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Distillations | Science History Institute

295 EpisodesProduced by Science History InstituteWebsite

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


Science and Disability Part 2

There’s a common assumption that to be a scientist you must also be a genius, someone who excelled at school and learns easily and quickly. But are these really the qualities necessary to produce new scientific knowledge? Collin Diedrich is a research scientist with a doctorate in molecular virology and microbiology. On paper he might seem to be the archetypal smart scientist, but the reality is more complicated. Collin has multiple learning disabilities, and he has struggled to overcome the stigma that comes with them for his entire life.

In this episode we explore how our narrow definition of intelligence not only holds back people such as Collin, but also prevents the creation of new scientific knowledge that benefits us all. This is the second of two episodes about science and disability and was produced in collaboration with the Science and Disability oral history project at the Science History Institute.


Hosts: Alexis Pedrick and Elisabeth Berry Drago Senior Producer: Mariel Carr Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez Audio Engineer: James Morrison

Resource List

Martucci, Jessica. “History Lab: Through the Lens of Disability.” Science History Institute, June 22, 2019.  

Martucci, Jessica. “Through the Lens of Disability.” Distillations, November 8, 2018. 

Martucci, Jessica. “Science and Disability.” Distillations, August 18, 2017. 

Diedrich, Collin. Oral history conducted on 19 and 22 June 2017 by Jessica Martucci and Gregory S. Waters, Science and Disability project, Science History Institute. 


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