Sir Isaac Newton, Alchemist?

Is it possible that the English physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest theorists in the history of science, practiced alchemy? That a giant of the scientific revolution shared a dream common among charlatans of his age—to turn lead into gold? William R. Newman, professor of history … Continue reading

Fantasy Aloe Hybrids

When it comes to aloe collecting, Karen Zimmerman’s hybrids are real show-stoppers. As The Huntington’s propagator of succulent plants, Zimmerman has had amazing success breeding striking, jagged-toothed specimens permeated with red, orange, or yellow that produce delectable contrasts with the aloes’ green to bluish-green leaves. Take her Aloe ‘DZ’. A … Continue reading

Organizing an Encyclopedia, Chinese Style

Even by the standards of the day, the task the 15th-century Yongle emperor in China gave to his scholars was unreasonable: compile and organize a book containing all the knowledge of the world, and make sure the information was easy to access. Remarkably, they succeeded in the mission, producing the … Continue reading