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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.

 

Episode 181: Chemotherapy

On today’s show we take a look at a disease feared for millennia: cancer. Until the 20th century cancer was almost always a death sentence. Find out what changed. And then listen to a very personal story as a daughter follows her father through chemotherapy.

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Posted In: Medicine | Society

Episode 180: Best of Distillations #12

This week we bring you more of our favorite segments from the past season, and this episode is guaranteed to leave you well preserved. Our first segment goes down to the sea to find out what happens to shipwrecks as time and the elements go by. Our second segment heads back to dry land and explores scientists’ attempts to preserve an old church.

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Episode 179: Best of Distillations #11

This week we bring you some of our favorite segments from the past season.  The first course is a tasty morsel on cheese, not just ordinary cheese but cheese made using bacteria from some, uh, unexpected places. The equally delicious second course explores what taste can tell us about health.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 178: In the Air

On today’s show we go local when it comes to checking up on air quality. Next up is the people power behind civic science and how nonscientists can gather useful data on their surroundings.

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Posted In: Society | Technology

Episode 177: The Old Show

Join us for the third installment of The Stages of Life, spotlighting the chemistry found in childhood, adulthood, and old age. We start by looking at what happens to the brain as we move into old age, and then we investigate how some tiny technology can help as hearing fades.

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Posted In: Society | Technology

Episode 176: The Adult Show

Join us for the second installment of The Stages of Life, spotlighting the chemistry found in childhood, adulthood, and old age. We start by looking at how the brain changes as we move into adulthood, and then we investigate what’s new with the oldest type of contraception.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 175: The Kid Show

Today we begin a three-part series, The Stages of Life, spotlighting the chemistry found in childhood, adulthood, and old age. First, a look at the brains of children, followed by the colorful world of the crayon.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 174: Water Webs

On today's show we look at how delicate desert ecosystems are affected by climate change. Then the impact of toxic metals on Rocky Mountain streams.

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Posted In: Environment | Technology

Episode 173: Power Up

On today's show we look at the modern power grid, which is on the brink of important changes. First, why the smart grid matters. Then, the critical mission of Caltech's Solar Army.

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Posted In: History | Technology

Episode 172: On Beauty

On today's show we look at questionable appearance enhancers. First the Beauty Historian shares some shocking beauty rituals of yore. Then a look at how Brazilian Blowouts are making salon workers sick.

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Posted In: History | Society