Audio Producer | Journalist
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 how scientists like Neil deGrasse Tyson are mixing education and entertainment on stage. Then CHF Fellow Deanna Day talks to historian Rebecca Onion about how the internet has cultivated a new generation of nerds and why it matters.
Image courtesy of snorgtees.com.
Amanda Field works at Texas A&M University in Qatar. She says women are more respected in science because they have to work harder to prove themselves.
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 battle; two superpowers with very different visions of how the world should work. Though both sides possessed nuclear bombs, each had another vital weapon in their arsenals: SCIENCE. On today’s show CHF’s Haas Postdoctoral Fellow Mat Savelli sits down with Distillations‘ founding executive producer Audra Wolfe to discuss how the science-tinged war for hearts and minds was waged. They also discuss her new book Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War America. Then we dip into CHF’s oral history archives to learn how the life of Intel co-founder Leslie Vadasz was shaped by the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, when students launched a revolt against Soviet rule.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Lucy Eubanks is a retired professor from Clemson University. She tells a lovely story about her earliest days in the field, trying to choose between chemistry and the violin.
Linda Wang is senior editor at Chemical and Engineering News. She talks about the importance of volunteerism and how she’s combined her love for writing and photography in a satisfying career with C&EN.
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 we sit down with historian Joel Klein to find out why so many alchemy texts are rife with blush-inducing romantic and sexual metaphors. Then CHF’s James Voelkel recites some of our favorite steamy passages.
Image from Symbola Aureae Mensae, by Michael Maier, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Also available in CHF’s collections.
This week’s Stories from the Field is from Sharon Haynie, a research scientist at DuPont. She talks about needing to have a thick skin to be a woman in the sciences, and that just being smart isn’t enough.
My latest feature for IEEE Spectrum Radio is about the future of textiles – clothes that can keep you healthy, that charge your cell phone, and that never get dirty; fabrics that can change color, can keep you warm or cool depending on the weather, and can deliver medicines through your skin throughout the day. This is some seriously fascinating stuff. You can hear the full one-hour documentary about Life in 2030 on PRX, or just my piece below. Plus there’s this fancy landing page on the IEEE website.
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 if she is one of the lucky few whose super-taster status affords them better health. Then we welcome Nadia Berenstein to the studio to discuss her research on the early days of synthetic flavor development. She reveals how a cadre of early flavorists changed our very perception of familiar flavors like pineapple.
1950s ad from the Givaudan Flavorist. Image courtesy of the Society of Flavor Chemists Library at Monell Chemical Senses Center.
This week’s Story from the Field is from Sarah Mullins, a researcher at 3M Company in Minnesota. This series gives voice to women working in chemistry and related sciences. They share their successes, challenges, and stories about the people and events that have shaped their careers, and their lives.
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 man syndrome, which causes the body’s connective tissue to turn into bone when damaged. A similar problem has been affecting modern military troops.
Image of the skeleton of Harry Eastlack, whose disease-ravaged bones are on display at Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum. Image courtesy of Evi Numen, 2011, for the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
This week’s Story from the Field is from DuPont chemist Patti Parziale. This series gives voice to women working in chemistry and related sciences. They share their successes, challenges, and stories about the people and events that have shaped their careers, and their lives.
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 night owl tendencies.
Image of the midnight sun by Louisa Jonas.
In this installment of Stories from the Field, we hear from Lisa Houston, director of applications engineering at PAC, LP. This series gives voice to women working in chemistry and related sciences. They share their successes, challenges, and stories about the people and events that have shaped their careers, and their lives.
In this installment of Stories from the Field we hear from Maria Maccecchini, president and founder of QR Pharma. This series gives voice to women working in chemistry and related sciences. They share their successes, challenges, and stories about the people and events that have shaped their careers, and their lives.
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) are making us sick.
Image courtesy of Flickr user ilovememphis.
I interviewed Zafra Lerman at the 244th annual meeting of the American Chemical Society as part of CHF’s Stories from the Field project. Zafra is the president and founder of Methods Integrating Music, Science, Art and Dance. She’s also president of the Malta Conferences Foundation, which uses science as a bridge to peace in the Middle East.
In this installment of Stories from the Field we hear from Sarah Widder, a research engineer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). This series gives voice to women working in chemistry and related sciences. They share their successes, their challenges, and stories about the people and events that have shaped their careers, and their lives.
This is first installment of Distillations‘ new three-part series A Day in the Life: Morning, Noon, and Night. At the top of each show, biochemist Joe Rucker breaks down the chemistry of some of the products we use every day. In the Morning show, Joe explains sodium lauryl sulfate – a chemical that shows up in tons of bathroom products. Then, I make a rare appearance as a Distillations reporter with a story about fluoride and the debate that’s been surrounding it for more than 60 years.
Image courtesy of Flickr user sean dreilinger.
I recently interviewed Marye Anne Fox for Stories from the Field, a project of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Ms. Fox was the first female chief executive of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina and was the seventh chancellor of the University of California, San Diego. In 2010, she received the National Medal of Science from President Obama.
I interviewed Juana Acrivos for Stories from the Field – a collection of stories from women working in chemistry and related science about their successes, their challenges, and the people and events that have influenced their careers and their lives. Ms. Acrivos is Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at San Jose State University. She earned her D.Sc. in chemistry from Universidad de la Habana, Cuba in 1956 and continues to conduct research at Stanford Synchrotron, taking special interest in superconductors and energy-saving layer materials.
For this episode of Distillations we dive into CHF’s vast oral history archive. Producer Amy Kraft digs through hours of interviews with Dupont’s Roy Plunkett and Malcolm Renfrew to bring us the history of Teflon, the now ubiquitous super material. Then, an interview with the always charming Bob Kenworthy, who met Plunkett, and later worked as a marketer of Teflon. But it’s not all sunshine and roses – Bob is very familiar with the dangers of Teflon and elucidates here.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user trozzolo.