Category Archives: History of science or medicine

Anti-vaxx through history

SARAH and her brother Benjamin (not their real names) have never seen eye to eye. She’s a professional scientist, he – according to Sarah’s description – is someone who is susceptible to conspiracy theories. They maintained an uneasy truce until a few weeks ago. Tensions came to a head when Sarah was on the phone to her mum, talking her through the online procedure to book a slot for her Covid-19 vaccination…

Dr Fauci gets vaccinated, December 2020

This article first appeared in The Guardian  on 26 January 2021. To continue reading, click here.

Why neglecting immigrants’ health is a terrible idea, especially in a pandemic

THE Trump administration’s colossal mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t over, and won’t be for a long time after the current president’s departure. There’s a sting in that administration’s tail, whose poison is already spreading through the US population. It has been invisible until now, at least in the higher echelons of power, but as the mass vaccination campaign moves into its next phase its effects are becoming painfully and tragically obvious. The sting has an innocuous-sounding name: the public charge rule…

This article first appeared in The Guardian on 14 January 2021. To continue reading, click here.


Hospitals without walls: the future of healthcare

ST Mary’s hospital was slated for a £1bn redevelopment before the pandemic struck, with work due to start in 2027. The main emergency and specialist hospital serving north-west London will still get its upgrade, but it might look quite different now. “Covid-19 has dramatically changed things,” says James Kinross, a surgeon who works at St Mary’s and sits on its redevelopment planning committee…

This article first appeared in The Observer on 2 January 2021. To continue reading, click here.

What are COVID archivists keeping for tomorrow’s historians?

IF only somebody had counted the orphans. That was one wish I had while trawling archives on the 1918 influenza pandemic to research my book Pale Rider. Another yearning? If only someone had saved biological samples of the unidentified respiratory disease that ravaged China in late 1917. Historians a century hence will, I think, have a lot more to go on…

This article first appeared in Nature on 17 December 2020. To continue reading, click here.

What science can learn from religion

OVER the first half of the 20th century, the Catholic priest and prehistorian Henri Breuil transformed our understanding of early humans. Armed with a pared-down travel kit and a folding umbrella, this diminutive figure in a worn cassock criss-crossed France, then Europe, then the world, in search of painted caves. Having wriggled his way into hundreds of them, he re-emerged bearing his own renditions of the art with which our Stone Age ancestors decorated their interiors…

This article first appeared in the New Statesman on 10 December 2020. To continue reading, click here.