Benjamin Franklin's fight against a deadly virus: Colonial America was divided over smallpox inoculation, but he championed science to skeptics

When Bostonians in 1721 faced a deadly smallpox outbreak, a new procedure called inoculation was found to help fend off the disease. Not everyone was won over, and newspapers fed the controversy.

Christian Chauret, Dean of School of Sciences, Professor of Microbiology, Indiana University Kokomo • conversation
July 1, 2021 ~11 min

How do pandemics end? History suggests diseases fade but are almost never truly gone

As ready as you are to be done with COVID-19, it's not going anywhere soon. A historian of disease describes how once a pathogen emerges, it's usually here to stay.

Nükhet Varlik, Associate Professor of History, University of South Carolina • conversation
Oct. 14, 2020 ~9 min

Smallpox is so much older than we thought, Vikings had it

"We have found the oldest evidence of smallpox. Moreover, it seems to have been surprisingly common as early as in the Viking Age."

Cecilie Krabbe-Copenhagen • futurity
July 27, 2020 ~6 min

Could employers and states mandate COVID-19 vaccinations? Here's what the courts have ruled

For a COVID-19 vaccine to stop the pandemic, a large percentage of the population will have to get vaccinated. A law professor explains how far government and employer vaccine mandates can legally go.

Debbie Kaminer, Law Professor, Baruch College, CUNY • conversation
July 21, 2020 ~8 min

Mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations? Here's what states and employers can legally require

For a COVID-19 vaccine to stop the pandemic, a large percentage of the population will have to get vaccinated. A law professor explains how far government and employer vaccine mandates can legally go.

Debbie Kaminer, Law Professor, Baruch College, CUNY • conversation
July 21, 2020 ~8 min

A massive public health effort eradicated smallpox but scientists are still studying the deadly virus

The smallpox virus appears to have been with humanity for millennia before a global vaccination drive wiped it out. Current genome research suggests how smallpox spread and where it came from.

Patricia L. Foster, Professor Emerita of Biology, Indiana University • conversation
June 24, 2020 ~12 min

What a 1798 book on the dawn of vaccines can teach us

"By examining this text, we can revisit history and remind ourselves that progress usually comes sooner rather than later..."

Julie Mattera-Carnegie Mellon • futurity
June 16, 2020 ~10 min

How smallpox changed the face of public health

A historian explains how smallpox outbreaks changed American public health and vaccination forever, as well as what we can learn for today's pandemic.

Jarret Bencks-Brandeis • futurity
May 5, 2020 ~8 min

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