Tag: history of science

What’s Old is New Again: The David Saunders Autopsy and Corporate Graverobbing in America

On August 24, 2021, 98-year-old David Saunders died from COVID-19 at a hospital near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Nearly two months later, on October 17, he was publicly dissected in front of hundreds of spectators in a Marriott hotel ballroom in Portland, Oregon. When news of the event reached the Saunders family, they were shocked. His… Read more →

Staging Anatomy for Profit . . . and Punishment

On October 17, 2021, the Oddities and Curiosities Expo hosted a public dissection in Portland, Oregon: Paying customers filed into a lower floor ballroom at the Marriott Downtown Waterfront hotel. On a table in the center of the ballroom, a figure lay draped in a white sheet. The VIP customers, who paid the $500 ticket… Read more →

The World Celebrates the First Malaria Vaccine—But Don’t Expect Malaria to Disappear

On October 6, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced it was recommending the first malaria vaccine, known as RTS,S, for broad use. The next day, we entered a University of Oregon classroom to meet 20 freshmen enrolled in Malaria: Science, Ethics, History, Technology. We wanted our students to know two things about the new… Read more →

Why We Should Recognize Dr. Katharine Bement Davis Alongside Dr. Alfred Kinsey as a Pioneering Sex Researcher

In 1917, when Dr. Katharine Bement Davis accepted philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s invitation to lead the Bureau of Social Hygiene (BSH), an organization dedicated to combating sex work and sexually transmitted infections, he expressed “very great satisfaction” at the prospect of working with her. Rockefeller had “the highest opinion of your ability,” and was… Read more →

The Problem with Medical History in the Age of COVID-19

The pandemic has prompted a proliferation of newspaper articles, think-pieces, and other public writing on the history of medicine. Some have been quite thoughtful, offering new perspectives on the past and present of science, technology, and healthcare, and making radical suggestions for the post-coronavirus future. Others, however, have indulged some of our worst instincts about… Read more →

The Politics of Method: An Interview with Henry Cowles

“The scientific method does not exist. But ‘the scientific method’ does.” So begins Henry M. Cowles’s new book The Scientific Method: An Evolution of Thinking from Darwin to Dewey about the very idea that science could be reduced to a single set of steps. Cowles argues that appeals to such a method – “shared across… Read more →