Science and the military converged under a cloak of secrecy at Los Alamos National Laboratory. As part of the Manhattan Project, Los Alamos — both its very existence and the work that went on there — was kept from Americans during World War II.
Many of the thousands of scientists on the project were not officially aware of what they were working on. Though they were not permitted to talk to anyone about their work, including each other, by 1945 some had figured out that they were in fact building an atomic bomb.
The story of the polio crusade pays tribute to a time when Americans banded together to conquer a terrible disease.
At the height of segregation, an unlikely alliance between a black medical genius and a white surgeon led to a pioneering medical breakthrough.
Though first seen only as an expensive luxury, Alexander Graham Bell's telephone soon transformed American life and became a necessity.
Equipment failure, human error and bad luck led to the country's worst nuclear accident in 1979.
Major Walter Reed's discovery in 1900 that mosquitoes spread yellow fever halted an outbreak and led to the disease's eventual eradication.
Their intense faith and strict adherence to 300-year-old traditions have by turn captivated and repelled, awed and irritated, inspired and confused America.
America's first great songwriter, Stephen Foster, wrote 200 songs but died a penniless alcoholic at 37.
Head of the most powerful family in America, billionaire John D. Rockefeller's vast philanthropy changed his family's reputation.