Sir Joseph Lister, Bt. and Listerine

Listerine is an antiseptic mouthwash, but where does the name originate? It is named for a person: Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, also known as the Father of Modern Surgery. Until he entered the field of medicine, the popular theory of infection was not due to bacteria but “bad air”. At the time, surgeons would not […]

The Man with Two Faces

Listen to this article: 1896, the medical encyclopedia Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine was published. Within the tome, was a description of one Edward Mordake. He lived in complete seclusion, refusing the visits even of the members of his own family. He was a young man of fine attainments, a profound scholar, and a musician of […]

Divine and Destructive: The Truncated Icosahedron

Listen to this article: It is a shape found in a lot of places. Its influence can be found throughout history and has had an impact on millions, if not billions of humans. The truncated icosahedron has 32 sides; made up of 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons. The first known illustration of this shape was drawn by Leonardo […]

Resurrection Men

Listen to this article: There have been many points in history in which it was difficult, if not impossible, for a doctor to study human anatomy. During the 18th and 19th centuries, it became common for bodies to be stolen from their graves. In 1752, the Murder Act was passed in the UK allowing for […]

Insects on Urinals

Listen to this article: Some time during the Victorian era, honey bees began appearing painted onto the tops of urinals. Why honey bees? Likely because of a pun from the insect’s Latin family name “apis“. Honey bees are not the only insect to be featured on urinals, and it can be quite common in the modern era.

An Unwilling Colonist

  Listen to this article: Before 1807, no human being was a resident on the Galápagos Islands. So who were the ones to colonize first? It was one man named Patrick Watkins, and he didn’t do so willingly. There isn’t much in terms of first-hand accounts about the man, but a Captain David Porter (of […]

Shakespeare’s Drugs of Choice

Listen to this article: Many creative-minded people are known to use mind-altering substances; sometimes for the process, sometimes not. Shakespeare certainly drank alcohol (in Richard III, the Duke of Clarence is drowned in a butt of wine!), but his other possible vices remain unconfirmed. There is evidence that he at least had access to them at […]

Regarding Mac and Cheese Part 2

Read/hear part one here. Listen to this article: In the late 1930s, a salesman for the Tenderoni Macaroni company began selling boxes of macaroni with packets of processed, grated cheese from Kraft. Kraft heard about it and began selling boxes of macaroni and cheese in 1937. Using chemistry, Kraft had created shelf-stable cheese that was also […]

Regarding Mac and Cheese

Listen to this article: Macaroni and cheese was one of my favorite dishes growing up. Today, it remains one of my favorites. As it turns out, this dish has been a comfort food for hundreds of years. In honor of my favorite dish, the next two posts will be dedicated to its history and chemistry. […]