Topic: history

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Relighting “Circus Sideshow (Parade de cirque)” by Georges Seurat

French post-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat is well-known for his pointillism technique and for his depictions of life in the late 1800s. In observing his painting Circus Sideshow (Parade de cirque), we see these...

Genevieve von Petzinger & the invention of graphics on cave walls

Northern Spain's Cueva de El Castillo and Cueva de La Pasiega both contain incredible specimens of Franco-Cantabrian cave art, paintings and engravings in Cantabria province and southwestern France. El Castillo cave i...

How Scientists and Citizens Are Protecting Ancient Ruins in Peru

How can a historic archaeological site become a protected part of the crowded city that threatens to take it over for development? Pachacamac Site and Sanctuary Museum director Denise Pozzi-Escot has worked to solve t...

One Town, Four Elements: Ytterby

There's a small town in Sweden that has not one, not two, not three, but four elements named after it. Those elements--yttrium(Y), terbium (Tb), erbium (Er), and ytterbium (Yb)--were discovered by part-time chemist Ca...

How the BBC makes Planet Earth look like a Hollywood movie

In this Vox video from Joss Fong and Dion Lee, we get a look at the technological changes that have influenced how the BBC creates their world-renowned nature documentaries. Compare the groundbreaking access of the ve...

H is for Hertz – Circuit Playground

How does the internet work on your laptop, phone, and other wireless devices without any connecting cables? How does your television remote work? In this episode of Circuit Playground, Adabot learns about electromagne...

The Art and Science of Conservation at the Freer Gallery of Art

The conservation and scientific research of ancient Asian art takes a large team of experts from many fields. In order to bring thousands of treasures from the East to the galleries of the Smithsonian in downtown Wash...

The exceptional life of Benjamin Banneker

Born in 1731 on a farm in Baltimore, Maryland, Benjamin Banneker was an accomplished author, publisher, scientist, astronomer, mathematician, urban planner, activist, and farmer throughout his life. A free descendant ...

A Real-Life Bone Collector: Recovering an Extinct Human Ancestor

Follow biological anthropologist and 'bone collector' Dr. Marina Elliott deep into the ancient underground crevasses that would reveal around 1,500 bone fragments belonging to Homo naledi, a new species in human linea...

The Glass Ribbon Machine

In 1879, Thomas Edison and his research team developed a durable carbon-filament light bulb. In the 1880s and 90s, when glass had to be blown by hand, the skilled Corning glassblowers that Edison hired could produce t...

An Automaton of Marie Antoinette, The Dulcimer Player

From the 2012 exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, take a closer look at a unique piece of automata: David Roentgen's Automaton of Queen Marie A...

Jackie Robinson, baseball pioneer and American hero

It was 1947 when Jack Roosevelt Robinson, known as 'Jackie' in popular culture, put an end to segregation in baseball as the first African American player in the major leagues. This Mini Bio reveals his life before ba...

Bessie Coleman, The First Female African American Pilot

Born on January 26, 1892, American aviator Bessie Coleman was the first African-American woman to hold a pilot license and the first American woman to hold an international pilot license. Her daredevil figure eights, ...

The 1,000 year old windmills of Nashtifan

In the small village of Nashtifan, Iran, some of the oldest windmills in the world, with what may be the earliest windmill design in the world, still spin. From National Geographic: Made of natural clay, straw, an...

The mathematics of sidewalk illusions

Have you ever come across an oddly stretched image on the sidewalk, only to find that it looks remarkably realistic if you stand in exactly the right spot? These sidewalk illusions employ a technique called anamorphos...

Why are Dalmatians the Traditional Dog of Choice at Firestations?

Before fire trucks, there were horse-drawn carriages. One of the most effective fire-fighting tools in the middle of the 18th century was the steam pumper- a machine that consisted of a boiler which was able to use st...

A sonata played on the earliest known surviving piano

What does the earliest known surviving piano sound like? Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, listen to the 'Giga' of Sonata number 6 in B flat major, played by professional keyboard player and music producer D...

Unmasking the Secrets That Ancient Mummies Hold

For more than a century, archaeologists have dismantled mummy coffins, also known as cartonnage, in a hunt for literary treasure. In ancient Egypt, undertakers entombed the departed middle-class in sheets of papyrus t...

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