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Distillations Podcast

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Distillations podcast 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, a historian of science and editor in chief of Distillations magazine, and Bob Kenworthy, CHF’s in-house chemist. Each month we explore stories from the intersection of science, culture, and history.

All posts in Medicine

Episode 118: Placebos

This week, we celebrate April Fools' Day with a little medical trickery. First, we learn about Franz Mesmer's questionable 18th-century cures. Next we hear how fooling the brain is sometimes the only way to get accurate scientific results.

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Posted In: History | Medicine

Episode 116: Crime Fighters

From primetime to print, forensic scientists are usually depicted as courtroom heroes, but their real-life work makes for more than a thrilling story. On today's episode we look at how one such scientist sealed the fate of Palmer the Poisoner in the 19th century. Then we speak with forensic scientist Mike Eyring, whose team helped solve the biggest serial murder case in U.S. history.

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Episode 109: East Meets West

In this episode we learn about yoga and acupuncture.

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Posted In: Medicine

Episode 107: Medical Gross Out

Today’s show will have your skin crawling… literally. In honor of Halloween we bring you a show revealing a scarier (and squirmier) side of science.

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Posted In: History | Medicine

Episode 103: Herbal Remedy

Before pharmaceuticals existed, all medicines had to come from natural sources—like plants. On this week’s show we focus on such remedies.

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Episode 101: Best of Distillations #5

This month Distillations takes a step back to bring you some of our favorite segments from past episodes: Glenn Seaborg, the Three Sisters, and Living with Illness.

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Posted In: History | Medicine | Society

Episode 96: Infamous Science

Innovation can be messy work, and sometimes outright disastrous. This week on Distillations we’re looking at some of the 20th century’s most infamous scientific missteps.

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Posted In: History | Medicine | Society

Episode 94: Scientific Visions

The future is now. Distillations, therefore, is pausing to compare what people once predicted the modern world would look like to the actual reality on the ground—and in the air.

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Episode 86: In Sickness and in Health

Whether it’s preventing illness by vaccines or avoiding germs, this episode is about getting sick and staying healthy.

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Posted In: Medicine | Society

Episode 81: Light

Let there be light! Whether it comes from the sky or a bulb, we’d be lost without it.

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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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