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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 156: Hard to Stomach

On today's show we test your gag reflex. First an exploration of rank, funky cheeses made from your own body's bacteria. Then the history of how distaste evolved into disgust.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 155: Shipwrecks

Ahoy, mateys. Join us on the ocean floor. On today's show we look at sunken ships: how they are preserved, and what they can tell us about civilizations from the past.

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Posted In: History | Society | Technology

Episode 154: Fast and Slow

Good science takes time... or not? On today's show we explore the extremes. First the longest-running experiment in the world; then the near-instant chemical reaction that helps airbags protect you in a crash.

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Posted In: History | Society | Technology

Episode 153: Best of Distillations #10

We bring you some of our favorite segments from past Distillations episodes this week: attempts to contact aliens in space and the secret behind the sweet sound of Stradivari violins.

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Posted In: History | Society | Technology

Episode 152: Best of Distillations #9

We bring you some of our favorite segments from past Distillations episodes this week: animal communication in the Sonoran Desert and the toll of asbestos waste on a small Pennsylvanian town.

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Posted In: Environment | History | Society

Episode 151: Tears

Today we wrap up the three-part series Blood, Sweat, and Tears. First how it feels to lose your ability to cry; then why onions bring on the waterworks.

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Episode 150: Sweat

Today we continue the three-part series Blood, Sweat, and Tears. First the history of deodorants; then experiments on how perspiration might diagnose diseases like schizophrenia.

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Episode 149: Blood

Today we begin the three-part series Blood, Sweat, and Tears. First how one man solved the mystery of blood function; then how researchers will bust blood-doping athletes at the Olympic games.

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Episode 148: Across the Pond

On today's episode we cross the Atlantic to learn what makes a perfect cuppa. Then we learn about the surprising health benefits of Marmite, a spreadable food item people love to hate.

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Posted In: History | Medicine | Society

Episode 147: Babies

Big eyes, soft skin, squeezable cheeks. No doubt, babies are adorable. But on today's show we take a break from our cooing to examine some more serious aspects of parenthood. First how formula has waxed and waned in popularity. Then how embryos wreak havoc in the womb.

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Posted In: History | Medicine | Society