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.
Laser scans reveal ancient cities hidden in the Amazon river basin
Lidar technology reveals the surprisingly complex infrastructure and urban planning that united Casarabe settlements.
How to be happy: Aristotle’s 11 guidelines for a good life
In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle proposed that humans are social, rational animals who seek to “live well.”
The true meaning of Einstein’s most famous equation: E=mc²
Although most people can name Einstein's most famous equation, E = mc², very few people can explain what it means.
5 drugs that changed the world (and what went wrong)
Anesthesia, penicillin, antibiotics, diazepam, and the birth control pill have all radically changed our lives.
The Singularity: When will we all become super-humans?
Are we really only a moment away from "The Singularity," a technological epoch that will usher in a new era in human evolution?
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 will humans change in the next 10,000 years?
If humans don’t die out in a climate apocalypse or asteroid impact in the next 10,000 years, are we likely to evolve further?
Widom of Daoism: why Yin-Yang is so much more than a tattoo
Yin-Yang symbolizes not a conflict or struggle but shows that nothing in life is solely either this or that.
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.
Archaeologists identify contents of ancient Mayan drug containers
Archaeologists used new methods to identify contents of Mayan drug containers, discovering a non-tobacco plant.
A historian identifies the worst year in human history
The year 536 ushered in the coldest decade in thousands of years and started a century of economic devastation.
Why Einstein is a “peerless genius” and Hawking is an “ordinary genius”
Why some people are considered geniuses while other equally impressive people are not seems largely arbitrary.
How to be a techno-optimist
Technology will not save the world, and it is inherently neither good nor bad. But, when tech is coupled to human virtue, good will prevail.
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.”
The US Civil War drastically reshaped how Americans deal with death – will the pandemic?
How do American's attitudes towards death change when they are confronted with such enormous losses?
Longtermism’s perspective on humanity’s past, present, and future
If we manage to avoid a large catastrophe, we can see ourselves as living at the early beginnings of human history.
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.
A papyrus reveals how the Great Pyramid was built
The papyrus contains an eye-witness account of the gathering of materials for the Great Pyramid.
Mary Rose
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.
lidar data
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.
history of boredom
The history of boredom might surprise you
What we can learn from our complicated relationship with boredom.
ancient viruses
Ancient frozen viruses hold clues to life and climate
Using new techniques, researchers at Ohio State have identified ancient viruses we’ve never seen before.
5 ways we all live like royalty
Our fantasy world of the past has become everyday reality.
Antikythera Mechanism
Ancient computer found in shipwreck decoded by scientists
A new model explains how an ancient computer known as the Antikythera Mechanism could have made complex astronomical predictions.
neanderthal communication
Neanderthals had the capacity for human communication
Neanderthals appear to have had the capacity to hear verbal language, suggesting that modern human communication has ancient roots.
arctic world archive
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.
Scientists sniff out the smells of old europe
A research team has just launched an ambitious project to identify and reconstruct the most popular scents of everyday life in 16th century Europe.
hong kong history
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.
diving with a purpose
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.
Lost Languages
Bringing lost languages back to life with AI
An algorithm that can identify the closest living relatives of lost languages could help linguists unlock the meaning of ancient texts.
african american genealogy
The hidden history in Black genealogy
This team is restoring generations of overlooked African American genealogy, and people are discovering family histories they never knew they had.
medieval medicine
Medieval medicine yields modern weapons
Deadly antibiotic-resistant superbugs require new weapons. Ancient and medieval medicine may point us to where to find them.
the dead sea scrolls
Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls may be in animal DNA
Scholars' understanding of the Dead Sea Scrolls may be enhanced by an unusual source: the DNA of the animals they’re printed on.
Frederick Douglass
Why do selfies matter? Ask Frederick Douglass
The great abolitionist, freedom fighter and orator, Frederick Douglass, used photography to smash racial stereotypes and reframe Black identity.