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Distillations Podcast

#HistChem Distillations explores aspects of humanity’s scientific and cultural legacy and asks the question, “How did we get here.” 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 they’ll guide us through engaging topics about history, technology, and science.

 

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Episode 35: Things We Wear

This week we discuss the chemistry behind what we wear. Many modern fabrics include synthetic materials , and these synthetics would not be possible without chemistry.

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Posted In: History | Society | Technology

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 30: American Chemistry

Chemistry has been part of the American experience ever since the settlers at Jamestown built a lab for blowing glass and assaying metal (you can learn more on our Jamestown episode). Today we celebrate the 4th of July with a tribute to American scientific and technological achievements—and we’ve thrown in some fireworks, just for fun.

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Posted In: Society | Technology

Episode 28: Summer

Summer 2008 officially begins today, June 20, at 7:50 EDT (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). Here at Distillations, we’re celebrating with a show dedicated to poolside lounging.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 27: Illumination

Illumination has been a quest of humans for centuries now—both in terms of the cerebral and the physical. In today’s episode we focus on the physical type of illumination.

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Posted In: Environment | Society

Episode 26: Performance

Baseball, track, swimming, biking—is there any sport that hasn’t suffered a scandal in the past few years? It turns out that the obvious culprits—performance enhancing drugs—are just the tip of the iceberg for how chemistry can alter athletic competition. In today’s show we look at some of the chemistry going on both inside and outside athletes’ bodies.

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Posted In: Medicine | Society

Episode 25: The Chemistry of Time

There are four fundamental qualities: time, length, mass, and temperature. All other units can be derived from them, but these four can’t be broken down any further. This week we focus on time—the measurement that orders our lives.

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Posted In: Society | Technology

Episode 24: Beer and Brewing

What do Isaac Newton, yeast, and Harold Urey have in common? They all come under the research microscope of Chemical Heritage Foundation fellows. 

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Posted In: Society