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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.

 

All posts in history

Episode 137: Cocktails

Cheers! On today's episode of Distillations we belly up to the bar to learn about distilled spirits. Then we look ahead to the next morning to determine if our tried-and-true hangover cures have any scientific merit.

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 136: Good Vibrations

On today's episode of Distillations we investigate if there's science behind the sweet sounds of a Stradivari violin and learn how chemistry influences the work of sound artist Susan Alexjander.

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Posted In: History

Episode 133: Halloween Candy

Trick or treat! On today's episode of Distillations we give you a taste of both. First, try to choke back our explanation of a Dutch candy that features ammonium chloride and carbon black. Then follow producer Mia Lobel on a tour of the Culinary Institute of America's candy kitchen.

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Posted In: History

Episode 132: Harvest

Today's show explores two very different ways people hope to protect future harvests. First, follow us to the Doomsday Vault, which protects 700,000 seed families. Next, join farmer Miguel Santistevan as he revives his ancestors' agricultural practices.

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Episode 131: Dinosaurs

Today's show goes back in time to try to pinpoint what exactly the dinosaurs were like. First, we reveal evidence that the oldest known bird might actually be a dinosaur. Then we follow a researcher attempting to reclassify many familiar dinosaurs.

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Posted In: History

Episode 130: Our Chemical Landscape – The Wild

Today we wrap up the four-part series: Our Chemical Landscape. These shows look at how science has shaped the city, the suburb, the farm, and the wild. This episode is about the wild, and how its species-in-residence use chemistry to communicate.

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Posted In: Environment | History

Episode 129: Taste

Today's show explores one of our favorite senses: taste. First, revist the tongue map you may have studied as a kid. Next, learn how a natural sweetener might benefit waistlines—and even the world.

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Posted In: History | Medicine

Episode 128: Our Chemical Landscape – The Farm

Today we continue the four-part series: Our Chemical Landscape. These shows look at how science has shaped the city, the suburb, the farm, and the wild. This episode is about the farm, and how crop production has evolved in response to exploding global population growth.

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Episode 127: Best of Distillations #8

We bring you some of our favorite segments from past Distillations episodes this week: mesmerism, the impacts of climate change, and why its chic to be a geek.

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Episode 126: Best of Distillations #7

We bring you some of our favorite segments from past Distillations episodes this week: Palmer the Poisoner, medicinal maggots, and the placebo effect.

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Posted In: History | Medicine | Society