Accidental Inventions: Popsicle

In 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson left a mixture of powdered soda, water, and a stirring stick in a cup on his porch. It was a cold night, and Epperson awoke the next morning to find a frozen pop – inspiring the idea of a fruit-flavored ‘Popsicle’. He called it the “Epsicle.”  It was a hit […]


Symbols: Swastika

The swastika has an extensive history. It was used at least 5,000 years before Adolf Hitler designed the Nazi flag. The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit svastika, which means “good fortune” or “well-being.” The motif (a hooked cross) appears to have first been used in Neolithic Eurasia, perhaps representing the movement of the sun […]


The First Colour Photograph

Best known for his development of electromagnetic theory, Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell was also interested in colour theory. Maxwell directed photographer Thomas Sutton to produce the first colour photograph of a tartan ribbon in 1861.  Sutton took three photographs of the ribbon, through a red, green, and blue filter. The plates were then developed […]


Physics: E = mc<sup>2</sup> Explained

Most people have heard of Einstein’s famous equation: E = mc2.  But how many of us really understand on even a basic level what it means?   PBS’ NOVA explains “energy = mass times the speed of light squared” in “relatively” layman’s terms: “On the most basic level, the equation says that energy and mass […]

Early Chinese Toothbrushes

Invention of the Toothbrush

The toothbrush has its origins in the chewing sticks of Babylonia as early as 3500 BC. Ancient Greek and Roman literature discusses the use of toothpicks, which were used to keep the mouth clean.   Over the years the toothpick evolved into a chewstick, which was the size of a pencil. Records from China around […]


Cheerleading was Originally an All Male Sport

Credit for the first organized cheer is attibuted University of Minnesota student named Johnny Campbell, who in 1898 encouraged the crowd to shout, “Rah, rah, rah! Sku-u-mar, Hoo-rah! Hoo-rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-so-ta!”. Soon after, a yell-leader squad of six male students was formed and other universities soon followed.   Women joined cheerleading in the […]



The Science of Snot

By Rudy Callum   We’re all familiar with the classic loogey. Winter colds give us the most intimate experience with our body’s mucus-building capacity. But, what is snot? And, more particularly, what are boogers? Snot and boogers are made of sugars and protein. (You can actually make your own faux mucus, but we won’t go […]

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin: First Man in Space

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (March 9, 1934 –  March 27, 1968) was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. On  April 12, 1961, aboard the Vostok 3KA-3 (Vostok 1), Gagarin became both the first human to travel into space, and the first to orbit the earth. His call sign was Kedr (Siberian Pine). After the flight, Gagarin became […]