The discoveries, inventions, and startups shaping the future
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.