What is a unicorn’s horn made of?

21 Oct 2015

The Cambridge Animal Alphabet series celebrates Cambridge’s connections with animals through literature, art, science and society. Here, U is for Unicorn. Despite being notoriously difficult to catch, they feature on maiolica plates, in 15th century heraldry, and in early recipes for anti-poison.

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A world of science

08 Oct 2015

The history of science has been centred for too long on the West, say Simon Schaffer and Sujit Sivasundaram. It’s time to think global.

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What is a monster?

07 Sep 2015

In the outrage that erupted when an American dentist killed a lion, the trophy hunter was branded a 'monster'. Natalie Lawrence, a PhD candidate in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, explores notions of the monstrous and how they tie into ideas about morality.

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Distillation in the 15th century, from Liber de Arte Distillandi de Compositis by Hieronymus Brunschwig

Men in stripes: spot the difference in early modern woodcuts

16 Jul 2015

Sixteenth-century woodcuts often depict young men wearing striped doublets or striped hose.  When historian of science Tillmann Taape embarked on a journey into the meaning of stripes, he discovered that artists used them to mark out people who were neither rich and educated nor poor and illiterate – but something in between.

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Haeckel’s embryos: the images that would not go away

06 Jul 2015

A new book tells, for the first time in full, the extraordinary story of drawings of embryos initially published in 1868. The artist was accused of fraud – but, copied and recopied, his images gained iconic status as evidence of evolution.

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Illuminating art’s history

19 Feb 2015

Scientific imaging techniques are uncovering secrets locked in medieval illuminated manuscripts – including those of a thrifty duke.

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R100 at mast in Canada

The ‘flying scientist’ who chased spores

11 Feb 2015

A passion for fungi led Cambridge mycologist Dr Dillon Weston to ever-more inventive means of trapping fungal spores, even from the open window of an airship on its maiden flight in the first half of the 20th century.

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The lady of the longitude

30 Nov 2014

In 1714, the British Parliament offered large rewards for finding longitude at sea. Men around the world submitted schemes but only one woman, Jane Squire, published a proposal under her own name. Dr Alexi Baker has been investigating the life story of this remarkable trailblazer. 

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Tricks of the trade: magic and mischief in the making

19 Nov 2014

Victorian magicians Rhys Morgan and Robert West will be at Sidney Sussex College tonight (19 November 2014) where their show will provoke discussions about the nature of truth, the skills of deception, and the blurred lines between what's real and what's imagined. All welcome. 

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