Spring 2014, Vol. 32, No. 1
Welcome to a sparkling issue of Chemical Heritage! Discover how French scientists made the first synthetic jewels. Find out why margarine is yellow and how it was once used to break the law. Learn the essential role played by a guinea pig in discovering an element and why Katherine Burr Blodgett’s research was invisible. Explore the extraordinary history of the atom bomb project through words and images. As always, we offer treasures from CHF’s collections, book and museum reviews, and more. Enjoy!
A Future Without Limits
For decades serious people have tried to turn the stuff of science fiction—space colonies, self-replicating machines, and solar sails—into scientific reality.
Pity butter’s poor relative, margarine, which has shifted from outlaw to savior to villain in the space of a 100 years.
Colors Run Riot
Ever had trouble matching an outfit? Discover how color consultants solved a problem created by chemistry: too many colors to choose from.
In graphic novels, images and words form an equal storytelling partnership. Jonathan Fetter-Vorm’s Trinity joins a growing subgenre, graphic nonfiction, in its exploration of the making of the first atomic bomb.
How hard can it be to make a gemstone? Plenty hard. People have been trying for almost 2,000 years, but success finally beckoned in 19th-century France.
Pour l’Amour de Lavoisier
What happens when you put scientific instruments inside a former monastery? A museum to rival any other in Paris.
The Invisible Woman
Katharine Burr Blodgett was the first female scientist hired by General Electric. Her work was truly invisible, deliberately so.
Before these men became successful chemists they were World War II meteorologists.
Yellow Fever Fiend
Through war and peace doctors struggle to prevent disease. The Civil War was no exception, except in the case of one doctor who did his best to spread sickness.