The Genteel California Socialite Who Became the World’s Leading Female Arctic Explorer

In the Early 20th Century, Louise Arner Boyd Lived a Double Life—A Philanthropist in the States, and a Hero on the High Seas

Sailing towards the west coast of Greenland in the war-torn summer of 1941, the Effie M. Morrissey navigated its way through a narrow fjord and anchored off the town of Julianehaab. The American ship appeared vulnerable and run-down next to the impressive U.S. Coast Guard vessels Bowdoin and Comanche.

It was a perilous time. Only eight weeks before, a British cargo vessel had been torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat off Cape Farewell just to the south. As newly minted members of the Greenland Patrol of the Atlantic Fleet, the …

Even Nobel Prize-Winning Physicists Need a Little Luck

Accidental Experiments and Chance Encounters Helped Enrico Fermi Develop the First Nuclear Reactor

The general public may view the scientific enterprise as rational and methodical, moving forward in an orderly, cohesive way. But science moves in fits and starts, sometimes forward and sometimes …

How Cesarean Births Became a ‘Global Epidemic’

Reliance on New Obstetric Technology and Lawsuit-Averse Doctors Made Traditional Birth Seem More Risky Than C-Sections

Almost one in three births in the United States today is by cesarean section—a dramatic change from a century ago when physicians avoided the surgery whenever possible. Doctors remained so …

Why Isn’t Lake Champlain ‘Great’?

Despite Its Geological Kinship With Superior, Erie, and Ontario, the Narrow Body of Water Between New York and Vermont Gets Mocked by Midwesterners

“The term ‘Great Lakes’ includes Lake Champlain.”

These seven words, quietly slipped into an appropriations bill by Vermont’s U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy in 1998, briefly elevated the national status of a …

Do Genes Really Determine Your Hobbies, Relationships, and Voting Habits?

Science and Pop Culture Make DNA Seem All-Important, But Nurture Still Matters as Much as Nature

Over the past 25 years, we’ve become surprisingly comfortable with the idea that genes play a large role in our lives. When DNA is in the mix, people assume that …

Why Termites Are Giving Humans a Lot to Chew On

The Industrious "Underbug" Isn't Just Chomping Our Houses. It's Furnishing Clues About the Future of Technology, Energy, and Warfare.

Apart from mosquitoes and cockroaches, termites may be the least beloved insects rambling around our planet. But they’re also among the most underappreciated of creepy-crawlies—and their example can tell us …