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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 Society

Episode 41: Self-Experimentation

This week we delve into the world of experimenting on oneself. Many scientists have both knowingly and unknowingly used themselves as guinea pigs in the lab.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 40: Agriculture

All over the Midwest, farmers are cranking up their combines for the corn harvest. Modern agriculture depends on science and technology at every step of the way, from genetically modified crops, to the fertilizer on the fields, to the fuel in the tractor.

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Posted In: Environment | Society

Episode 39: Photography

In the eleventh century the first camera obscura was invented, helping artists draw. It would be another eight centuries before people figured out how to capture images directly onto film.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 37: Best of Distillations #1

This week we’re looking back at some of our favorite Distillations episodes.

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Posted In: History | Society | Technology

Episode 38: Best of Distillations #2

We continue to look back at some of our favorite episodes this week at Distillations.

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Posted In: History | Medicine | Society

Episode 36: Olympics

Addicted to the Olympics? Take a break from too much video with 12 minutes of audio. On today’s show, we investigate Olympic mysteries, from the flame of the torch to the composition of those so-called gold medals.

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Posted In: History | Society | Technology

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