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Distillations Podcast

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Distillations podcast explores the human stories behind science and technology, tracing a path through history in order to better understand the present. Our hosts are Michal Meyer, a historian of science and editor in chief of Distillations magazine, and Bob Kenworthy, CHF’s in-house chemist. Each month we explore stories from the intersection of science, culture, and history.

Episode 122: Our Chemical Landscape – The City

In honor of the International Year of Chemistry, today we begin the four-part series Our Chemical Landscape. These shows look at how science has shaped the city, the suburbs, the farm, and the wild. Today's episode is about the city, and the role of energy in shaping its past and future.

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Episode 121: Geek Chic

Today's show wonders if it's becoming chic to be a geek. First, we see how pop culture portrayals of scientists have boosted their reputations with teenagers. Next, we look at the state of science education in the U.S.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 120: Nuclear Medicine

In the midst of Japan's nuclear crisis, it's easy to forget that radioactive isotopes are often employed to save human lives. This week we look at diagnostic and therapeutic applications of nuclear medicine.

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Posted In: Medicine | Technology

Episode 119: Climate Change

One of this century's great challenges will be mitigating the effects of our steadily warming planet. In today's episode we explore the consequences of our changing climate.

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Posted In: Environment | Society

Episode 118: Placebos

This week, we celebrate April Fools' Day with a little medical trickery. First, we learn about Franz Mesmer's questionable 18th-century cures. Next we hear how fooling the brain is sometimes the only way to get accurate scientific results.

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Posted In: History | Medicine

Episode 117: Women's History Month

In this episode we learn about lesser-known women in the sciences. We start with Dorothy Hodgkin, the third woman to win a Nobel Prize in chemistry, and end with a tour spotlighting important females whose stories are told in CHF's museum.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 116: Crime Fighters

From primetime to print, forensic scientists are usually depicted as courtroom heroes, but their real-life work makes for more than a thrilling story. On today's episode we look at how one such scientist sealed the fate of Palmer the Poisoner in the 19th century. Then we speak with forensic scientist Mike Eyring, whose team helped solve the biggest serial murder case in U.S. history.

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Episode 115: Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, we reveal the lesser known accomplishments of George Washington Carver, and also pull from our oral history collection the stories of two African-American women fighting to make their way in the chemistry field.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 114: Elements of Expression

In this episode we learn about how the mass production of oil paints spawned a new artistic movement and get a tour of artist Dove Bradshaw's studio.

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Episode 113: Burning Rubber

Rubber has played a shockingly dramatic role in our political and military history. In today's episode we revisit the consequences of the natural rubber shortage during WWII, and how a similar shortage might affect us today.

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Posted In: History | Society | Technology

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.


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