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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 technology

Episode 134: Is Anybody Out There?

How did we get here and who else is out there? These questions have nagged at humans for centuries. On today's episode of Distillations we explore early debate over the Big Bang Theory and find out what tools researchers are using to greet aliens.

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Posted In: Technology

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 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 124: Our Chemical Landscape – The Suburb

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 suburb, and how its residents' transportation needs have evolved in the past century.

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Episode 123: Under the Sea

Today Distillations welcomes guest producer Ari Daniel Shapiro, host of the podcast Ocean Gazing, who takes us on a tour of the ocean, revealing how optics can evaluate long-term changes in the oceanic environment and the effects of carbon dioxide on coral reefs.

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Episode 120: Nuclear Medicine

In the midst of Japan's nuclear crisis, it's easy to forget that radioactive isotopes are often employed to save human lives. This week we look at diagnostic and therapeutic applications of nuclear medicine.

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Posted In: Medicine | Technology

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 113: Burning Rubber

Rubber has played a shockingly dramatic role in our political and military history. In today's episode we revisit the consequences of the natural rubber shortage during WWII, and how a similar shortage might affect us today.

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Posted In: History | Society | Technology

Episode 112: Nuclear Power

In this episode we learn about the history and future of nuclear power, in the U.S. and abroad.

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Episode 108: Essential Elements - Fire

This week we continue our 4-part series about earth, air, water, and fire. Today’s episode is about fire and how humans have tried to protect themselves from it.

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Posted In: Environment | Technology

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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