Support Provided ByLearn More

RetroScience: The German Pigeon Spies

The Secret Life of Scientists and EngineersThe Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

Want to travel back in time? In our weekly “Retro Science” series, we’re digging up visual artifacts that capture fascinating moments from science history, including surprising studies, outdated inventions, and breakthrough achievements. By recapturing science’s impressive feats and most amusing flops, RetroScience will remind us of how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go.

Before 1860 (exact date unknown): Daguerreotype of Phineas P. Gage holding the iron rod that went through his skull. From the Gage family of Texas photo collection.

The history of neuroscience was changed forever by a railroad construction foreman with a rod in his head. In celebration of Neuroscience Week at “Secret Life,” we’re visiting his peculiar story, one that has captured the interest of neuroscientists around the world.