History of Science & Technology – Articles from Newspapers & Popular Magazines


History of Science & Technology. Selected online articles from newspapers and popular magazines, and podcasts.

 

Go to Century Past History Resources for a directory of all pages.

Hidden Figures’: The True Story of the Black Women at NASA Daring ‘Fearlessly to Pursue Their Dreams’

Interview with Margot Shetterly, author of ‘Hidden Figures’; a story and celebration of the four dozen unsung black women who worked as computers, mathematicians, scientists, and engineers from 1943 to 1980 for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and its successor, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Margot Lee Shetterly, Los Angeles Review of Books 2017

17th-century Ruins Could Unravel Mysteries of Earth’s Magnetic Field

As the bricks and pavers to build the Jesuit mission of Santo Angelo over 300 years ago were fired in kilns, magnetite in the clay abandoned its inherent magnetic properties and realigned in response to the magnetic forces exerted by the earth itself.

Andrew Jenner, Discover 2016

A Brief History of Facts

The rise of ‘the fact’ during the 17th century came at the expense of the power of authority. Could the digital age reverse how we decide what is true and what is not?

David Wootton, History Today 2017

See our collections of books on Engineering and Science & Technology

One Hundred and Three Years Ago Today, Henry Ford Introduced the Assembly Line: His Workers Hated It

It was seen as one more way the automaker could exert rigid control over his employees

Kat Eschner, Smithsonaian 2016

People Have Been Using Big Data Since the 1600s

A humble hatmaker was among the first to compile data on how Londoners lived—and died

Kat Eschner, Smithsonian 2017

The Forgotten Women Scientists Who Fled the Holocaust for the United States

A new project from Northeastern University traces the journeys of 80 women who attempted to escape Europe and find new lives in America during World War II

Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian 2017

How transformative has the computer age really been?

Description

James Boyce, The Monthly 2017

Human Computers: The Women of NASA

Their calculations would chart the course of many ground-breaking space missions, yet their stories remain mostly unknown. Get the story behind the women mathematicians, engineers and scientists working at NASA

Brynn Holland, History 2018

It’s not all lightbulbs

If we abandon the cult of the Great White Innovator, we will understand the history of technology in a much deeper way

W. Patrick McCray, Aeon

All in the Family: The Dynasties That Changed Science

About the influential families of science and the legacies they left behind

Lacy Schley, Discover 2019

The First of Scotland

The invention of the telephone, the early years of the steamboat and other great Scottish firsts

Christopher Winn, History Today 2012

The Scientific Tale of Author Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter is best known for her tales and illustrations of Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter Rabbit, who pestered a certain farmer by digging up his onions. She collected hedgehogs, bats, and other animals, creating detailed illustrations of her “pets.” But one topic in particular captured her attention: fungi. Author and historian Linda Lear discusses the scientific illustrations and endeavors of Potter.

Linda Lear, Science Friday 2016

The One Device by Brian Merchant review – the secret history and moral cost of the iPhone

Full of surprising details, this study delves into what society-transforming technology really signifies. Steve Jobs comes out badly

Jacob Mikanowski, The Guardian 2017

The Undiscovered World of Thomas Edison

Historians, sorting through a treasure trove of Edison’s papers, are discovering revealing details that enrich our portrait of one of America’s most accomplished inventors

Kathleen McAuliffe, The Atlantic 1995

Ada Lovelace: The First Computer Programmer

Ada Lovelace has been called the world’s first computer programmer. What she did was write the world’s first machine algorithm for an early computing machine that existed only on paper. Of course, someone had to be the first, but Lovelace was a woman, and this was in the 1840s.

Miss Cellania, MF 2015

After the Map: Cartography, Navigation, and the Transformation of Territory in the Twentieth Century

Book review. Traversing varied material, institutional, and conceptual terrains, plotting shifts in how space has been represented and enacted throughout the 20th century, and rendering connections between spatial technologies and politics, After The Map, by William Rankin, ventures far beyond conventional boundaries of the history of cartography.

Dr Thomas Simpson, Reviews in History 2018

See our collected books on Environmental Crises

Bridging Traditions: Alchemy, Chemistry, and Paracelsian Practices in the Early Modern Era

Book review of collection of essays edited by Karen Hunger Parshall, Michael T. Walton, & Bruce T. Moran. Of great value for historians of science and knowledge who are working on the history of early modern alchemy and chemistry.

Ute Frietsch, H-Net Reviews 2017

Darwin’s Polar Bear

Any high school student knows (or should know) how the beaks of Galapagos ‘finches’ – of species confined to different islands helped Darwin to develop his ideas about evolution. But few people realize that the polar bear too, informed his grand theory.

Michael Engelhard, Time to Eat the Dogs 2016

Mary Somerville, Queen of 19th Century Science

In 1831, her translation and explanation of Pierre-Simon Laplace’s calculus-filled ‘Mecanique celeste’, published in English as ‘The Mechanism of the Heavens’, was an enormous success. For the next 40 years, Somerville worked as what we would now call a science journalist. Her ‘On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences’ went through ten editions.

Matthew Wills, JSTOR Daily 2016

Millennia of Firsts – a Brief History of the Book

It is generally agreed that true writing of language (not only numbers) was invented independently in at least two places: Mesopotamia (specifically, ancient Sumer) around 3200 BC and Mesoamerica around 900 BC. So, humans have been writing for a very, very long time. When did just writing turn into something more, that we would recognise as a’book’, though?

Just History Posts 2017

Preserving the World’s Monuments, One Digital Scan at a Time

CyArk is traversing the globe in a race to digitally preserve the earth’s greatest heritage sites.

Chau Tu, Science Friday 2016

The ancient occult texts that Dan Brown is paying to digitize and make free for all

Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, is donating E300,000 to digitize a collection of ancient books. The 4,600 pre-1900 texts on alchemy, astrology, magic, and theosophy are housed in Amsterdam’s Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, also called the Ritman Library.

Thu-Huong Ha, Quartz 2016

The Curies – Podcast

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the scientific achievements of the Curie family. In 1903 Marie and Pierre Curie shared a Nobel Prize in Physics with Henri Becquerel for their work on radioactivity, a term which Marie coined. The work of the Curies added immensely to our knowledge of fundamental physics and paved the way for modern treatments for cancer and other illnesses.

In our Time, BBC Radio 4 2015

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