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.

170 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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We bring you some of our favorite segments from past Distillations episodes this week: animal communication in the Sonoran Desert and the toll of a...

  • Added: Aug 04, 2012
  • Length: 13:33
Caption: Love it or hate it., Credit: Flickr user andrewasmith.
In this episode we cross the Atlantic to learn what makes a perfect cuppa. Then we learn about the surprising health benefits of Marmite, a spreada...

  • Added: May 29, 2012
  • Length: 15:27
Caption: Remember when I leeched all the calcium from your bones?, Credit: Flickr user paparutzi.
Big eyes, soft skin, squeezable cheeks. No doubt, babies are adorable. But in this episode we take a break from our cooing to examine some more ser...

  • Added: May 16, 2012
  • Length: 13:43
Caption: Don't let the cuteness fool you. This cat is spreading dander all over its owner's house., Credit: Flickr user admiller.
Sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose? We all know what that means: allergies. On this show we look at pet dander, a common cause. Then we talk to a res...

  • Added: May 02, 2012
  • Length: 14:22
Caption: Pittsburgh's Schenley High School in its glory days., Credit: Wikimedia.
Asbestos, once a miracle product, is now a plague on the aging infrastructure to which it's bound. In this episode we explore a Pennsylvania town w...

  • Added: Apr 17, 2012
  • Length: 14:03
Caption: What is it and what does it do?, Credit: courtesy of the Bendix Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry Collection, CHF Collections.
In this episode we look at the diverse history of mass spectrometry, starting with a single question: exactly what is it? Then we dip into CHF's or...

  • Added: Mar 31, 2012
  • Length: 13:18
Caption: Hydrogen and chlorine sitting in a tree... Image from Real Fairy Folks: Explorations in the World of Atoms, by Lucy Rider Meyer, 1887., Credit: Courtesy of CHF's collections.
In this episode we travel back in time to the Victorian era, when innovative teachers used fairies to convey complicated ideas in chemistry. We ada...

Bought by WTJU

  • Added: Mar 16, 2012
  • Length: 09:56
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Godzilla attacks!, Credit: Flickr user Marxchivist.
On today's show we look at the real and imagined implications of genetic modification in the middle of the 20th century.

  • Added: Mar 02, 2012
  • Length: 14:40
Caption: Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon on April 21, 2010., Credit: Flickr user EPI2oh.
On this episode we look at how environments recover after natural and manmade disasters. First, we hear about how ecosystems repair themselves afte...

  • Added: Feb 20, 2012
  • Length: 13:42
Caption: What's in a kiss?, Credit: Flickr user Scented Mirror.
Pucker up! On this episode we investigate the kiss. First, what's in the saliva we share with each other? Then we interview Sheril Kirshenbaum, aut...

Bought by Prairie Public, KSFR, PRX Remix, and Marfa Public Radio

  • Added: Feb 03, 2012
  • Length: 12:41
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Symptoms of extreme fandom can sometimes include the wearing of funny hats., Credit: Flickr user seantoyer.
On this episode of Distillations we look at the science of sports. First, we learn how athletes go the distance, chemically speaking. Then we look ...

Bought by KPVL, WTJU, and PRX Remix

  • Added: Feb 03, 2012
  • Length: 11:37
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Four nucleic acid bases, represented by the letters A, C, G, and T, make up your DNA. Researchers are working to decode their secrets., Credit: Flickr user skreck.
On this episode of Distillations we go straight to the source ... your DNA. First, we learn how technological advances are putting the dream of a $...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 13:29
Caption: A sunny burst of flavor! Photo of Buddha's Hand Citron Vodka by Erin Hall, courtesy of St. George Spirits.
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 dete...

Bought by KUFM - Montana Public Radio, KSJD, and Connecticut Public (WNPR)

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 13:20
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: This printer’s mark shows three putti holding a harp and a compass, combining the measure and tone of music with the precision of mathematics. Title page detail from Francesco Algarotti's Dialoghi sopra la luce, i colori e l'attrazione... , Credit: Image courtesy of the Roy G. Neville Historical Chemical Library, Othmer Library of Chemical History, Chemical Heritage Foundation.
On this episode of Distillations we investigate if there's science behind the sweet sounds of a Stradivari violin and learn how chemistry influence...

Bought by WTJU

  • Added: Dec 11, 2011
  • Length: 17:14
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The crowds stream into a mall on Black Friday., Credit: Image courtesy of Flickr user kevinspencer.
Step away from the sale rack! On this episode of Distillations we examine your brain under the influence of shopping, as well as a potential health...

Bought by WRFA-LP and KVSC

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 11:36
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Are there human-like beings in other galaxies such as this one?, Credit:  Image courtesy of NASA.
How did we get here and who else is out there? These questions have nagged at humans for centuries. On this episode of Distillations we explore ear...

Bought by WTJU

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 12:09
  • Purchases: 1
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Trick or treat! On this episode of Distillations we give you a taste of both. First, try to choke back our explanation of a Dutch candy that featur...

Bought by WTJU

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 13:16
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: here the world's seeds stay safe., Credit: Image courtesy of Mary Tefre/Svalbard Globale Seed Vault.
This episode explores two very different ways people hope to protect future harvests. First, follow us to the Doomsday Vault, which protects 700,00...

Bought by KZMU Moab Community Radio

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 12:06
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Where are your feathers, T-Rex?, Credit:  Image courtesy of Flickr user InfoMofo.
This episode goes back in time to try to pinpoint what exactly the dinosaurs were like. First, we reveal evidence that the oldest known bird might ...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2012
  • Length: 11:52
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Take a moment from your lunch break to appreciate the sense that makes your meal truly enjoyable: taste. On this episode we take a close look at yo...

Bought by WTJU

  • Added: Sep 02, 2011
  • Length: 12:59
  • Purchases: 1