Tag Archives: science

O Superman

John Rasko Carl Power Sydney, Australia   Christopher Reeve comes to South Park to demonstrate all the hope and horror of embryonic stem cells. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, “Krazy Kripples,” South Park, season 7, episode 2 (2003). The key scene is available here. The creation of human embryonic stem cells in 1998 sparked enormous […]

John Hunter, his wolf dogs, and the inherited smiles of Pomeranians

Stephen Martin United Kingdom   Fig 1. Title of Hunter’s Royal Society wolf dogs paper. © Author, from original, CC-BY 4.0 John Hunter, 1728-1793, was a polymathic doctor. Besides being an anatomist and clinician, he was also interested in early genetics, exemplified by his “Observations tending to shew that the Wolf, Jackal, and Dog, are […]

“Am not I a fly like thee?” Drosophila melanogaster and the human genome

Marshall A. Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   A fruit fly displaying its large red eye. Among Thomas Hunt Morgan’s many contribution to the burgeoning science of genetics, he observed some male fruit flies had a mutant white eye. By cross-breeding males with mutant white eyes with females with the dominant trait and, subsequently, […]

Was Moses an alchemist?

S.E.S. Medina Benbrook, Texas, United States   Worshiping the golden calf, as in Exodus 32:1-35. Illustration from a Bible card published 1901 by the Providence Lithograph Company. Via Wikimedia. “And he took the (golden) calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it upon the […]

Trijntje Keever—a tall tale

Orit Pinhas-Hamiel Hamiel Uri Tirosh Amit Ramat Gan, Israel   A life-size painting of Trijntje Keever. Unknown Painter. 1633. Via Wikimedia. There is a life-size painting in the city of Edam in The Netherlands that portrays a girl who is exceptionally tall with disproportionately long hands. The artist is unknown, but the name of the […]

Origin of the mind

Bhargavi Bhattacharyya Kolkata, India   Artificial Intelligence. Photo by Gerd Altman. From Pixabay. How are the mind and brain related? The brain is a ball of nerve cells, or neurons. The mind, the functional unit of the brain, includes imagination, perception, thinking, intelligence, judgment, language, memory, and emotions. How do these basic units, neurons, translate […]

Head and hand: Claude Bernard’s experimental medicine

James A. Marcum Waco, Texas, United States   Claude Bernard. Source: National Library of Medicine, the hisotry of medicine public domain image files. Claude Bernard’s Introduction à l’étude de la médecine expérimentale, originally published in 1865, occupies a critical position in the development of experimental medicine and science.1 In the introduction to the book, Bernard […]

Airs and graces: Humphry Davy and science as performance

Alan Bleakley Sennen, West Cornwall, United Kingdom   A cartoon featured in an 1807 dissertation by a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania on the “chemical and exhilarating effects of nitrous oxide gas.” The two figures are almost certainly Davy to the right and perhaps Beddoes to the left. Credit: Bulletin of the Society […]

When Darwin was wrong

John Hayman Victoria, Australia   Fig. 1. The Parallel Roads of Glen Roy, as would have been seen by Darwin. (Photo by Bev Biggs.) Charles Darwin (1809-1802) is rightly famous, not for the discovery of evolution but for revealing the mechanism by which it may occur, natural selection. He not only formulated this idea, but […]

Sports and the uneven playing field

Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States   An illustration from Clinical Gynecology Medical and Surgical by Keating JM, Coe, Clark H. Published by Lippincott, Philadelphia in 1895. The illustration is labeled as Masculine pseudo-hermaphroditism but it appears to be of a patient with Persistent Mullerian Duct Syndrome with one discrepancy. Such a patient would not […]