The Ornery, Freethinking Astrophysicist Who Helped Start the Space Race

Swiss Émigré Fritz Zwicky Was Pioneer of American Science—Until His Star Fell

When the young physicist Fritz Zwicky arrived in America in 1925, the universe was a tidy place. Some educated people still believed the Sun was at the center of everything and that our little neighborhood in space was everything there was.

In just a few years’ time, Zwicky, a combustible émigré from Switzerland whose feuds were as legendary as his insights, helped upend it all, by founding the field of supernova research and predicting the existence of neutron stars and dark matter. When he was finished, the once-staid field of …

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What 19th-Century Kansas Cow Towns Teach Us About Global Capital | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What 19th-Century Kansas Cow Towns Teach Us About Global Capital

Like Amazon Today, Railroads Determined the Fortunes of Even the Most Distant Communities

Boasting dozens of windows and a hundred-person dining room, the Drovers Cottage was quite a hotel by the standards of the 19th-century American West. Even more impressive: It managed to …

Why Californians Should Party on the Beach Now | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Californians Should Party on the Beach Now

Before Waters Inundate the Coast, We Need to Embrace the Flood and Plan for the Future

Peace out, Pacifica.

Don’t despair, Del Mar.

Never stress, Newport Beach.

Yes, sea levels are rising. Yes, California’s coastline is eroding and changing. And yes, even with Californians taking action against …

When Americans Bought the Illusion of ‘Indoor-Outdoor Living’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

When Americans Bought the Illusion of ‘Indoor-Outdoor Living’

Postwar Suburban Homes With Big Windows and Patios Sold the Idea of Leisure—and Air Conditioning

Think of postwar America, and what often comes to mind is a white, heterosexual family, pictured in a domestic suburban environment. You can tell this family lives in the …

How Trader Joe’s Exploits a Fading California Fantasy | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Trader Joe’s Exploits a Fading California Fantasy

In the Golden State It’s Getting Harder to Live the Good Life on the Cheap

For years, I’ve told children, newspaper editors, and other credulous people that I’m the Joe of Trader Joe’s. That’s, of course, a lie. But it is true that the store …

The Woolen Shoes That Made Revolutionary-Era Women Feel Patriotic | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Woolen Shoes That Made Revolutionary-Era Women Feel Patriotic

Calamanco Footwear Was Sturdy, Egalitarian, and Made in the USA

If you were a wealthy or middle-class woman living in British America around the time of the Revolution, you probably owned a pair of calamanco shoes. Like sneakers or …