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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.

 

Episode 12: Chemistry as Technology

In today’s world, technology is seemingly ubiquitous. Chemistry plays a role in many technologies and may be obvious in some products, but is quite invisible in others.

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Posted In: History | Technology

Episode 11: Wonder Drugs

From antibiotics to chemotherapy, modern pharmaceuticals have transformed the experience of illness in the 20th century. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the founder and chairman of Biocon, Ltd., joins us for a discussion of how the global business of pharmaceuticals is changing the culture of science in India.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 10: Color

Color literally fills our world, and it plays a dominant role in how we perceive our surroundings. Scientists have been fascinated with the question of what color is ever since Isaac Newton discovered that white light contains the entire color spectrum.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 9: The Love Show

Please note: In today’s episode we have included more mature content than a typical show.

A Valentine for our listeners, this show is dedicated to the chemistry of love. In today’s show, we explain why passion has always been associated with fire and how the stars can influence your love life.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 8: Chemistry in the Classroom

Today’s show takes a look at how scientists and educators are reinventing American science education. We chat with Tom Tritton, former president of Haverford College and CHF’s new president and CEO, about how to introduce liberal arts students to science—and just as importantly, vice versa.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 7: Electronics

We don’t normally think of computers, radios, and cell phones as products of chemistry, but none of these devices would be possible without specialized chemical manufacturing components and techniques. The integrated circuits at the heart of these tools depend on the unique electrical properties of certain inorganic elements such as silicon, germanium, and gallium.

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Posted In: Technology

Episode 6: The Chemistry of Texts

Creating ink for both the printed and handwritten page, as well as preserving it, has a long history in which chemistry plays an integral part. Some historic inks have started to destroy the pages they’re printed on. Other books and manuscripts have been damaged as a result of older conservation practices that place more emphasis on looks than historic accuracy.

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Posted In: History

Episode 5: The Body Chemical

Western medicine has always looked at the body as a system in balance. Today’s show looks at how ideas about the body’s equilibrium have changed over the past few centuries, from humoral theory to the discovery of vitamins and the role of trace elements in human health.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 4: Measurement

Chemistry has always been a science of measurement. In this episode, we look at several cases of how measurements affect scientific research and practice as well as daily life.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 3: Happy Holidays from CHF!

This week, in honor of the holiday season, we’re offering a toast to chemistry. We’ll explain what makes champagne bubble, and why size matters when you’re talking about carbonation.

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Posted In: Society