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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 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

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

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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