First, a disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Nor am I a biologist, an historian, an economist, or an expert on contemporary Urdu literature. I am just a curious journalist who loves to interview smart people and to learn more about how our world works (today, two centuries ago, or in the Pre-Cambrian). When I first decided to create a blog featuring research findings that fascinate me, I wondered how I would select from countless developments in so many fields. I simply can’t choose between neutrinos or vervet monkeys, between earthquakes and language acquisition. I also knew this couldn’t be an all-purpose news service. (I like to sleep.) So I have decided to try an alphabetical approach. I will dispense what pleases me (and hopefully pleases you, the reader) as long as it’s current and I can find a way to fit it into my rolling alphabet. We’ll start with A, which alone offers too many possibilities (Alzheimer’s, Archimedes, Amoebas …) and proceed through to Ziggurat. Or Zygotes. Or Zucchini. You get the picture.
In a true dispensary (at least the 19th-century kind I have read about. See Charles Rosenberg’s chapter on “Social Class and Medical Care in 19th-Century America” in Sickness and Health in America, edited by Judith Walzer Leavitt and Ronald Numbers), the transaction was often a limited one between a poor urban patient with nowhere else to go and a busy physician (or doctor in training) who doled out prescriptions from a restricted list of medicines. But in the Curiosity Dispensary, I will rely on my readers, other research bloggers, and the scholars I interview to supply wisdom of their own.
Together, we’ll keep the dispensary stocked.