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Category: Science

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 and the innovative ways to solve them. First producer Charlie Mintz visits West Oakland to reveal how an EPA-funded program is leeching lead out of backyard gardens using hundreds of tons of discarded fishbones. Then we sit down with Graceful Gardens‘ Alice Edgerton and Fair Food Philadelphia‘s Alex Jones to learn about how to best make an urban garden grow.

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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, producer Alex Lewis shares the efforts of a Philadelphia-based congregation trying to save its crumbling church. Then we talk to the Delaware Valley Green Building Council‘s Heather Blakeslee about how architects and developers restore aging structures to live new and greener lives.


Photo by Alex Lewis.

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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 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

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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 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.

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