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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.

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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 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 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

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 111: A Distillations Carol

In this episode we are visited by the ghosts of chemistry's past, present, and future, who teach us about Greek fire, red sludge, and the future of the sun.

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Posted In: Environment | History

Episode 110: Essential Elements - Air

This week we continue our 4-part series about earth, air, water, and fire. Today’s episode is about air and how the gases in it have been changing ever since Day 1.

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Posted In: Environment | History | Society

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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