In 17th-century Poland…

In 17th-century Poland, wet bread mixed with spider webs was used to cure wounds. It may sound stupid, but it work, as the bread contained fungal spores, including penicillin and naturally produced antibiotic substances.

The first U.S. gold rush…

The first U.S. gold rush started in North Carolina in 1803 when a 12-year-old boy found a 17-pound gold nugget on his father’s farm. It supplied all the gold for the nation’s mints until 1829.

Thomas Jefferson wanted…

Thomas Jefferson wanted the Constitution rewritten every 19 years. In a letter to Madison he muses that neither the constitution nor the laws of a previous generation should apply to the current one. The 19 years part comes from the mortality tables of the time (people live for much longer now than they did then).

There is a scifi short story…

There is a scifi short story called ‘The Man Who Came Early’ where a modern engineering student is sent back in time but his lack of practical know-how and his over-sophisticated ideas lead to none of his suggestions being implemented.

Werner Forssmann, a physician, risked…

Werner Forssmann, a physician, risked his own life to show that cardiac catheterization could work. He cut a hole in his arm and inserted a catheter into a vein, not knowing if the catheter might pierce a vein. He was later awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine.