Nathan spoke to Asif Siddiqi, the only historian on the "Committee for Human Spaceflight," which recently completed its two year study on the future of NASA's efforts to send human beings into deep space. They discussed the history of space exploration, the report's recommendations, and also reflects on his role as a historian able to shape current policy.
Alan Turing has been called a lay saint, and he surely was one of the greatest minds of the Greatest Generation. His work at Bletchley Park was vital to Allied success in World War II. Why, then, did he end his life under house arrest? And did *he* end it? Mysteries abound in this week's podcast!
According to Anna Comnena, the Byzantine historian, Sichelgaita of Salerno personally turned the tide at the battle of Dyrrachium when she charged at her own troops and drove them towards their enemy. But did such a thing ever happen? Who was Sichelgaita – a warrior, a wife, or a protective mother?
In the early 19th century, ancient fossils formed the basis of cutting-edge discoveries. Geology still hovered between amateur pursuit and scientific profession. Mary Buckland, married to the dinosaur-discovering William, participated in international research networks, and was a silent partner in creating some of the new discipline's most important works.
Laura Bridgman made headlines in the 19th century when her parents enrolled her at the Perkins Institute for the Blind. Under the guidance of Samuel Gridley Howe she learned how to speak with her fingers and became the first formally educated deaf-blind person in the United States. Though we hear little about her today, she was regularly named as an inspiration by Helen Keller- so who was Laura Bridgman and what was she doing hanging out with Charles Dickens?
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