On September 13, 2011, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues released its report on the syphilis experiments conducted by the US government in Guatemala in the 1940s. Over 1300 prisoners, prostitutes, psychiatric patients, and soldiers in Guatemala were infected with sexually transmissible diseases (through supervised sexual relations among other methods), in an attempt to better understand treatments for diseases such as syphilis.
In what amounted to the last act of World War II, US forces dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and another on Nagasaki three days later. Ever since, controversy has swirled around the decision to drop those bombs and annihilate those two cities. But exactly who made that decision, and how did it come about?
On a mid-July day in 1939, Albert Einstein, still in his slippers, opened the door of his summer cottage in Peconic on the fishtail end of Long Island. There stood his former student and onetime partner in an electromagnetic refrigerator pump, the Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard, and next to him a fellow Hungarian (and fellow physicist), Eugene Wigner. The two had not come to Long Island for a day at the beach with the most famous scientist in the world but on an urgent mission.
When Cassiano dal Pozzo, the Pope’s personal assistant, returned to the Vatican from Spain in 1626, he brought with him a Mexican manuscript on natural history, the Libellus de medicinalibus Indorum herbis. The “herbal” was a marvelous Mexican manuscript containing illustrations of more than 180 plants. Commonly known as Codice de la Cruz-Badiano, it is considered the first illustrated survey of Mexican nature produced in the New World.