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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 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

Episode 125: Chem-moo-stry

Today the Distillations team delves into the weird and wonderful world of its favorite barnyard animal: the cow. First find out why so few populations are lactose tolerant. Then take a literal peek inside the body of one of these creatures.

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Posted In: History | Medicine | Society

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 121: Geek Chic

Today's show wonders if it's becoming chic to be a geek. First, we see how pop culture portrayals of scientists have boosted their reputations with teenagers. Next, we look at the state of science education in the U.S.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 119: Climate Change

One of this century's great challenges will be mitigating the effects of our steadily warming planet. In today's episode we explore the consequences of our changing climate.

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Posted In: Environment | Society

Episode 117: Women's History Month

In this episode we learn about lesser-known women in the sciences. We start with Dorothy Hodgkin, the third woman to win a Nobel Prize in chemistry, and end with a tour spotlighting important females whose stories are told in CHF's museum.

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Posted In: History | Society

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 115: Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, we reveal the lesser known accomplishments of George Washington Carver, and also pull from our oral history collection the stories of two African-American women fighting to make their way in the chemistry field.

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Posted In: History | Society

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