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Distillations Podcast

Distillations 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, historian of science and editor in chief of Chemical Heritage magazine, and Bob Kenworthy, CHF’s in-house chemist. Each month we examine the intersections of culture, history, and material science.

 

All posts in History

Episode 34: Criminal Chemistry

We’re rather fond of chemistry here at Distillations, but even we have to admit that not everyone who’s interested in chemistry is inspired purely by a love of science. On today’s show we explore the uses of chemistry on either side of the law

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Posted In: History | Society | Technology

Episode 33: Molecular Gastronomy

The term molecular gastronomy can sound pretentious, but food writer Harold McGee describes it as “the science of deliciousness.” Learn more about the science of food (and deliciousness) in this week’s episode.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 32: Religious Experience

There’s an old stereotype that portrays science and religion as inevitably mired in conflict. On today’s show we look past the clichés—evolution and Galileo and all that—for some areas where the two have something constructive to say to each other.

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Posted In: History | Medicine | Society

Episode 31: Motherhood

What makes motherhood scientific? This week, we try to answer, with a look at motherhood, pregnancy, and science.

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Posted In: History | Medicine

Episode 23: Preservation

Entropy is defined as the degree of disorder in a system, and according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics entropy is always increasing. Preservation is a way that humans are trying to beat entropy, and this week we look at why and how we preserve.

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Posted In: History | Medicine

Episode 20: Spring Cleaning

Tuesday, April 22 was Earth Day. Amid all the hubbub about “going green,” it’s a fair question to ask how much power individual consumers have to reduce their environmental impact.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 18: Beyond the Chip

Semiconductors are at the heart of countless electronic devices. Although we often think of Silicon Valley as being built on computer chips, the companies that make the chips often depend upon materials and equipment manufacturers who build the component parts. On today’s show we explore some of the unheralded companies that have made the Digital Revolution possible.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 19: Jamestown

Jamestown celebrated its 400th anniversary last year. Many people may know that it was the first permanent English settlement in North America, but less commonly known is that Jamestown was also the birthplace of the American chemical enterprise.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 17: Dual Use

Science has long been a component of warfare, and in this week’s episode we look at how it has played a part in both destruction and preservation during times of war.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 16: Vitamania!

In today’s show we take a closer look at vitamins, the tiny substances that are vital to our health.

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Posted In: History | Society

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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