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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 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

Episode 22: Virtual Classrooms

Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, and wikis are just a few of so-called Web 2.0 technologies that are transforming the look and feel of science on the Web.

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Posted In: Society | Technology

Episode 21: Sound

Sound is often thought to be a science of physics, but on today’s show we consider its chemistry.

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Posted In: Society | Technology

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