Over 400 years ago the first modern atlas, known as the Theatre of the World, was created and published, by Abraham Ortelius. Ortelius's map, created in 1527, recorded the first evidence of continental drift and also helped to communicate the shape of the world. But of course, indigenous people all around the world had already mapped their environments. Indigenous Australians were guided by stars and songlines, ancestral tracks that existed thousands of years before any atlas. This episode explores all of that, plus the value of mapping brains, and the technology that maps genes so we can edit them.
When it comes to the villains of science, it’s not necessarily the scientists themselves who fill that role. It’s often the tyrants in charge of them, or the people who apply their discoveries in society, or the diseases that are studied in the lab, or the environmental destruction that scientists work to undo. These are the villains of today’s episode.