Episode 83: Fellows in Action

Ship of Fellows

What do Isaac Newton, yeast, and Harold Urey have in common? They all come under the research microscope of Chemical Heritage Foundation fellows. In today’s episode of Distillations we invited a few of our friendly fellows to discuss their work. John Ceccatti talks about yeast, vital to beer and biotech, and about why the question of whether yeast is alive took such a long time to answer. Evan Ragland takes us back to Newton’s time and to a suburban backyard in his recreation of Newton’s alchemical experiments. And no, he didn’t manage to turn lead into gold (at least, not this time), but he did create some powerful chemicals still in common use today. Finally, Matthew Shindell gives us a glimpse of one of the 20th century’s most fascinating scientists, Harold Urey, and his transformation from Manhattan Project scientist to commentator on humanity’s place in the universe. Chemical Agent: Yeast.

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits
00:31 Introduction
01:10 Chemical Agent: Yeast
03:28 Tools of the Trade: Backyard Acids from Early Chemistry
07:18 A Conversation with Matthew Shindell on Harold C. Urey
11:51 Closing Credits


Our theme music is composed by Dave Kaufman. Additional music from the PodSafe Music Network. Additional music includes “My Backyard,” by THE CONDUCTORS and “Proxy Moon,” by Gray Young.

Posted In: History | Technology

comments powered by Disqus

By posting your comment, you agree to abide by CHF’s Comment Policies.

The Museum at CHF

The Museum at CHF

Explore the fascinating history of chemistry and the role science plays in the modern world at our museum in Philadelphia.


Distillations Magazine
Support CHF and receive our award-winning quarterly magazine.

Join the Conversation

Distillations Blog logo
Our blog brings the stories of science and culture directly to you.