Cover art for podcast Distillations | Science History Institute

Distillations | Science History Institute

325 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.


The Disappearing Spoon: Why Don’t We Have a Male Birth Control Pill Yet?

The debut of the female birth control pill in 1960 was revolutionary. The combination of progesterone and estrogen allowed women to control their reproductive lives much more easily and effectively. But the pill had many unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. In fact, some doctors argue that it wouldn’t win government approval today. So why haven’t scientists tried to create a birth control pill for men? It turns out they have. In the 1950s scientists created a really good one. But it had one problem—you can’t drink alcohol when you take it.


Host: Sam Kean Senior Producer: Mariel Carr Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez Audio Engineer: Jonathan Pfeffer


Jean-Claude Risset - Mutations Peter B - The Growling Dog Hit Perry & Kingsley - Cosmic Ballad Charlie Hoistman - Ptpar(({|i|[i*8,Pbind(\scale,[0,2,4,7,9],\degree,Pseq(32.fib.fold(0,10),4)+(2*i+i)-10,\dur,1+2**i%2/6)]}!4).flat).play // #supercollider Régis Renouard Larivière - Contrée Raymond Scott - Lightworks Deerhoof - Despareceré Juk Suk Reet Meate - B3 (excerpt from Solo 1978/79) Ben Vida - Ssseeeeiiiiii Marmots - Sheath and Knife Tim Walters - play{({|k|({|i|y=SinOsc;*k*k,*k**i/[4,5])***i),*k+i,k*999))}!8).product}!16).sum}//#supercollider Eva-Maria Houben - quatuor iv Young Marble Giants - Zebra Trucks All other music composed by Jonathan Pfeffer.

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