I’ve just finished a course on the History of Science and wanted to share some neat resources:
Philip Ziegler’s The Black Death is a fascinating read about the spread of the bubonic plague throughout medieval Europe. Thoroughly gross (pus, pus, and more pus) and decidedly depressing (“Let’s blame the plague on the Jews, round them up and slaughter them!”), it is also useful for increasing the amount of trivia you have at the ready to gross out your friends and family. For example, to prevent contracting the plague just hang out around latrines and breathe in the fumes, it worked (not really) for the Europeans!
Continue this theme with a rousing game of Pandemic and feel completely paranoid and compelled to wash your hands repeatedly.
I was also fascinated by this great video by CGP Grey on the importance of the environment on the spread of disease:
I also wrote a paper on the controversy surrounding Watson & Crick’s Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the structure of DNA. Check out Watson’s “memoir” The Double Helix. It is a quick and entertaining read, albeit rife with sexism. Sexism you say? Hoho! If Watson isn’t busy playing tennis or going to cocktail parties, he is criticizing Rosalind Franklin’s looks and dismissing her brilliance. Franklin was one of the many scientists that Watson & Crick took advantage of in their personal race for Nobel glories. Check out Brenda Maddox’s book on Franklin to learn more.