This episode of Distillations is about the early days of genetic modification. When gene manipulation first became popular in the 1940’s it was seen as a great new fad; a way to speed up evolution. People even grew atomic gardens using radioactive seeds. We interview a Yale PhD student about her research on this. Then, when Harry Truman announced major funding for the hydrogen bomb in 1950, people started to get a little nervous. Hollywood played out the worst case scenarios in a slew of monster movies. We celebrate those sci-fi classics in the second half of the show.
While researching this episode, I found this video produced by GE in 1952. I’ll give you a dollar if you can find the clip I snuck into the show. 🙂
Image courtesy of Flickr user Marxchivist.