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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.

All posts in 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 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

Episode 106: Essential Elements – Water

This week we continue our 4-part series about earth, air, water, and fire. Today’s episode is about water and the many ways to ensure it is potable.

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Elemental Memoir Lesson Plan

Attention teacher friends of Distillations: A lesson plan to help you work our Elemental Memoir competition into your classroom.

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Posted In: Society

Episode 105: Periodic Table Contents

In this week’s episode we pay tribute to the periodic table. We talk to Sam Kean, author of the best-selling book The Disappearing Spoon; hear an excerpt from Primo Levi’s book, The Periodic Table; and introduce a competition you should enter!

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Posted In: History | Society

Episode 101: Best of Distillations #5

This month Distillations takes a step back to bring you some of our favorite segments from past episodes: Glenn Seaborg, the Three Sisters, and Living with Illness.

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Posted In: History | Medicine | Society

Episode 100: Birthday Episode

Distillations marks our 100th episode this week! To celebrate, we revisit segments from some of our past shows and bring you new developments.

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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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