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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.

 

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Episode 54: Holiday Greetings 2008

Thanks to J. J. Thomson‘s plum pudding model of the atom, chemistry will be forever associated with 19th-century British Christmas traditions. His model was soon discarded, but it remains a staple of high school chemistry textbooks.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 53: Faking It

The truth behind the fake—this week Distillations explores the science of forgery. Some forgery is known and expected, such as fake meat products for vegetarians, while other fakes are meant to deceive…think imitated artists.

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Posted In: Society | Technology

Episode 52: Wine

Americans are still relatively new to consuming wine—but they do so with gusto during the holiday season. On today’s show we take a look at the chemistry of this intoxicating substance: its aroma, its flavor, and its sometimes unwanted side effects.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 51: Global Health

Monday, December 1, is the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. In honor of this campaign, Distillations is considering global health.

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Posted In: Medicine | Society

Episode 48: Alchemy

Alchemy is about a lot more than turning lead into gold or making the philosopher’s stone. Until the 17th century, alchemists worked hard in their laboratories to produce medicines, develop metal- and glass-working techniques, and uncover the quintessential essence of all earthly and celestial matter.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 47: Making Up

Happy Halloween from Distillations! This week we’re looking at the world of cosmetics, which seems fitting for a day when many people wear makeup who might not normally.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 46: Charging Up

The first cars didn’t run on gas—they ran on electricity. Over a century later, the high cost of fuel has finally forced automakers to take the possibility of battery-powered cars seriously. On today’s show we look at three kinds of batteries that have been proposed as transportation solutions.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 45: Making Modernity   

This week we celebrate the opening of the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s new museum!

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Posted In: History | Society | Technology

Episode 44: Sweet Dreams

There’s nothing quite like a good night’s rest to recharge the body and restore the spirits. Today’s show looks at the science of sleep—and insomnia.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 43: Cause and Effect

According to Newton’s third law, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In this week’s episode we explore causes and their effects in several different ways.

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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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