And a whole lot of other diseases
The tagging system was invented years before it became practical.
Injuries are the most common cause of death if you're under 44, and about one-fifth are connected to car accidents.
So they added lemon.
Stefan Kudelski set out to explore robotics. He changed the film industry instead.
After Hans Berger received an uncanny telegram, he spent years trying to measure psychic energy.
Ninety years ago, astronomers weren't sure if the Milky Way was all there was. Now we know we're not alone.
One of the health trend's first advocates was perhaps a little bit of a huckster.
Robert FitzRoy published his first weather report in 1861. It was largely accurate.
Falling is never a good idea, but it used to be way worse.
Patients need fluid, somehow.
In 1796, Georges Cuvier convinced his fellow researchers that some bones belonged to a species that no longer roamed the Earth.
From the moment the first LCD screen was created, the goal was to create a flat television.
Before two twentysomethings simultaneously figured out how to isolate the element cheaply and efficiently, it was one of the most valuable metals in the world.
Early headgear was meant to prevent death. Today's versions attempt to prevent concussions, but protecting players who take repeated hits is hard.
Edward N. Hines became passionate about transportation reform as an avid biker—inventing the first center line to divide a street in two.
A Greek doctor found himself unable to experiment on humans when he came to America, so he used animals instead.
Patients prefer to swallow drugs in little balls, but their ability to actually deliver drugs has a spotty history.
The Reagan administration sped up the implementation of location-finding services for civilian use after the Soviet military shot down a passenger aircraft.
Could it have been any other way?
The discovery of thiamine began with the search for a microbe.
It was clear frozen protein was safe; keeping it cold was a whole different question.
One of the U.S. military's first attempts at creating a helicopter looked a lot like modern quadcopters.
When you're making a tiny electronic system, dust particles can be massively destructive.
The earliest schemes for financial support in old age were pegged to life expectancy.
It took more than a decade after Watson & Crick modeled DNA for scientists to figure out what its translator looked like.
Today's staple of city living was once an innovation.
The sudsy soap isn't dying; it's returning to its roots as smelly stuff you rub into your head.
Three different artificial sweeteners have been the result of scientists with poor hand hygiene.
Now every big oil company has an ROV, but once they were on the cutting edge of gathering lost nuclear warheads from the sea floor.
Some fire departments cared more that Garrett Morgan was black than that his invention—the gas mask—could save firefighters' lives.
H. Cecil Booth's contraption might not have been the first of its kind, but it was the only one endorsed by royalty.
The discovery involved "little heroism, more luck than good management, and a starring role for a trainee instrument-maker who dozed off." Maybe.
Today, 95 percent of American babies wear them. But when Marion Donavan tried to find a manufacturer for her idea, the men who controlled the industry brushed her off.
The man who first patented a "surf-type snow ski" ultimately lost the battle to name the sport.
It took years of industry advocacy before the cellophane sack, invented in the 1960s, caught on.
Otto Wichterle figured out how to spin plastic by watching his coffee.
Nineteen professors were given 10 weeks to design an off-Earth colony. Here's what they came up with.
The way many Americans go out now—dark restaurants and dance floors—did not exist until the 1920s.
The drug might be a prototypically contemporary vice, but its discovery was rooted in traditional Eastern medicine.
Tube goes in; appendix comes out.
A controversial clergyman and theologian discovered how to make the ubiquitous bubbly beverage.
In the 1950s, Jerry Morris showed for the first time that sitting all day is bad for our hearts.
Aviators once scorned the life saving device, seeing it as something for circus performers, not pilots.
As microscope technology improves scientists figure out better ways to "see" incredibly small things.
Some of today's most iconic undersea tunnels were first conceived of in the 19th century—but it wasn't until recently that we had the technology to actually build them.
75 years ago, it was not obvious that the cocoa morsels belonged.
Graphene's most problematic superlative is its cost.
The idea of public-key cryptography is surprisingly simple, once you've figured it out.
At 26, the famous physicist explained the science behind today's solar energy revolution.
At some point, someone has to sort out paper from metal from plastic.
Today, one percent of American kids are conceived using some form of assisted reproductive technology.
Just punch out 2,000 or so cards, string them together, and start weaving.
The Romans might have made it better, but right now cement is one of the world's most used materials, period.
Bell Labs started selling commercial image and phone service in 1970, but it was too expensive—and a little too intimate.
Europeans created the idea that individuals share something important with, as one lexicographer put it in 1863, "all men living more or less at the same time"
An effort to make a semiconductor laser led to a totally new device
Medical researchers are getting closer to creating whole, working human hearts.
One night in a basement, Bob Gore accidentally made camping much, much more comfortable—and himself the richest man in Delaware.
High-end chefs are beginning to work with farmers to breed custom new creations for their kitchens.