientific, technological, and economic progress.
We need to know about progress if we’re concerned about the world’s large problems
Our World in Data explains their mission to publish the “research and data to make progress against the world’s largest problems.”
Derinkuyu: Mysterious underground city in Turkey found in man’s basement
A basement renovation project led to the archaeological discovery of a lifetime: the Derinkuyu Underground City, which housed 20,000 people.
X-rays may save Henry VIII’s resurrected warship, the last of its kind
Henry VIII’s favorite warship survived centuries under the sea. New x-ray scanning technology will hopefully help preserve the Mary Rose for centuries more.
Lasers reveal hundreds of Mayan and Olmec ceremonial centers
Archaeologists are hunting for — and finding — previously hidden ancient structures in lidar data collected by planes and drones.
Inside the arctic vault protecting human culture from an apocalypse
The Arctic World Archive preserves cultural artifacts for future generations in the event of a global disaster, and it now contains 21 TB of open source code.
Museums are racing to save Hong Kong's history before it gets censored
A sweeping security law has Hong Kongers racing to digitize archives and artifacts, from Tiananmen Square to Telegram channels.
The race to find slave ships, before they're lost forever
Diving with a Purpose is training the next wave of marine archeologists, working with youth to document potential slave ship wrecks before they’re lost.