How Chicago Lifted Itself Out of the Swamp and Became a Modern Metropolis

By Building Canals, Laying Sewers, and Jacking Up Buildings, the Windy City Spurred Its Miraculous Growth

In 1833, Chicago was a wilderness outpost of just 350 residents, clumped around a small military fort on soggy land where the Chicago River trickled into Lake Michigan. The site was known to local natives as Chigagou, or the “wild garlic place.” By the end of the century, this desolate swamp had been transformed into a modern metropolis of 1.7 million, known the world over for its dense web of railroads, cruelly efficient slaughterhouses, fiery blast furnaces, and soaring skyscrapers.

Chicago’s rise was so sudden and so astounding that many observers …

The German-American Family Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge

In Creating an Icon, Washington Roebling and His Kin Realized Dreams That Europe Never Could Fulfill

The Brooklyn Bridge was truly an American project embodying a certain American ideal. And people celebrated that fact from the start.

On May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge—after 14 years of …

The Dramatic Shift in Our Climate Thinking

Quietly, We've Moved to Relying on Technological Innovation, Not Efficiency, to Save the Planet

In Paris, President Barack Obama and the leaders of 19 other countries made energy technology innovation the central priority of international efforts to address climate change. “The truth is,” said …

Mourning the Loss of a True Workingman’s Bridge

The Bay Bridge Was Never as Famous as the Golden Gate, but It Was Our Most Innovative

On November 14, if all goes as scheduled, a monumental piece of engineering will unceremoniously sink beneath the San Francisco Bay. Known as “E3,” it is the largest load-bearing pier …

Why Isn’t America Awesome at STEM Education?

Figuring Out How the Nation That Leads the World in Innovation Can Do a Better Job of Teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

The World Economic Forum ranks the United States 52nd in the world in the quality of its math and science education. What are we doing wrong? Arizona Daily Star education …

Do We Really Need Finland to Teach Us How to Teach STEM?

Looking Abroad Can’t Hurt. But the Answers to Better Math and Science Proficiency Might Be Closer to Home Than We Think.

In the 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama challenged the nation to produce 100,000 excellent new science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers by the year 2021. In …