Distillations #170 – Urban Agriculture

City dwellers across the country are picking up shovels and burying seeds, part of a burgeoning movement to bring fresh, local produce back to urban areas. But before you join their ranks, stop and check your soil. It might be flecked with dangerous lead. On today’s episode of Distillations we look at the challenges of urban agriculture…

Distillations #169 – Neighborhood Preservation

In this episode of Distillations, From the Distillations website: Majestic old buildings testify to the rich history of cities across the world. But why do some of these buildings seem unaged while others rot just blocks away? The answer, sometimes, is science. On today’s episode of Distillations we’re looking at the role of chemistry in neighborhood preservation. First,…

Distillations #168 – So Argon Walks Into a Bar…

We get punny on this episode of Distillations. From the website: So Argon walks into a bar. The bartender says, “We don’t serve noble gases here.” Argon doesn’t react. Buh-dum-dum-ching! On today’s episode of Distillations we’re breaking out our best chemistry jokes to celebrate the sillier side of science. First, producer Daisy Rosario hits the comedy circuit to reveal…

Distillations #167 – Cold War Chemistry

The latest episode Distillations is about how the Soviets and the US used science as a weapon during the Cold War. It was especially fun to have my friend and founding Executive Producer Audra Wolfe back in the studio. From the Distillations website: For decades the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in…

Distillations #166 – Alchemy After Dark

From the Distillations website: Alchemists are known for equally dreamy and practical pursuits—trying to turn base metals into gold and achieve immortality while also conducting the experiments that would lay the groundwork for modern chemistry. But it turns out the alchemists had another trick up their sleeves: speaking the language of love—and lust. In this episode…

Distillations #165 – In Good Taste

From the Distillations website: Little known fact: we have taste buds all over our bodies, not just our tongues. Another surprise? Our taste buds might play a role in more than just our processing of taste. On today’s show producer Mary Harris visits the Monell Chemical Senses Center and Beverly Tepper‘s Sensory Evaluation Lab at Rutgers University to find out…

Distillations #164 – Bones

On this episode of Distillations, sound artist extraordinaire Diane Hope shares a story about an innovative technology that could provide early detection of osteoporosis. Then, a conversation with Mütter Museum curator Anna Dhody about a famous skeleton in their collection. It belongs to Harry Eastlack, who suffered from a rare and devastating disorder known as stone…

Distillations #163 – A Day in the Life: Night

In this third and final episode of Distillations‘ Day in the Life series, we explore the chemistry of night. First, we have one more visit with biochemist Joe Rucker to investigate how common sleep aids help to remedy insomnia. Then producer Louisa Jonas shares how a two-week stay under Alaska’s midnight sun helped her understand her…

Distillations #162 – A Day in the Life: Noon

This is part two of Distillations three-part series A Day in the Life, which examines the chemistry of morning, noon, and night. In this episode, biochemist Joe Rucker explains some of the chemicals commonly found in our food (xanthum gum?). Then reporter Gretchen Cuda Kroen reveals why fructose and other sweeteners (even the supposedly healthy ones)…