September 21, 2023 issue
Jessica Riskin is the Frances and Charles Field Professor of History at Stanford. She is currently writing a book about the French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and the origins and history of evolutionary theory. (June 2023)
A Poisonous Legacy
Two new books reveal the story of Stanford University’s early years to be rife with corruption, autocracy, incompetence, white supremacy, and murder.
Who Killed Jane Stanford?: A Gilded Age Tale of Murder, Deceit, Spirits, and the Birth of a University
by Richard White
American Disruptor: The Scandalous Life of Leland Stanford
by Roland De Wolk
June 22, 2023 issue
Why Biology Is Not Destiny
In The Genetic Lottery, Kathryn Harden disguises her radically subjective view of biological essentialism as an objective fact.
The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality
by Kathryn Paige Harden
April 21, 2022 issue
Nature’s Evolving Tastes
In a new collection of essays on Darwin’s Descent of Man, a number of scientists claim that human and animal cultures emerge from the “purposeless process” of natural selection. Darwin himself said the opposite.
A Most Interesting Problem: What Darwin’s Descent of Man Got Right and Wrong About Human Evolution
edited by Jeremy DeSilva
The Origins of the World: The Invention of Nature in the 19th Century
an exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, May 19–July 18, 2021
The Natural History of Edward Lear: New Edition
by Robert McCracken Peck, with a foreword by David Attenborough
October 21, 2021 issue
When Engineers Were Humanists
During the Renaissance, mechanical inventions served as a medium for experimental thinking about all aspects of the cosmos.
The Italian Renaissance of Machines
by Paolo Galluzzi, translated from the Italian by Jonathan Mandelbaum
Renaissance Invention: Stradanus’s Nova Reperta
an exhibition at the Newberry, Chicago, August 28–November 19, 2020
March 11, 2021 issue
Just Use Your Thinking Pump!
What is the scientific method, and when, where, and how did it become, as the kids say, a thing?
The Scientific Method: An Evolution of Thinking from Darwin to Dewey
by Henry M. Cowles
July 2, 2020 issue