Latest Stories

From the Codex Seraphinianus
Photo Gallery

The "Codex Seraphinianus" has a magical air to it, full of bizarre illustrations and beautiful calligraphy in a made-up language. Publisher Charles Miers told Charles why he published the book, and why trying to understand it isn't really the point.

Length: 
8:28
Brain activity
Articles

After months of isolation, the COVID-19 lockdown is rewiring your brain. Neuroscientist David Eagleman says our brains are continually in flux, responding to the surrounding world. And the silver lining of coronavirus? It's probably boosting your creativity.

Length: 
14:46
neon brain
Articles

Writers are used to working in isolation. So how are they responding to the COVID-19 lockdown? Ilan Stavans has edited an anthology of international writing to consider the question. Stavans himself says the pandemic has liberated him as a writer.

Length: 
13:54
Phineas Gage
Photo Gallery

In 1848 Phineas Gage suffered a gruesome accident. BIasting through rock to build a new railroad in Vermont, an explosion sent a 3-foot, 13-pound iron rod straight through his skull. Remarkably, Gage lived, but brain science changed forever.

Length: 
19:04
crystal meth
Audio

When anthropologist Jason Pine traveled to rural Missouri, he wound up spending a lot of time observing underground meth labs. And he came to a startling conclusion: that the meth cooks of the Ozarks are today’s alchemists.

Length: 
12:31
pyramid
Audio

Alchemists believed that if they could transform matter, why not also the spirit, or the self? That last part is what’s attracting new followers today, like Sara Durn.

Length: 
8:41
"The most important colour in alchemy was red. It was a symbol of life, blood and the Sun."
Audio

Alchemy left its mark on Prague — and on our producer, Charles Monroe-Kane, who lived there as a young man. He says the Czechs are still uncovering alchemical secrets.

Length: 
6:03
Isaac Newton
Articles

Isaac Newton wrote more than a million words on alchemy over his lifetime, conducting decades of alchemical experiments. But he did it all in secret. Why? The question fascinates historian Bill Newman.

Length: 
10:58