History of Science & Technology

The image to the right, Elementi di anatomia fisiologica applicata alle belle arti figurative by Francesco Bertinatti, depicts one aspect (anatomical study) of the wide-ranging subject area of the History of Science and Technology.

Created in the mid-1800s, the stiffness of the lithograph's figures—and the self-conscious theatricality of the scene, combined with the high 'finish' of the lithograph—lend it a dreamy quality that anticipates 20th-century surrealism.

This dreamy visual quality could well be compared to the incredibility of the scientific and technological advances that have come to pass since this lithograph first was inked.

  • A Walk Through Time Featured Article A Walk Through Time A Walk Through Time

    The Evolution of Time Measurement through the Ages. A Walk Through Time Ancient Calendars Celestial bodies — the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars — have... More »

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Tetraethyl lead (TEL) Last Updated on 2012-02-19 00:00:00 Tetraethyl lead (TEL) is a liquid with the chemical formula (CH3CH2)4 Pb. Once widely used (circa 1925 to 1990) to increase the octane rating of gasoline (petrol), TEL usage in gasoline has been largely phased out by most nations[5] primarily because of the toxicity of the lead emissions from spark-ignited internal combustion engines fueled by gasoline containing TEL. Another reason for discontinuing TEL usage was that it degraded the efficiency of the catalytic converters installed in automotive vehicles to reduce their emissions of air pollutants. TEL is still available for use as an additive to increase the octane rating of aviation fuel for aircraft powered by internal combustion engines. Manufacture and properties Pure tetraethyl lead, as distinguished from tetraethyl lead fluid (TEL fluid), is a colorless liquid that is highly lipophilic and soluble in... More »
Considering 200 Years of Infectious Diseases Last Updated on 2012-02-03 00:00:00 NIAID Scientists Consider 200 Years of Infectious Diseases Unpredictable, ever-changing and with potentially far-reaching effects on the fates of nations, infectious diseases are compelling actors in the drama of human history, note scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. In an essay marking 200 years of publication of the New England Journal of Medicine, NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and coauthor David M. Morens, M.D., trace key advances in understanding and combatting infectious diseases and outline ways in which the contest between microbes and man might play out in decades to come. The authors look back to the 1799 death, likely from bacterial epiglottitis, of President George Washington and note that “no one alive then could have imagined the astonishing breakthroughs... More »
A Walk Through Time Last Updated on 2011-12-21 00:00:00 The Evolution of Time Measurement through the Ages. A Walk Through Time Ancient Calendars Celestial bodies — the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars — have provided us a reference for measuring the passage of time throughout our existence. Ancient civilizations relied upon the apparent motion of these bodies through the sky to determine seasons, months, and years. We know little about the details of timekeeping in prehistoric eras, but wherever we turn up records and artifacts, we usually discover that in every culture, some people were preoccupied with measuring and recording the passage of time. Ice-age hunters in Europe over 20,000 years ago scratched lines and gouged holes in sticks and bones, possibly counting the days between phases of the moon. Five thousand years ago, Sumerians in the Tigris-Euphrates valley in today's Iraq had a calendar that... More »
U.S. National Science Foundation: An Overview Last Updated on 2011-05-11 00:00:00 Summary The National Science Foundation (NSF) was created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (P.L.81-507). The NSF has the broad mission of supporting science and engineering in general and funding basic research across many disciplines. The agency provides support for investigator-initiated, merit-reviewed, competitively selected awards, state-of-the-art tools, and instrumentation and facilities. The majority of the research supported by the NSF is conducted at U.S. colleges and universities. Approximately 82.7% ($3,320.5 million) of NSF’s FY2007 $4,049.4 million research and development (R&D) budget was awarded to U.S. colleges and universities. On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), 2009, P.L. 111-5 (H.R. 1). The legislation provided slightly more than $3.0 billion for the... More »
Darwin, Charles Last Updated on 2009-10-19 20:58:53 Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was a British scientist who laid the foundations of the theory of evolution by natural selection and transformed the way we think about the natural world. Darwin, a naturalist, was born in Shrewsbury, England on Feb. 12, 1809. His father was also a naturalist and a physician. His mother died when he was eight. Darwin was the first of the evolutionary biologists . At age sixteen, Darwin left Shrewsbury to study medicine at the University of Edinbourgh but switched to Cambridge University to study divinity. After he graduated, he went on a five-year scientific expedition to the Pacific coast of South America on the H.M.S. Beagle from 1831-1836. On the Origin of Species (1859) described evolution and natural selection, giving a theoretical explanation for the diversity among living and fossil beings. His book was not well received among the general population... More »