When our magazine went monthly in 1921, it was published as a journal of “practical information”—one definition of “scientific.” Since then, cover topics have reflected science's progress. Engineering and other applied sciences predominated until after World War II, when attention turned to the natural world (biology) and later to theoretical pursuits (physics, astronomy). Today neuroscience and evolution are surging—and raising controversial questions.

Click to enlarge. Graphic by Jen Christiansen


Our full archives—back to 1845—are now available online. Go to ScientificAmerican.com/feb2014/graphic-science