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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 36: Olympics

Addicted to the Olympics? Take a break from too much video with 12 minutes of audio. On today’s show, we investigate Olympic mysteries, from the flame of the torch to the composition of those so-called gold medals.

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Posted In: History | Society | Technology

Episode 35: Things We Wear

This week we discuss the chemistry behind what we wear. Many modern fabrics include synthetic materials , and these synthetics would not be possible without chemistry.

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Posted In: History | Society | Technology

Episode 34: Criminal Chemistry

We’re rather fond of chemistry here at Distillations, but even we have to admit that not everyone who’s interested in chemistry is inspired purely by a love of science. On today’s show we explore the uses of chemistry on either side of the law

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Posted In: History | Society | Technology

Episode 30: American Chemistry

Chemistry has been part of the American experience ever since the settlers at Jamestown built a lab for blowing glass and assaying metal (you can learn more on our Jamestown episode). Today we celebrate the 4th of July with a tribute to American scientific and technological achievements—and we’ve thrown in some fireworks, just for fun.

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Posted In: Society | Technology

Episode 25: The Chemistry of Time

There are four fundamental qualities: time, length, mass, and temperature. All other units can be derived from them, but these four can’t be broken down any further. This week we focus on time—the measurement that orders our lives.

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Posted In: Society | Technology

Episode 22: Virtual Classrooms

Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, and wikis are just a few of so-called Web 2.0 technologies that are transforming the look and feel of science on the Web.

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Posted In: Society | Technology

Episode 21: Sound

Sound is often thought to be a science of physics, but on today’s show we consider its chemistry.

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Posted In: Society | Technology

Episode 12: Chemistry as Technology

In today’s world, technology is seemingly ubiquitous. Chemistry plays a role in many technologies and may be obvious in some products, but is quite invisible in others.

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Posted In: History | Technology

Episode 7: Electronics

We don’t normally think of computers, radios, and cell phones as products of chemistry, but none of these devices would be possible without specialized chemical manufacturing components and techniques. The integrated circuits at the heart of these tools depend on the unique electrical properties of certain inorganic elements such as silicon, germanium, and gallium.

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Posted In: Technology