Distillations

Series produced by Distillations

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Science + Culture + History

Each episode of Distillations takes a deep dive into a moment of science-related history in order to shed light on the present. Produced by the Science History Institute.


167 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: FEMA trailer with bicycles. , Credit: Courtesy of Akasha Rabut
Ten years later and thousands of miles away, Hurricane Katrina lives on.

  • Added: Dec 02, 2015
  • Length: 27:58
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Once upon a time science and the supernatural were not so far apart.

  • Added: Nov 18, 2015
  • Length: 01:42:26
Caption: Weather Made to Order? , Credit: May 28, 1954 Collier's magazine cover.
When we turn nature into a weapon.

  • Added: Nov 18, 2015
  • Length: 36:16
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This is Distillations’s 200th episode, and we’re celebrating! We pored through hundreds of shows and pieced together some of the funniest, grossest...

  • Added: Nov 18, 2015
  • Length: 37:10
Caption: Brain illustration , Credit: The Popular Science Monthly, 1894
The early days of neuroscience relied on tragedy to strike before doctors could peek inside the brains of humans. Today advanced technology helps s...

  • Added: May 28, 2015
  • Length: 43:39
Caption: 1963 CDC poster for the oral polio vaccine., Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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...

  • Added: Apr 01, 2015
  • Length: 01:27:06
Caption: Ben Gross' personal video discs and player. , Credit: Photograph by Mariel Carr.
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 u...

Bought by WTJU


  • Added: Apr 01, 2015
  • Length: 38:38
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Buckhorn Mesa landfill., Credit: courtesy of Flickr user Alan Levine.
During our short time on Earth we humans have created a lot of stuff. Some of it's life-altering, like the device you’re using right now and some o...

Bought by XRAY.fm and WTJU


  • Added: Jan 21, 2015
  • Length: 39:39
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: AIDS awareness painting in Chimoio, Mozambique. , Credit: Courtesy of Flickr user Ton Rulkens.
Thirty years ago an HIV diagnosis was a death sentence. Today, sophisticated drug cocktails known as highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART...

Bought by WTJU


  • Added: Dec 17, 2014
  • Length: 38:57
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: In vitro fertilization (IVF) in progress. , Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
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...

  • Added: Dec 03, 2014
  • Length: 40:27
Caption: Gas mask exercise, Scott Field, Illinois.1942. , Credit: Library of Congress
Chemical weapons have played a chilling role in human history ever since World War I. As accounts of recent uses permeate the news, we decided to f...

  • Added: Nov 07, 2014
  • Length: 44:21
Caption: Illustration of a nose., Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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? We ex...

Bought by WTJU


  • Added: Sep 25, 2014
  • Length: 43:58
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: URS Corporation archaeologists excavate at a site beside I-95 in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia., Credit: Mariel Carr
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.

Bought by WTJU


  • Added: Aug 12, 2014
  • Length: 36:50
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Crisco and chicken nuggets, Credit: CHF collections and Evan Amos, Wikimedia Commons.
Have you ever wondered how chicken nuggets are made? Or what propylene glycol monostearate, monocalcium phosphate, or other listed ingredients are ...

Bought by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, WTJU, RadioFreePalmer, and WYAP


  • Added: Jul 22, 2014
  • Length: 27:24
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Joe Palca tracks a story at NPR, Credit: Photo courtesy of Joe Palca
Joe Palca is one of the best science storytellers out there. As an NPR science correspondent he’s covered all sorts of obscure topics, from soccer-...

Bought by WTJU, Radio Newark, and WTJU


  • Added: Jul 22, 2014
  • Length: 09:03
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: An Alchemist in his Studio, Thomas Wijck. , Credit: CHF Collections
This episode explores the colorful (and sometimes risk-filled) history of pigments and painters, and the conservators who save paintings from the r...

Bought by WTJU


  • Added: Jul 22, 2014
  • Length: 30:34
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Solid Comfort, 1906., Credit: Library of Congress
This show takes on the frothy subject of beer, and explores the science, culture, and history behind the suds.

Bought by WTJU


  • Added: Jul 22, 2014
  • Length: 30:45
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Real Heroes comic book from 1942
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 storie...

Bought by WTJU


  • Added: Jul 22, 2014
  • Length: 21:15
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Easily available equipment, like cameras, can be put to use by citizen scientists., Credit: Flickr user Mike.
In this episode, we look at how civic scientists can gather useful data on their surroundings. We go to the Bay Area where a series of rooftop carb...

Bought by KPVL and WTJU


  • Added: Jul 25, 2013
  • Length: 15:35
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Most people have heard the term 'food webs.' But have you heard about 'water webs'? , Credit: Flickr user shinybluesmiles.
In this episode we look at how delicate desert ecosystems are affected by climate change. Then the impact of toxic metals on Rocky Mountain streams.

Bought by KAWC / Border Radio - KOFA


  • Added: Jul 02, 2013
  • Length: 15:11
  • Purchases: 1