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Category: Distillations

Audio Slideshow – Richard Holmes, CHF

Award-winning author Richard Holmes visited CHF in March 2010 to discuss his book The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science. I produced this audio slideshow to highlight some of the most interesting aspects of his book which discusses the links between the literature and science of the Romantic Period.

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Distillations #92 – Scientific Collaborations

This show celebrates the connection between science and literature. Segments on opium, Lord Byron (complete with a short recitation from Don Juan), and an interview with the National Book Critics Circle Award winning author of Age of Wonder.

Image of Lord Byron courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Winniwuk, via UK Government Art Collection.

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Distillations #91 – Marvels and Ciphers

We created this show to highlight a temporary exhibit at CHF’s museum all about the crazy and sometimes creepy achievements of alchemists and chemists through the ages. Segments on Viagra, an alchemical drawing come to life, and a 19th-century political cartoon. (It’s actually way more interesting than it sounds!)

Image of Rudolph Pariser in front of a blackboard with quantum calculations, contemplating molecular model, 1950s, courtesy of The Hagley Museum and Library.

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Distillations #90 – Useful Waste

If you actually like Jell-O, you probably don’t want to listen to this show. We talk about this and other industrial waste products that have somehow become useful to us – including Vaseline and ancient carbon black.

Image of Quick and Easy Jell-O Wonders, a cook book published circa 1930. CHF Collections/Gregory Tobias.

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Distillations #89 – Plastic World

One of the things I love about Distillations/CHF is that they celebrate as well as criticize the chemistry that makes our modern world possible.

In this show we take a critical look at plastics, with segments on corn-based plastics that aren’t as eco-friendly as they seem, the dangerous chemicals that can seep into our food from plastic containers, and an interview with a former Dupont chemist who developed the packaging that keeps our meat looking fresh.

Image by Dierk Schaefer via wikimedia commons.

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Distillations #88 – A Sense of Scent

A show inspired by this quote from Diane Ackerman’s Natural History of the Senses:

Smells spur memories, but they also rouse our dozy sense, pamper and indulge us, help define our self-image, stir the cauldron of our seductiveness…

Segments on the physiology of the schnoz,  a new technology that attempts to mimic a canine’s incredible sniffer, and a feature from super-talented newbie producer Douglas Smith about a french perfumer, an iphone app, and how music inspires scent.

Image via Flickr user dakotaduff.

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