Spring 2010, Vol. 28, No. 1
This issue includes a look at the evolution of kids’ chemistry sets, the rise and fall of saccharin, and how foul-tasting cod-liver oil became a popular panacea in the late 19th century.
(Electro) Plating to Success
What happened when the Industrial Revolution met the middle classes? The silver plating of common household goods such as teapots provided luxury at little cost.
Sally Chapman received a Ph.D. in chemistry during a time when it was tough for women to find careers as lucrative as the opportunities for men.
Chemistry at Play
First sold in 1791 to a scientifically literate audience, chemistry sets have since occupied many niches—from colorful children’s toys to essential educational tools. Now making a comeback after years of public neglect, modern chemistry sets are ready to deal with the issues of the 21st century.
Communicating Under Water
The Voice of the Dolphin and Other Stories, Leo Szilard.
The Voice of the Dolphin and Other Stories, expanded edition, Leo Szilard.
Feeding a War
Filmmaker Dan Ragussis turns his lens to chemistry at war with his short movie on Fritz Haber.
When Jane Marcet wrote Conversations on Chemistry she had little idea it would introduce Michael Faraday into the world of science.
Myth Busters United
Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion. Ronald L. Numbers, ed.
Plastic's Second Act
BASF had high hopes for its new biodegradable plastic, but success wasn't simple.
The 75th anniversary of the development of Prontosil Rubrum, the first drug to cure bacterial infections and the first of many sulfa drugs.
The Key to Good Taste
Eighteenth-century author Polycarpe Poncelet finds an unusual connection between music and our sense of taste.
The Man with a Fish on His Back
In the late 19th century cod-liver oil was proclaimed the cure for many ailments. One problem: the oil’s foul taste. Manufacturers, including Scott and Bowne, created tastier versions and successfully shepherded the oil through medical skepticism, the discovery of vitamins, and the rise of artificial supplements.
The Pursuit of Sweet
From lab accident to wonder drug to chemical has-been, saccharin’s history tracks the rise of consumer consciousness, government regulation, and the uncertainties underlying scientific evidence. At the same time as changing food habits drove saccharin’s rise, some lamented the threat to “natural” foods.