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

  • Added: Jul 24, 2011
  • Length: 12:52
Caption: PET scan from a former opioid addict under the influence of morphine, circa 1980., Credit: Image courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.
In the midst of Japan's nuclear crisis, it's easy to forget that radioactive isotopes are often employed to save human lives. In this episode we lo...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 12:24
Caption: Geek or chic? You be the judge!, Credit: Image courtesy of Flickr user Bylzz.
This episode wonders if it's becoming chic to be a geek. First, we see how pop culture portrayals of scientists have boosted their reputations with...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 11:21
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In 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...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 11:56
Caption: What changes might our planet witness in the next century?, Credit: Image courtesy of Flickr user Flying Singer.
One of this century's great challenges will be mitigating the effects of our steadily warming planet. In this episode we explore the consequences o...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 12:53
Caption: Franz Anton Mesmer, 1815.
In this episode, we celebrate April Fools' Day with a little medical trickery. First, we learn about Franz Mesmer's questionable 18th-century cures...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 11:04
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From primetime to print, forensic scientists are usually depicted as courtroom heroes, but their real-life work makes for more than a thrilling sto...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 14:31
Caption: George Washington Carver., Credit:  Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
In honor of Black History Month, we reveal the lesser known accomplishments of George Washington Carver, and also pull from our oral history collec...

Bought by WJFF and WETD


  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 11:57
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Segment of Dove Bradshaw's Song of Which (Evelina kneeling, looking left), 2004.
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.

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 12:00
Caption: Billy Evans turns in some old rubber to the Atlantic filling station of L. E. Wadman, 1603 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington, DE.  June 15, 1942., Credit:  Image courtesy of the Delaware Public Archives.
Rubber has played a shockingly dramatic role in our political and military history. In this episode we revisit the consequences of the natural rubb...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 12:36
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In this episode we learn about the history and future of nuclear power, in the U.S. and abroad.

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 11:12
Caption: Scrooge and his third visitor. Illustration by John Leech, 1843.
In 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...

Bought by WTJU


  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 13:46
  • Purchases: 1
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In this episode we learn about yoga and acupuncture.

Bought by WTJU


  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 09:10
  • Purchases: 1
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This episode will have your skin crawling… literally. In honor of Halloween we bring you a show revealing a scarier (and squirmier) side of science.

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 15:30
Caption: Periodic Table of Cupcakes at CHF’s museum’s first anniversary., Credit: Photo by Rosanne Cook.
In this episode we pay tribute to the periodic table. We talk to Sam Kean, author of the best-selling book The Disappearing Spoon; hear an excerpt ...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 14:04
Caption: Foxglove photographed in Bestwood Country Park, Nottinghamshire., Credit: Image courtesy of Flickr user DaveKav.
Before pharmaceuticals existed, all medicines had to come from natural sources—like plants. On this episode, we focus on such remedies.

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 13:15
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We continue to bring you some of our favorite segments from past episodes of Distillations: Senescence, Richard Holmes, and Boy Rocketeer.

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 14:06
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Distillations takes a step back to bring you some of our favorite segments from past episodes: Glenn Seaborg, the Three Sisters, and Living with Il...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 12:12
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Distillations marks our 100th episode! To celebrate, we revisit segments from some of our past shows and bring you new developments.

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 13:33
Caption: BBQ Inferno, from Flickr user Frederic Poirot.
In this episode, a celebration of meat: segments on an all-natural meat tenderizer, BBQ'ed carcinogens, and the history of steak.

Bought by KPIK-LP and WTJU


  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 11:55
  • Purchases: 2