EXPLOREMY LIBRARYMAGAZINES
CATEGORIES
FEATURED
EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Science
Popular Science

Popular Science

Spring 2020

This is the most exciting time to be alive in history. Get Popular Science digital magazine subscription today and see why. By taking an upbeat, solutions-oriented look at today's most audacious science and revolutionary technology, we forecast what tomorrow will be like. We deliver the future now.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Bonnier Corporation
Read More
SPECIAL: Save 50% on your subscription!
BUY ISSUE
$11.10(Incl. tax)
SUBSCRIBE
$13.88$6.94(Incl. tax)
4 Issues

In this issue

2 min.
to beginnings: new and old

IN MY FIRST CRACK AT THIS note, I invoked Popular Science’s inaugural editor’s letter, written in 1872. It was a pretty good idea, and my draft was going well, but about two paragraphs in, I scrapped it. I realized we have a 150th birthday coming up, so I’ll wait till 2022 to mine that vein of sentiment. Why share this insight into my creative process? Because this issue is about origins, and that’s how I got this thing rolling. Giddyup. You might notice that we look to the past more than usual in this edition, but hey, that’s where the origin stories are. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, for example, the symbiotic bond between humans and dogs formed. While conventional wisdom goes that we domesticated the Canis familiaris, new evidence indicates…

2 min.
contributors

1. Katie Belloff • The daughter of artistic, musical parents, Katie Belloff, PopSci’s art director, knew from an early age that she wanted to embrace her creative side. (She recalls marker-ink-stained hands as a child.) While in college, she fell in love with publishing, and experimented with screen printing and letterpress. She used the latter technique on page 26, employing wooden type to create distinctive headline text. Striving for a playful vibe, Belloff led the redesign of PopSci that debuts with the issue you’re holding; it has new fonts and a color palette that will change with each edition. She describes the result as “clean and fun.” 2. Gregory Reid • When he was 18, Gregory Reid wanted to be a doctor. But there was a problem: He didn’t like blood. After just…

1 min.
pale blue blip

HUMANS HAVE GOTTEN a lot done in 300,000 years: We invented agriculture, developed writing systems, built cities, created the internet, and shrugged off gravity to land on the moon. These innovations make our past seem long—and stuffed with significance. But in the brief history of life, everything we’ve ever accomplished fits into a tiny sliver of time—just 0.008 percent of the entire continuum shown below. This is how the rise of the animal kingdom stretches out compared with our relatively insignificant existence.…

1 min.
origin of the peepers

EVEN ACROSS OCEANS AND millennia, nature finds a way to arrive at the same solutions. Just look at eyes: We share our lens-like optics with distant species such as octopuses, and our trichromatic spectrum of vision with certain primates and marsupials that evolved this third receptor independently from us. These traits all arose through classic divergent evolution, in which branches split off the tree of life as animals fill ecological niches. Yet, because some features address common issues—the need to see clearly, and in color—the adaptations also represent an opposing phenomenon called convergent evolution. Here, we’ve illustrated how both paths come together.…

2 min.
go for bronze

STONE WAS CUTTING-EDGE until about 10,000 years ago, when our ancestors discovered a better material from which to fashion their arrows and axes: copper. Archaeologists believe it was the first metal manipulated by human hands, and since then, it has enabled some of our greatest inventions. Now copper is the third-most-consumed metal in the world. These six technologies show how it helped shape our civilization over the millennia. Metallurgy The oldest metal object unearthed to date is a tiny 6th millennium BCE copper awl found in the Middle East. Because it’s commonly found as a pure metal instead of mixed in ores, copper was ideal for human’s invention of metallurgy, the process of smelting and casting metals. This enabled early civilizations to wield hardier axes and arrows. Bronze Copper is a fairly soft metal,…

2 min.
globe to table

PEACH COBBLER AND ballpark peanuts have something in common: They’re classic American dishes built on decidedly un-American crops. The state fruit of Georgia originated in China, while peanuts (just like “Irish” potatoes) hail from South America. These aren’t gastronomical exceptions either. From the heyday of the Silk Road to the Columbian Exchange, globalization has been bringing humans—and their stomachs—closer together for thousands of years. Here we trace some iconic foods back to their foreign homelands. Kung Pao chicken/chilis Tien tsin, or Chinese red pepper, is named for the port city of Tianjin. But chilis don’t originate in the People’s Republic. Though they’re a key ingredient in many classic dishes, such as the Sichuan staple known as Kung Pao chicken, the spicy plant is native to Mexico. Columbus introduced it to Europeans during…