Distillations: Science + Culture + History

244 EpisodesProduced by Science History Institute

Each episode of Distillations podcast takes a deep-dive into a moment of science-related history in order to shed light on the present.

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The Mouse That Changed Science: A Tiny Animal With a Big Story

November 19th, 2018

41:49

In April 1988 Harvard University was awarded a patent that was the first of its kind. U.S. Patent Number 4,736,866 was small, white, and furry, with red beady eyes. His name was OncoMouse.

The mouse, genetically …

Preview: The Mouse that Changed Science

November 13th, 2018

1:20

Treating America's Opioid Addiction Part 3: Searching for Meaning in Kensington

October 16th, 2018

55:23

“We should never, ever forget that addiction treatment is a search for meaning in a place other than using drugs.”

—Nancy Campbell, historian of drug …

Treating America’s Opioid Addiction Part 2: Synanon and the Tunnel Back to the Human Race.

September 18th, 2018

44:35

Our current devastating opioid crisis is unprecedented in its reach and deadliness, but it’s not the first such epidemic the United States has experienced or tried to treat. In fact, it’s the third. 

Treating America’s …

Preview: Treating America's Opioid Addiction, Part 2

August 31st, 2018

1:50

In our next episode we’re continuing our three-part series on the history of opioid addiction treatment in the United States. And we’re going back to the early 1960s, when the foundations for our modern opioid addiction …

Treating America’s Opioid Addiction Part 1: The Narcotic Farm and the Promise of Salvation

August 21st, 2018

32:18

Our current devastating opioid crisis is unprecedented in its reach and deadliness, but it’s not the first such epidemic the United States has experienced or tried to treat. In fact, it’s the third. 

Treating America’s …

Preview: We're hard at work on our next season!

July 17th, 2018

1:59

Fighting Smog in Los Angeles

June 26th, 2018

39:43

If you live in Los Angeles, or even if you’ve just visited, you know about smog. But what might surprise you is that a half-century ago the city’s air quality was more unbearable, even though the city had far fewer cars.

Preview: Smog in Los Angeles used to be way worse

June 19th, 2018

1:30

Whatever Happened to Acid Rain?

May 22nd, 2018

32:17

Remember acid rain? If you were a kid in the 1980s like our hosts were, the threat of poison falling from the sky probably made some kind of impression on your consciousness. But thanks to the work of scientists, …

Preview: Whatever Happened to Acid Rain?

May 15th, 2018

1:28

Whatever Happened to the Ozone Hole?

April 17th, 2018

24:10

If you were around in the 1980s, you probably remember the lurking fear of an ominous hole in the sky. In the middle of the decade scientists …

The Man, the Myth, the Laser

March 13th, 2018

30:02

They’re at the grocery checkout. They kill cancer cells. They’re in pointers that drive cats crazy and in the fiber networks that connect us to the internet. Lasers are so ubiquitous it’s hard to imagine a world without …

The Yoga Pant Problem

February 13th, 2018

27:04

Yoga pants are having a moment. And while they’re not new, they’ve moved beyond the gym and yoga studio into nearly every corner of our lives.

This so-called athleisure wear trend has made a lot of people happy. “Once I …

The Almost Forgotten Story of Katherine Jones, Lady Ranelagh

January 9th, 2018

25:36

Every aspiring chemist has heard of Boyle’s law—the equation that relates the pressure of a gas to its volume. But even if you know about Robert …

Sci-Fi Radio Drama: A Cautionary Tale of Technology Run Riot

December 12th, 2017

27:12

As you ponder which shiny new gadgets to put in your children’s stockings this holiday season, beware of the story of the Abbott family, whose lives …

Butter vs. Margarine: one of America's most bizarre food battles

November 14th, 2017

20:53

It’s one of the most bizarre episodes in American food history: when butter and margarine were at war. What you choose to spread on your toast might seem like a boring subject, but it turns out to be fascinating and …

Grandmothers Matter: Some surprisingly controversial theories of human longevity

October 17th, 2017

18:07

Baby horses and giraffes walk soon after they’re born, and they can feed and take care of themselves pretty quickly, too. A one-year-old person, on …

Refugee Doctors: Escape is only the first challenge

September 12th, 2017

30:39

Though they lived decades apart, Adolphe Dessauer and Abdelwahhab Azzawi share similar stories. They were both esteemed physicians who faced violence …

High-Tech and Amish: Using 21st-century medicine to maintain a 300-year-old way of life.

August 15th, 2017

27:12

There are no parents in the world who want to see their child sick. Often the illness is no big deal—you follow doctor’s orders and your kid gets …

Political Science: Out of the Lab and into the Streets

June 13th, 2017

21:22

On April 22, 2017, more than one million people in 600 cities around the world took to the streets in the name of science. Many were scientists themselves, and quite a few donned lab coats. Some were protesting for the …

Rethinking Ink: Lasers, Tattoo Removal, and Second Chances

May 2nd, 2017

20:55

There was a time when tattoos were taboo, and you thought long and hard before getting one. Today 20 percent of American adults are inked. Tattoos …

Making Senses: How Biohackers Are Using Artificial Perceptions to Enhance Reality

April 4th, 2017

25:27

Most of us are content to use our existing five senses to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch our way through the world. But an increasing number of people called biohackers are not satisfied with watching the everyday …

The Smell of Shame: How Deodorant Became Omnipresent in America

March 15th, 2017

15:44

Fizzy Water: The Unnatural History of a Carbonated Drink

February 16th, 2017

13:23

We all know hydration is important to health, but many people find water boring to drink. Juice and Coke aren’t boring, but they aren’t very healthy either. One way to transform water into a more exciting drink is to …

Second Skin: The Unexpected Origin of the Sports Bra

November 8th, 2016

17:09

The sports bra is omnipresent in today’s sports landscape. But the current iteration of this nifty item is less than 40 years old, and it arrived …

(Natural) Childbirth

October 4th, 2016

30:20

Our producer is pregnant. For the past nine months people have asked what her birth plan is, which to her seems like asking what kind of weather she …

Best of 2016: Insiders vs. Outsiders in Medicine

September 6th, 2016

13:52

Over the past year we’ve brought you stories about tacos, taxidermy, and DDT. But at the same time we’ve been thinking about and researching medicine—specifically, how outsiders to the field have helped change the ways …

Human-Centered Therapy . . . with Robots

August 9th, 2016

28:20

Now that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes post-traumatic stress disorder as a significant issue among veterans, they’ve uncovered another problem—there aren’t enough therapists to go around. Virtual …

This Is Not Your Great-Grandfather’s Taxidermy

July 5th, 2016

26:06

Have you noticed any antlered rabbits mounted on the wall of your local coffee shop? Or maybe some geese with butterfly wings? That’s because …

Babes of Science, a Guest Episode

June 7th, 2016

26:17

We’re guessing you know who Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton are, and maybe you’re even familiar with Linus Pauling or Roald Hoffmann. But it turns …

The Ancient Chemistry Inside Your Taco

May 4th, 2016

15:34

When you bite into a taco, quesadilla, or anything else involving a traditionally made corn tortilla, your taste buds get to experience the results …

Power in the Blood: When Religion and Medicine Meet in Your Veins

April 5th, 2016

25:42

Everyone knows blood is powerful. The ancient Greeks realized it, Jesus understood it, Dracula certainly recognized it, and your doctor still knows …

Do You Need That Kidney? Rethinking the Ethics of Organ Transplants

March 1st, 2016

21:11

Scientists experimented with skin and organ transplants for a long time before they finally met with success in the mid-20th century. Now surgeons are expert at performing transplants. The only problem? There aren’t …

DDT: The Britney Spears of Chemicals

February 2nd, 2016

15:53

Americans have had a long, complicated relationship with the pesticide DDT, or dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, if you want to get fancy. First we loved it, then we hated it, then we realized it might not be as bad as …

Is Space the Place? Trying to Save Humanity by Mining Asteroids

January 5th, 2016

22:21

2015 was a good year for outer space. Star Wars: Episode VII came out, NASA started hiring astronauts again, SpaceX successfully launched and

Sex and Gender: What We Know and Don’t Know

December 1st, 2015

24:01

Several years ago historian of medicine Alice Dreger found herself in a room full of intersexed people, individuals with reproductive or sexual …

Stealing Industry Secrets: Not as Easy as You Think

December 1st, 2015

26:27

Hackers. Spies. Secrets. This is the menacing language of industrial espionage. But how easy is it to plunder a company for its ideas? Not very, says …

Genetic Engineering and Organic Farming: An Unexpected Marriage

October 6th, 2015

34:59

Celebrities, politicians, and scientists have fiercely debated the safety of using genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in food. It remains to be …

Where Have All the FEMA Trailers Gone?

September 2nd, 2015

27:59

Ten years ago Hurricanes Katrina and Rita tore into the Gulf Coast and displaced more than one million residents. For many of these people, trailers …

Science and the Supernatural in the 17th Century

July 29th, 2015

26:17

Most of us are familiar with the achievements of Galileo and Newton, but who were their peers? And what was it like to practice science in the 16th and 17th centuries? Come geek out with us as we travel back in time and …

Distillations Turns 200

June 30th, 2015

18:36

This is Distillations’s 200th episode, and we’re celebrating! We pored through hundreds of shows and pieced together some of the funniest, grossest, and most surprising moments in Distillations history.

Still chuckling …

Acts of God, Acts of Men: When We Turn Nature into a Weapon

May 26th, 2015

36:16

Mother Nature can do a lot of damage. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and droughts destroy landscapes and ruin lives. But what happens when humans are the ones creating these disasters? This episode of Distillations

Old Brains, New Brains: The Human Mind, Past and Present

April 29th, 2015

43:40

The early days of neuroscience relied on tragedy to strike—a rabies infection, a botched lobotomy—before doctors could peek inside the brains of …

Fads and Faith: Belief vs. Fact in the Struggle for Health

March 31st, 2015

43:34

In 2014 the United States had 650 reported cases of measles, a disease made preventable by a vaccine introduced 30 years ago. The majority of these measles victims were children whose parents chose not to vaccinate …

Innovation and Obsolescence: The Life, Death, and Occasional Rebirth of Technologies

February 13th, 2015

38:39

Some technologies flash in the pan so quickly they hardly leave a trace (Google Glass anyone?); while others seem to stick around long past their use …

Trash Talk: The Persistence of Waste

January 20th, 2015

39:40

In case you hadn’t noticed, during our short time on Earth we humans have created a lot of stuff. Some of it is life-altering, like the device you’re looking at right now, and some of it is pretty silly, like those …

Life with HIV: Success without a Cure?

December 16th, 2014

38:58

Thirty years ago an HIV diagnosis was a death sentence. Today, sophisticated drug cocktails known as highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, have dramatically changed the fates of people with the disease. They …

Babies on Demand: Reproduction in a Technological Age

November 18th, 2014

40:28

At the beginning of the 19th century women in the United States had an average of seven or eight children. By 1900 they had only three or four, and today 35% of Americans have exactly two children. How did this happen? …

Fogs of War: The Many Lives of Chemical Weapons

October 21st, 2014

44:21

Chemical weapons have played a chilling role in human history, ever since they were first used in World War I.  As reports of more recent use …

Wake up and Smell the Story: Sniffing out Health and Sickness

September 23rd, 2014

43:59

If you asked people which of their senses they most feared losing, they'd probably say sight or hearing. But what about the ability to smell? This episode of Distillations examines what is perhaps our most underrated …

The Teeth Beneath Your Feet: Oddities in Urban Archaeology

August 12th, 2014

36:51

Where can you find a teacup, the molar of a goat, and an arrowhead all in one place? At an urban archaeology site, that’s where. This episode of

Intoxication and Civilization: Beer's Ancient Past

June 30th, 2014

30:47

This show takes on the frothy subject of beer, and explores the science, culture, and history behind the suds.

First, Bob and Michal go back to …

Alchemy's Rainbow: Pigment Science and the Art of Conservation

May 5th, 2014

30:35

This episode explores the colorful (and sometimes risk-filled) history of pigments and painters, and the conservators who save paintings from the …

Meet Joe Palca: A Radio Story About Making Radio Stories

March 18th, 2014

9:04

Joe Palca is one of the best science storytellers out there. In his 20 years as an NPR science correspondent he’s covered all sorts of obscure …

Drawing History: Telling the Stories of Science through Comics and Graphic Novels

February 4th, 2014

21:12

How do you show what the inside of an atom looks like? Or how a scientist feels in the moment of discovery? We decided to approach the human stories of science in a new way: by visualizing them.

First we visit author …

Why the Chicken Became a Nugget and Other Tales of Processed Food

December 20th, 2013

27:25

Have you ever wondered how chicken nuggets are made? Or what propylene glycol monostearate, monocalcium phosphate, or other listed ingredients are …

Digging Up the Bodies: Debunking CSI and Other Forensics Myths

December 3rd, 2013

18:08

Zombies! How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Zombie Apocalypse

October 22nd, 2013

35:44

What can zombies teach us about our fears of survival? CHF's Michal Meyer and Bob Kenworthy talk to Deanna Day, a CHF fellow, and Robert Hicks, …

Atomic Power and Promise: What's Become of Our Nuclear Golden Age?

October 21st, 2013

33:41

Some say we are on the verge of a bright future in which nuclear power will play a major role in responding to climate change. Others say that we …

Episode 181: Chemotherapy

September 3rd, 2013

17:36

Ancient Greek doctors knew about it, but could do nothing about the scourge we know as cancer. Producer Ed Prosser interviews historian Viviane …

Episode 180: Best of Distillations #12

August 19th, 2013

18:39

Episode 179: Best of Distillations #11

August 5th, 2013

16:02

Episode 178: In the Air

July 22nd, 2013

15:36

It’s hard to make decisions without information, that’s why some researchers in the San Francisco area are collecting carbon dioxide data at the …

Episode 177:The Old Show

July 8th, 2013

18:02

Join us for the third installment of The Stages of Life, spotlighting the chemistry found in childhood, adulthood, and old age. We start by looking …

Episode 176: The Adult Show

June 24th, 2013

15:04

Today’s episode centers on adulthood. First, Pennsylvania State University’s Suzy Scherf tells us what’s going on in the brains of adolescents. Then, …

Episode 175: The Kid Show

June 11th, 2013

17:29

Today we begin a three-part series, The Stages of Life, spotlighting the chemistry found in childhood, adulthood, and old age. First, a look at the …

Episode 174: Water Webs

May 28th, 2013

15:12

On today's show we look at how delicate desert ecosystems are affected by climate change. Then the impact of toxic metals on Rocky Mountain streams.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:33 Introduction

01:10 Feature: …

Episode 173: Power Up

May 14th, 2013

17:07

On today's show we look at the modern power grid, on the brink of a new era. First, why the smart grid matters. Then, the critical mission of …

Episode 172: On Beauty

April 29th, 2013

15:26

On today's show we look at questionable appearance enhancers. First The Beauty Historian shares some shocking beauty rituals of yore. Then a look at how Brazilian Blowouts are making salon workers sick.

SHOW CLOCK

Episode 171: Underground Worlds

April 16th, 2013

16:36

On today's show we investigate the science beneath our streets. First how a team of amateur speleologists is keeping Howe Caverns safe for future …

Episode 170: Urban Agriculture

April 1st, 2013

18:34

On today's show we learn how advances in urban agriculture are providing new access to fresh food. First how hundreds of tons of fishbones are …

Episode 169: Neighborhood Preservation

March 18th, 2013

17:12

On today's show we see old bones made new again. First the ongoing restoration of Philadelphia's 19th Street Baptist Church. Then a discussion about …

Episode 168: So Argon Walks Into a Bar...

March 4th, 2013

21:39

On today's show chemistry takes center stage. First, why science and comedy make gut-busting bedfellows. Then the history of science as popular …

Episode 167: Cold War Chemistry

February 18th, 2013

15:04

During decades of tension between the United States and the Soviet Union over the course of the Cold War, both sides wielded science as a weapon. …

Episode 166: Alchemy After Dark

February 4th, 2013

14:00

Just in time for Valentine's Day we explore the sexier side of alchemy. Historian Joel Klein explains how alchemists used passionate prose to disguise the details of their secret experiments.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening …

Episode 165: In Good Taste

January 22nd, 2013

16:10

Today your taste buds take center stage. First,how super-tasters' genetic gift might afford them better health. Then the art of imitation flavors.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:41 'A World of Pure Imagination'

Episode 164: Bones

January 7th, 2013

16:25

On today's show we peel back our skin. First, an innovative technology that could provide early detection of osteoporosis. Then, a look at stone man …

Episode 163: A Day in the Life - Night

December 23rd, 2012

15:43

We wrap up the three-part series A Day in the Life, spotlighting the common chemistry of morning, noon, and night. Today, how popular insomnia …

Episode 162: A Day in the Life - Noon

December 10th, 2012

15:39

We continue the three-part series A Day in the Life, spotlighting the common chemistry of morning, noon, and night. Today, a look at the mysterious ingredients in many kitchen staples and the reason why even so-called …

Episode 161: A Day in the Life - Morning

November 26th, 2012

14:21

Today we begin the three-part series A Day in the Life, spotlighting the common chemistry of morning, noon, and night. First, a look at what's lurking in our bathroom products and what experts say about the controversy …

Episode 160: Teflon

November 12th, 2012

15:15

Treasure or toxin? Today we follow Teflon's rise from happy accident to indispensable tool at work, home, and even war.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening …

Episode 159: Kean on Genes

October 29th, 2012

12:23

Today we welcome back author Sam Kean to discuss the secrets and surprises contained in our DNA. He talks to Distillations’ executive producer Jennifer Dionisio.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

Episode 158: The Alchemical Quest

October 15th, 2012

13:59

On today's show a special conversation between two alchemy experts: James Voelkel, who curated CHF's exhibit The Alchemical Quest, and Lawrence Principe, author of The Secrets of Alchemy.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening …

Episode 157: Smoke and Mirrors

October 1st, 2012

On today's show we track the evolution of smog from symbol of industrial progress to public health catastrophe.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

Episode 156: Hard to Stomach

September 17th, 2012

On today's show we test your gag reflex. First an exploration of rank, funky cheeses made from your own body's bacteria. Then the history of how …

Episode 155: Shipwrecks

September 4th, 2012

15:36

Ahoy, mateys. Join us on the ocean floor. On today's show we look at sunken ships: how they are preserved, and what they can tell us about civilizations from the past.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:50 Introduction

Episode 154: Fast and Slow

August 20th, 2012

Good science takes time... or not? On today's show we explore the extremes. First the longest-running experiment in the world; then the near-instant chemical reaction that helps airbags protect you in a crash.

SHOW …

Episode 153: Best Of Distillations #10

August 3rd, 2012

We bring you some of our favorite segments from past Distillations episodes this week: attempts to contact aliens in space and the secret behind the …

Episode 152: Best of Distillations #9

July 23rd, 2012

We bring you some of our favorite segments from past Distillations episodes this week: animal communication in the Sonoran Desert and the toll of …

Episode 151: Tears

July 9th, 2012

Today we wrap up the three-part series Blood, Sweat, and Tears. First how it feels to lose your ability to cry; then why onions bring on the waterworks.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:42 Introduction

01:33 …

Episode 150: Sweat

June 22nd, 2012

Today we continue the three-part series Blood, Sweat, and Tears. First the history of deodorants; then experiments on how perspiration might diagnose diseases like schizophrenia.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:43 …

Episode 149: Blood

June 8th, 2012

Today we begin the three-part series Blood, Sweat, and Tears. First how one man solved the mystery of blood function; then how researchers will bust …

Episode 148: Across the Pond

May 26th, 2012

15:25

On today's episode we cross the Atlantic to learn what makes a perfect cuppa. Then we learn about the surprising health benefits of Marmite, a spreadable food item people love to hate.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

Episode 147: Babies

May 11th, 2012

Big eyes, soft skin, squeezable cheeks. No doubt, babies are adorable. But on today's show we take a break from our cooing to examine some more …

Episode 146: Something in the Air

April 27th, 2012

Sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose? We all know what that means: allergies. On today's show we look at pet dander, a common cause. Then we talk to a researcher dissecting the makeup of dust.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening …

Episode 145: Asbestos

April 13th, 2012

14:02

Asbestos, once a miracle product, is now a plague on the aging infrastructure to which it's bound. Today we explore a Pennsylvania town where a wide swath of asbestos-contaminated land stands capped and unusable. Then …

Episode 144: Mystery of Mass (Spec)

March 30th, 2012

On today's episode we look at the diverse history of mass spectrometry, starting with a single question: exactly what is it? Then we dip into our …

Episode 143: Fairyland of Chemistry

March 16th, 2012

On today's episode we travel back in time to the Victorian era, when innovative teachers used fairies to convey complicated ideas in chemistry. We adapted one of these whimsical lessons into Distillations' first-ever …

Episode 142: Midcentury Mutants

March 2nd, 2012

On today's episode we look at the real and imagined implications of genetic modification in the middle of the 20th century. First, the early promise of plant modification. Then how this science inspired classic sci-fi …

Episode 141: Disaster Recovery

February 17th, 2012

On today's episode we look at how environments recover after natural and manmade disasters. First, we hear about how ecosystems repair themselves …

Episode 140: Swapping Spit

February 3rd, 2012

Pucker up! On today's episode we investigate the kiss. First, what's in the saliva we share with each other? Then we interview Sheril Kirshenbaum, author of The Science of Kissing, to find out why our ancestors starting …

Episode 139: The Brain on Sports

January 20th, 2012

On today's episode of Distillations we're gearing up for this weekend's playoff games with a look at the science of sports. First, we learn how athletes go the distance. Then we look into the brain of a fan.

SHOW CLOCK

Episode 138: Your Genome

January 6th, 2012

On today's episode of Distillations we go straight to the source ... your DNA. First, we learn how technological advances are putting the dream of a …

Episode 137: Cocktails

December 23rd, 2011

Cheers! On today's episode of Distillations we belly up to the bar to learn about distilled spirits. Then we look ahead to the next morning to determine if our tried-and-true hangover cures have any scientific merit.

Episode 136: Good Vibrations

December 9th, 2011

On today's episode of Distillations we investigate if there's science behind the sweet sounds of a Stradivari violin and learn how chemistry …

Episode 135: Black Friday

November 25th, 2011

Step away from the sale rack! On today's episode of Distillations we examine your brain under the influence of shopping, as well as a potential health hazard found in receipts.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 …

Episode 134: Is Anybody Out There?

November 11th, 2011

How did we get here and who else is out there? These questions have nagged at humans for centuries. On today's episode of Distillations we explore …

Episode 133: Halloween Candy

October 28th, 2011

13:17

Trick or treat! On today's episode of Distillations we give you a taste of both. First, try to choke back our explanation of a Dutch candy that …

Episode 132: Harvest

October 14th, 2011

12:05

Today's show explores two very different ways people hope to protect future harvests. First, follow us to the Doomsday Vault, which protects 700,000 …

Episode 131: Dinosaurs

September 30th, 2011

11:53

Today's show goes back in time to try to pinpoint what exactly the dinosaurs were like. First, we reveal evidence that the oldest known bird might …

Episode 130: Our Chemical Landscape – The Wild

September 16th, 2011

12:39

Today we wrap up 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 wild, and how its species-in-residence …

Episode 129: Taste

September 2nd, 2011

12:59

Today's show explores one of our favorite senses: taste. First, revist the tongue map you may have studied as a kid. Next, learn how a natural sweetener might benefit waistlines—and even the world.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 …

Episode 128: Our Chemical Landscape – The Farm

August 19th, 2011

15:18

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 farm, and how crop production has …

Episode 127: Best of Distillations #8

August 5th, 2011

14:51

We bring you some of our favorite segments from past Distillations episodes this week: mesmerism, the impacts of climate change, and why its chic to be a geek..

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

00:44 …

Episode 126: Best of Distillations #7

July 22nd, 2011

12:50

We bring you some of our favorite segments from past Distillations episodes this week: Palmer the Poisoner, medicinal maggots, and the placebo effect.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

00:49 Palmer …

Episode 125: Chem-moo-stry

July 8th, 2011

12:16

Today the Distillations team delves into the weird and wonderful world of its favorite barnyard animal: the cow. First find out why so few …

Episode 124: Our Chemical Landscape – The Suburb

June 24th, 2011

14:36

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' …

Episode 123: Under the Sea

June 10th, 2011

12:18

Today Distillations welcomes guest producer Ari Daniel Shapiro, host of the podcast Ocean Gazing, who takes us on a tour of the ocean, revealing how optics can evaluate long-term changes in the oceanic environment and …

Episode 122: Our Chemical Landscape – The City

May 27th, 2011

14:35

In honor of the International Year of Chemistry, today we begin the four-part series Our Chemical Landscape. These shows look at how science has shaped the city, the suburbs, the farm, and the wild. Today's episode is …

Episode 121: Geek Chic

May 13th, 2011

11:21

Today's show wonders if it's becoming chic to be a geek. First, we see how pop culture portrayals of scientists have boosted their reputations with …

Episode 120: Nuclear Medicine

April 29th, 2011

12:25

In the midst of Japan's nuclear crisis, it's easy to forget that radioactive isotopes are often employed to save human lives. This week we look at diagnostic and therapeutic applications of nuclear medicine.

SHOW CLOCK

Episode 119: Climate Change

April 15th, 2011

12:54

One of this century's great challenges will be mitigating the effects of our steadily warming planet. In today's episode we explore the consequences of our changing climate.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 …

Episode 118: Placebos

April 1st, 2011

11:04

This week, we celebrate April Fools' Day with a little medical trickery. First, we learn about Franz Mesmer's questionable 18th-century cures. Next …

Episode 117: Women's History Month

March 18th, 2011

11:56

TIn 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 …

Episode 116: Crime Fighters

March 3rd, 2011

14:32

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 …

Episode 115: Black History Month

February 18th, 2011

11:58

In honor of Black History Month, we reveal the lesser known accomplishments of George Washington Carver, and also pull from our oral history …

Episode 114: Elements of Expression

February 4th, 2011

12:00

In this episode we learn about how the mass production of oil paints spawned a new artistic movement and get a tour of artist Dove Bradshaw's studio.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

01:43 The …

Episode 113: Burning Rubber

January 21st, 2011

12:36

Rubber has played a shockingly dramatic role in our political and military history. In today's episode we revisit the consequences of the natural …

Episode 112: Nuclear Power

January 7th, 2011

11:11

On this episode we learn about the history and future of nuclear power, in the U.S. and abroad.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

01:08 History of the Nuclear Power Industry

04:13 Interview with Keith …

Episode 111: A Distillations Carol

December 24th, 2010

13:46

On 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.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:30 Introduction

00:44 …

Episode 110: Essential Elements - Air

December 10th, 2010

13:17

This week we continue our four-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.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

Episode 109: East Meets West

November 26th, 2010

9:10

On today's show we look at the Western perspective of Eastern medicine. First yogic breathing; then acupuncture.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:27 Introduction

00:59 Acupuncture

03:29 Yogic Breathing

08:25 Closing …

Episode 108: Essential Elements - Fire

November 12th, 2010

13:15

This week we continue our four-part series about earth, air, water, and fire. Today’s episode is about fire and how humans have tried to protect themselves from it.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

Episode 107: Medical Gross Out

October 29th, 2010

15:30

Today’s show will have your skin crawling… literally. In honor of Halloween we bring you a show revealing a scarier (and squirmier) side of science.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:27 Introduction

00:54 Forensic …

Episode 106: Essential Elements – Water

October 22nd, 2010

14:31

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.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

01:28 Portable …

Episode 105: Periodic Table Contents

October 8th, 2010

14:04

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 and hear an excerpt from Primo Levi’s book The Periodic Table.

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Episode 104: Essential Elements – Earth

September 24th, 2010

16:52

This week we begin our four-part series about earth, air, water, and fire. Today’s episode is about earth and the Marcellus Shale.

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00:00 …

Episode 103: Herbal Remedy

September 10th, 2010

13:15

Before pharmaceuticals existed, all medicines had to come from natural sources—like plants. On this week’s show we focus on such remedies.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

01:24 Digitalis, aka …

Episode 102: Best of Distillations #6

August 27th, 2010

14:06

We continue to bring you some of our favorite segments from past Distillations episodes this week: Senescence, Richard Holmes, and Boy Rocketeer.

Episode 101: Best of Distillations #5

August 13th, 2010

12:12

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.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

Episode 100: Birthday Episode

July 30th, 2010

13:33

Distillations marks its 100th episode this week! To celebrate, we revisit segments from some of our past shows and bring you new developments on electric car batteries, hair mats cleaning up oil spills, and the Obama …

Episode 99: Summer BBQ

July 16th, 2010

11:55

Halfway through July, we are just about in the middle of summer. So we thought it would be appropriate to talk about meat and barbecuing in this …

Episode 98: Climate Engineering

July 2nd, 2010

11:54

As atmospheric carbon dioxide increases, does the world have to get hotter? Controlling the earth’s weather and climate is this week’s topic.

SHOW …

Episode 97: Immortality

June 18th, 2010

10:57

If you could live forever, would you? Though most believe this to be a hypothetical question, there are some scientific processes that impart eternal …

Episode 96: Infamous Science

June 4th, 2010

11:47

Innovation can be messy work, and sometimes outright disastrous. This week on Distillations we’re looking at some of the 20th century’s most infamous scientific missteps.

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00:31 …

Episode 95: Cleaning Up -- Retro Edition

May 21st, 2010

10:11

This week we’re digging into our archives and looking back at one of our first episodes of Distillations.

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00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

00:59 Commentary: Trash Island

03:21 Element of the Week: …

Episode 94: Scientific Visions

May 7th, 2010

12:17

The future is now. Distillations, therefore, is pausing to compare what people once predicted the modern world would look like to the actual reality …

Episode 93: Kids’ Science

April 23rd, 2010

13:06

In honor of National Lab Day in May this episode focuses on the scientist in every kid.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

00:54 Chemical Agent: Bangsite

02:32 Feature: Kids Doing Science

06:51 Boy …

Episode 92: Scientific Collaborations

April 9th, 2010

11:41

April is National Poetry Month and Distillations is celebrating by looking at the connections between science and literature.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

01:26 Chemical Agent: Opium

03:41 …

Episode 91: Marvels and Ciphers

March 26th, 2010

10:30

In early March 2010 the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s museum opened its newest temporary exhibit, Marvels and Ciphers: A Look Inside the Flask.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:40 Introduction

01:05 Chemical Agent: …

Episode 90: Useful Waste

March 12th, 2010

11:28

What’s better than recycling? Reducing waste! OK, maybe not better, but equally important. In this week’s episode of Distillations we learn about industrial-waste reduction.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 …

Episode 89: Plastic World

February 26th, 2010

12:04

Love it or hate it, plastic is hard to avoid. This week we take a look at plastic made from corn and find out just how biodegradable it really is.

Episode 88: A Sense of Scent

February 12th, 2010

12:00

On this week’s episode of Distillations we’re talking about what the nose knows. First up we learn about the nose itself—how it works and how losing your sense of smell can affect your day-to-day life.

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00:00 …

Episode 87: Scientific Journeys

January 29th, 2010

12:31

Scientific discoveries can be dramatic tales of unexpected adventure. They can also be personal explorations of intuition and faith.

SHOW CLOCK

Episode 86: In Sickness and in Health

January 15th, 2010

12:09

Whether it’s preventing illness by vaccines or avoiding germs, this episode is about getting sick and staying healthy.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

01:22 Chemical Agent: Meningitis Vaccine

03:27 …

Episode 85: International Year in Review

January 1st, 2010

11:57

Another year has come and gone, but the impact of scientific discoveries made and concerns raised will be felt in 2010 and beyond.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

01:20 Asia: Water Management in a …

Episode 84: Crystals

December 18th, 2009

12:00

There are many different types of crystals we encounter, ranging from tiny to extremely large in size.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 …

Episode 83: Fellows in Action

December 4th, 2009

12:28

What do Isaac Newton, yeast, and Harold Urey have in common? They all come under the research microscope of Chemical Heritage Foundation fellows.

Episode 82: Food Myths

November 20th, 2009

12:15

In this episode of Distillations we clarify common misconceptions about food.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

01:18 Chemical Agent: Sucralose

03:30 Chemistry in Your Cupboard: Detox Diets

06:04 A …

Episode 81: Light

November 6th, 2009

11:58

Let there be light! Whether it comes from the sky or a bulb, we’d be lost without it.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

01:01 …

Episode 80: Autumn

October 23rd, 2009

11:42

Autumn! Learn about leaf changes, the three sisters, and apple cider. Chemical Agent: Senescence.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

Episode 79: Changing Phases

October 9th, 2009

11:47

Everything falls into one of three phases of matter: solid, liquid, or gas. Or does it?

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

01:11 …

Episode 78: Public Science

September 25th, 2009

11:51

Science isn’t some exalted ideal confined to labs and classrooms—it’s all around us. In this episode we share different ways that scientists have reached out to educate and enlighten the masses.

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00:00 …

Episode 77: Innovations and Inventions

September 11th, 2009

12:05

Every year the Chemical Heritage Foundation holds Innovation Day—an event for people to get together to discuss and learn about science’s exciting …

Episode 76: Working Class Chemistry

August 28th, 2009

11:27

In honor of Labor Day this episode of Distillations looks at how chemistry has affected the work of a variety of professionals—for better or worse.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

00:59 Chemical …

Episode 75: Best of Distillations #4

August 14th, 2009

11:33

Distillations is sharing more of our favorite episodes this week: free radicals, art forgery, and snoring.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

00:48 Chemical Agent: Free Radicals

02:42 Feature: …

Episode 74: Best of Distillations #3

July 31st, 2009

10:41

It’s almost the end of the summer; so the Distillations crew is taking a look back at some of our favorite episodes this week: panspermia, umami, and pheromone perfumes.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:40 …

Episode 73: Brave New Worlds

July 17th, 2009

12:28

Birth, once nature's miracle, is increasingly manipulated by humans and regulated by society. In this week’s episode we look at a range of …

Episode 72: Space and Place

July 3rd, 2009

11:58

Location, location, location! In this week’s episode we talk about why and how certain spaces are chosen and used. Chemical Agent: Bromine.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

01:07 Chemical Agent: …

Episode 71: Breakfast

June 19th, 2009

11:50

Rise and Shine! Today we look at some of the most essential elements of a satisfying breakfast.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

01:21 Chemical Agent: Pectin

03:34 Chemistry in Your Cupboard: Butter …

Episode 70: The Chemistry of Dentistry

June 5th, 2009

11:16

Distillations takes a look at the history and chemistry of dentistry. We find out how baking soda cleans your teeth and lidocaine numbs your gums.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

01:15 Chemical …

Episode 69: Lab Safety

May 22nd, 2009

11:44

Laboratory science can be a risky business. While some of these substances’ dangers are easily mitigated by following proper safety procedures, …

Episode 68: Integrated Circuits

May 8th, 2009

11:29

This year is the 50th anniversary of the integrated circuit! The IC is an important part of many electronic technologies we use today, from your iPod …

Episode 67: Baseball

April 24th, 2009

11:23

After several long, cold months baseball season has finally begun! From Philadelphia, the home of 2008 World Series Champions, we bring you a show …

Episode 66: Cleaning Green

April 10th, 2009

11:55

It is officially spring — time to open the windows, let the fresh air in, and sweep those winter blues away! Learn about acetic acid and its cleaning …

Episode 65: Going to the Dogs

March 27th, 2009

10:54

Nearly 60% of American households have at least one pet, and nearly two-thirds of pet owners had more than one. That’s a lot of dogs, cats, turtles, …

Episode 64: sLowlife

March 13th, 2009

11:52

Plants are not the silent, stationary creatures we imagine them to be. They drift, stretch, and dance in search of nutrients, water, and sunlight. …

Episode 63: Biofuel

February 27th, 2009

11:40

Fossil fuel has gotten us into all sorts of trouble lately. Gas production and consumption has caused international conflict, wrecked havoc on our planet, and lightened our wallets at the gas pump. Why not turn to …

Episode 62: Chemical Romance

February 13th, 2009

12:01

It’s Valentine’s Day this weekend, and love is in the air. Let’s learn how atoms find each other with an examination of chemical bonds. Chemical Agent: Free Radicals.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

Episode 61: Space Science

February 6th, 2009

11:58

Space, the Final Frontier! Mention the chemistry of space and you’re likely to hear bad jokes about Tang or the behavior of liquids in zero gravity. But it turns out that there’s an entire field—astrochemistry—dedicated …

Episode 60: Professional Networks

January 30th, 2009

11:42

Today Distillations is finding out more about professional networks—particularly in the field of chemistry.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 …

Episode 59: Winter Sports

January 23rd, 2009

12:00

We’re hitting the slopes—and tending our wounds—on today’s episode of Distillations. We start off with the science behind sports gels. Next, find out more about the synthetic fabrics. Finally, learn about the latest …

Episode 58: Presidents & Policy 

January 16th, 2009

11:48

Distillations is taking a look at the presidential side of chemistry. First we learn about stem cells and the controversy surrounding their research. Next we find out why 21-gun salutes are safe and not so smoky in …

Episode 57: Library & Information Services

January 9th, 2009

11:52

Let’s go to the library! This week we take a field trip to that venerable institution where great reading abounds and shushing up is de rigueur.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

01:04 Chemical Agent: …

Episode 56: New Year's Resolutions

January 2nd, 2009

12:06

What do you resolve to do in 2009? Get in shape? Improve your eating habits? Stop smoking? We cover them all on this week’s show.Our Mystery Solved! …

Episode 55: Anniversary

December 26th, 2008

10:59

We are marking the one year anniversary of Distillations this week! To celebrate we’re looking back at the year 2008 and its noteworthy occasions: first, boron, whose 200th birthday was this year, then, the Nobel Prize.

Episode 54: Holiday Greetings 2008

December 19th, 2008

11:21

Thanks to J. J. Thomson‘s plum pudding model of the atom, chemistry will be forever associated with 19th-century British Christmas traditions. His …

Episode 53: Faking It

December 12th, 2008

12:00

The truth behind the fake—this week Distillations explores the science of forgery. Some forgery is known and expected, such as fake meat products for vegetarians, while other fakes are meant to deceive…think imitated …

Episode 52: Wine

December 5th, 2008

10:54

Americans are still relatively new to consuming wine—but they do so with gusto during the holiday season. On today’s show we take a look at the …

Episode 51: Global Health

November 28th, 2008

12:01

Monday, December 1, is the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. In honor of this campaign, Distillations is considering global health.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

00:58 Element of the Week: Silver

Episode 50: Children's Health

November 21st, 2008

12:01

Nothing is more important to parents than the health of their children, and advances in chemistry and pharmaceuticals have made it possible for children to receive the best care that science has to offer. However, …

Episode 49: Eating

November 14th, 2008

12:00

Eating is one of life’s simple pleasures, but the chemical process behind it is actually quite complex. Balancing the right minerals with good taste is no easy matter.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

Episode 48: Alchemy

November 7th, 2008

11:58

Alchemy is about a lot more than turning lead into gold or making the philosopher’s stone. Until the 17th century, alchemists worked hard in their …

Episode 47: Making Up

October 31st, 2008

12:04

Happy Halloween from Distillations! This week we’re looking at the world of cosmetics, which seems fitting for a day when many people wear makeup who might not normally.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 …

Episode 46: Charging Up

October 24th, 2008

12:00

The first cars didn’t run on gas—they ran on electricity. Over a century later, the high cost of fuel has finally forced automakers to take the possibility of battery-powered cars seriously. On today’s show we look at …

Episode 45: Making Modernity   

October 17th, 2008

11:58

This week we celebrate the opening of the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s new museum!

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

01:04 …

Episode 44: Sweet Dreams

October 10th, 2008

11:44

There’s nothing quite like a good night’s rest to recharge the body and restore the spirits. Today’s show looks at the science of sleep—and insomnia.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

01:28 Element of …

Episode 43: Cause and Effect

October 3rd, 2008

11:40

According to Newton’s third law, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In this week’s episode we explore causes and their effects in several different ways.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 …

Episode 42: Women in Chemistry

September 26th, 2008

12:26

Breaking through the glass ceiling can be tough, especially when you are a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field. This week’s episode takes a look at women in chemistry.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:30 …

Episode 41: Self-Experimentation

September 19th, 2008

11:54

This week we delve into the world of experimenting on oneself. Many scientists have both knowingly and unknowingly used themselves as guinea pigs in the lab.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

01:23 …

Episode 40: Agriculture

September 12th, 2008

11:59

All over the Midwest, farmers are cranking up their combines for the corn harvest. Modern agriculture depends on science and technology at every step …

Episode 39: Photography

September 5th, 2008

11:57

In the eleventh century the first camera obscura was invented, helping artists draw. It would be another eight centuries before people figured out …

Episode 38: Best of Distillations #2

August 22nd, 2008

9:32

We continue to look back at some of our favorite episodes this week at Distillations.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

00:48 Element of the Week: Black Bile

02:12 A Conversation with Jackie Duffin

Episode 37: Best of Distillations #1

August 22nd, 2008

11:57

This week we’re looking back at some of our favorite Distillations episodes.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

00:50 Element of …

Episode 36: Olympics

August 15th, 2008

11:43

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 …

Episode 35: Things We Wear

August 8th, 2008

12:14

This week we discuss the chemistry behind what we wear. Many modern fabrics include synthetic materials, and these synthetics would not be possible …

Episode 34: Criminal Chemistry

August 1st, 2008

11:51

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 …

Episode 33: Molecular Gastronomy

July 25th, 2008

12:00

The term molecular gastronomy can sound pretentious, but food writer Harold McGee describes it as “the science of deliciousness.” Learn more about …

Episode 32: Religious Experience

July 18th, 2008

11:44

There’s an old stereotype that portrays science and religion as inevitably mired in conflict. On today’s show we look past the clichés—evolution and …

Episode 31: Motherhood

July 11th, 2008

12:08

What makes motherhood scientific? This week, we try to answer, with a look at motherhood, pregnancy, and science.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

01:06 Element of the Week: Curium

03:43 A …

Episode 30: American Chemistry

July 4th, 2008

11:06

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 …

Episode 29: Left Behind

June 27th, 2008

12:14

Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. So when you take your garbage out to the curb every week, do you ever stop to think about where it’s going? In this week’s episode, Jori Lewis explores how New York City is …

Episode 28: Summer

June 20th, 2008

8:42

Summer 2008 officially begins today, June 20, at 7:50 EDT (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). Here at Distillations, we’re celebrating with a show …

Episode 27: Illumination

June 13th, 2008

12:04

Illumination has been a quest of humans for centuries now—both in terms of the cerebral and the physical. In today’s episode we focus on the physical type of illumination.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 …

Episode 26: Performance

June 6th, 2008

11:43

Baseball, track, swimming, biking—is there any sport that hasn’t suffered a scandal in the past few years? It turns out that the obvious …

Episode 25: The Chemistry of Time

May 30th, 2008

11:30

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 …

Episode 24: Beer and Brewing

May 23rd, 2008

10:53

What do Isaac Newton, yeast, and Harold Urey have in common? They all come under the research microscope of Chemical Heritage Foundation fellows.

Episode 23: Preservation

May 16th, 2008

12:22

Entropy is defined as the degree of disorder in a system, and according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics entropy is always increasing. Preservation is a way that humans are trying to beat entropy, and this week we …

Episode 22: Virtual Classrooms

May 9th, 2008

11:59

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.

Episode 21: Sound

May 2nd, 2008

11:58

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

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 Introduction

01:11 Element of the Week: Neodymium

03:03 Chemistry in Your …

Episode 20: Spring Cleaning

April 25th, 2008

11:36

Tuesday, April 22 was Earth Day. Amid all the hubbub about “going green,” it’s a fair question to ask how much power individual consumers have to reduce their environmental impact.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

Episode 19: Jamestown

April 11th, 2008

10:55

Jamestown celebrated its 400th anniversary last year. Many people may know that it was the first permanent English settlement in North America, but less commonly known is that Jamestown was also the birthplace of the …

Episode 18: Beyond the Chip

April 11th, 2008

11:59

Semiconductors are at the heart of countless electronic devices. Although we often think of Silicon Valley as being built on computer chips, the companies that make the chips often depend upon materials and equipment …

Episode 16: Vitamania!

March 28th, 2008

11:20

In today’s show we take a closer look at vitamins, the tiny substances that are vital to our health.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:31 …

Episode 17: Dual Use

March 28th, 2008

12:36

Science has long been a component of warfare, and in this week’s episode we look at how it has played a part in both destruction and preservation during times of war.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

Episode 15: The Art of Science

March 21st, 2008

11:44

While chemistry often plays a silent role in art, such as synthetic additives in acrylic paints, both artists and scientists have consciously chosen …

Episode 14: Blockbuster Science

March 14th, 2008

11:59

Is science on the silver screen any less real than science in the lab? A crew from CHF attempts to answer this question with a visit to a new Star Wars exhibit at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

SHOW CLOCK

Episode 13: The Nanoscale

March 7th, 2008

11:51

You’ve heard the hype—but what’s nanotechnology really all about? Today’s show is an investigation into the current reality and the future potential …

Episode 12: Chemistry as Technology

February 29th, 2008

11:59

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 …

Episode 11: Wonder Drugs

February 22nd, 2008

11:42

From antibiotics to chemotherapy, modern pharmaceuticals have transformed the experience of illness in the 20th century. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the founder and chairman of Biocon, Ltd., joins us for a discussion of how …

Episode 10: Color

February 15th, 2008

11:49

Color literally fills our world, and it plays a dominant role in how we perceive our surroundings. Scientists have been fascinated with the question …

Episode 9: The Love Show

February 8th, 2008

11:12

Please note: In today’s episode we have included more mature content than a typical show.

A Valentine for our listeners, this show is dedicated to the chemistry of love. In today’s show, we explain why passion has …

Episode 8: Chemistry in the Classroom

February 1st, 2008

11:57

Today’s show takes a look at how scientists and educators are reinventing American science education. We chat with Tom Tritton, former president of …

Episode 7: Electronics

January 25th, 2008

10:55

We don’t normally think of computers, radios, and cell phones as products of chemistry, but none of these devices would be possible without …

Episode 6: The Chemistry of Texts

January 18th, 2008

11:42

Creating ink for both the printed and handwritten page, as well as preserving it, has a long history in which chemistry plays an integral part. Some historic inks have started to destroy the pages they’re printed on. …

Episode 5: The Body Chemical

January 11th, 2008

9:57

Western medicine has always looked at the body as a system in balance. Today’s show looks at how ideas about the body’s equilibrium have changed over the past few centuries, from humoral theory to the discovery of …

Episode 4: Measurement

January 4th, 2008

12:29

Chemistry has always been a science of measurement. In this episode, we look at several cases of how measurements affect scientific research and practice as well as daily life.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 …

Episode 3: Happy Holidays from CHF!

December 28th, 2007

6:56

This week, in honor of the holiday season, we’re offering a toast to chemistry. We’ll explain what makes champagne bubble, and why size matters when …

Episode 2: Cleaning Up

December 21st, 2007

10:31

After the recent oil spills in the San Francisco Bay and the Kerch Strait, Distillations delves into the reality of cleaning up human-made messes.

SHOW CLOCK

00:00 Opening Credits

00:32 Introduction

00:55 Commentary by …

Episode 1: Communicating Chemistry

December 14th, 2007

10:31

How do scientists explain what they do to the larger public, and how can historians help? In this first episode of Distillations, we explore this …

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