Science Diction: The Origin Of ‘Tuberculosis’

May 26, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012 When doctors autopsied tuberculosis patients, they described finding round, white swellings, especially in and around the lungs. Medical historian Howard Markel describes how those potato-like growths led to the disease being called tuberculosis, from the…

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A Tale Of Two Addicts: Freud, Halsted And Cocaine

February 5, 2012

On Talk of the Nation, November 25, 2011 In his book An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine, medical historian Howard Markel tells the story of how Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, and Halsted…

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Study: Most Americans Skeptical Of H1N1 Vaccine

February 5, 2012

On Tell Me More, November 05, 2009 With the arrival of flu season, it’s hard not to be bombarded by news about the H1N1 virus. But that hasn’t made deciding whether to get vaccinated any easier…. Read more…

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King Tut Felled By Injury And Malaria, Not Murder

January 31, 2012

On Talk of the Nation, February 16, 2010 A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association found that King Tutankhamun died from complications from a broken leg exacerbated by malaria…. Read more and listen to the episode at…

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Marketing Flu Vaccine: A Tough Sell For Many

January 31, 2012

On All Things Considered, November 2, 2009 The nation is in the midst of the largest mass vaccination campaign against flu in history, but about half the population is saying they are not interested. Many have a sense that the…

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Science Diction: The Origin Of The Word ‘Moon’

January 26, 2012

Friday, January 20th, 2012 Science historian Howard Markel discusses the origins of the word moon and some of the lore surrounding it, including a 1638 book by the English bishop Francis Godwin entitled The Man in the Moone, which recounts…

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Science Diction: The Origin Of The Petri Dish

January 26, 2012

Friday, December 16th, 2011 In 1887, Julius Petri invented a simple pair of nesting glass dishes, ideal for keeping specimens of growing bacteria sterile–the ‘Petri dish.’ Science historian Howard Markel recounts the history of this ubiquitous lab supply, and…

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Science Diction: The Origin Of ‘Stethoscope’

January 26, 2012

Friday, November 25th, 2011 French physician René Laennec, was simply a hollow wooden or ebony tube. Laennec named the device using the Greek roots stethos, or chest, and skopein, to look at or to observe. Medical historian Howard Markel discusses…

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Science Diction: The Origins of the Bunsen Burner

January 26, 2012

Friday, October 21st, 2011 Every high school chemist has no doubt fiddled with a Bunsen burner–but where did the apparatus get its name? Science historian Howard Markel talks about the German chemist Robert Bunsen, and why his experiments necessitated…

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Science Diction: The Origin Of The Word ‘Epilepsy’

January 26, 2012

Friday, September 30th, 2011 Hercules, on the face of this coin, was said by Aristotle to have suffered from epilepsy. Wikimedia Commons. Humans have long suffered from epilepsy, the neurological disorder hallmarked by sudden seizures. Medical historian Howard Markel discusses…

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Science Diction: The Origin Of ‘Chemistry’

January 26, 2012

Friday, August 26th, 2011 The word chemistry is said to have roots in either ancient Egypt or Greece. Science historian Howard Markel discusses the word’s origin, and the modern naming of the field of chemistry by British natural philosopher…

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A Tale Of Two Addicts: Freud, Halsted And Cocaine

January 26, 2012

Friday, July 22nd, 2011 In his book An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine, medical historian Howard Markel tells the story of how Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, and Halsted, the acclaimed surgeon, fell…

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Science Diction–The Origin Of The Word ‘Radio’

January 26, 2012

Friday, June 24th, 2011 The Origin Of The Word ‘Radio’ — Scientists originally used the prefix ‘radio’ to refer to the electromagnetic radiation used in innovations like radio-telegraphy, a way of sending messages without wires, cables and poles. Science historian…

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Science Diction: The Origin Of The Word “Syphilis”

January 26, 2012

Friday, May 27th, 2011 In a 1530 epic poem, Italian physician and poet Hieronymus Fracastorius coined ‘Syphilis’ as the name of the poem’s main character, a shepherd afflicted with the dreaded disease. Medical historian Dr. Howard Markel and STD…

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Science Diction: The Origin Of The Word ‘Robot’

January 26, 2012

Friday, April 22nd, 2011 Robot is a relative newcomer to the English language. It was the brainchild of the Czech playwright, novelist and journalist Karel ?apek, who introduced it in his 1920 hit play, R.U.R., orRossum’s Universal…

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Science Diction: The Origin Of The Word ‘Clone’

January 26, 2012

Friday, March 11th, 2011 In 1903, plant physiologist Herbert J. Webber coined the term ‘clone,’ from the Greek klon, to refer to the technique of propagating new plants using cuttings, bulbs or buds. Science historian Howard Markel discusses how the…

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Science Diction: The Origin Of ‘Antibiotic’

January 26, 2012

Friday, February 11th, 2011 Selman Waksman, the microbiologist who discovered streptomycin, first used the word antibiotic in the medical sense in 1943. Science historian Howard Markel talks about how it was actually a Naval officer who first coined antibiotic in…

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Science Diction: The Origin Of ‘Physician’

January 26, 2012

Friday, January 28th, 2011 In the 13th century, Anglo-Normans appropriated the French physique, or remedy, to coin the English physic, or medicine, which is still in dictionaries today. Science historian Howard Markel discusses how physic became physician, and the…

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Science Diction: Comet

January 26, 2012

Friday, December 17th, 2010 Look – up in the sky! How did the ‘comet’ get its name? Howard Markel, a physician, medical educator, and historian of medicine at the University of Michigan, explains: Although they were sighted in the ancient…

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