Distillations Blog

The Distillations blog is the place for regular updates from the intersections of science, culture, and history.

Isaac Newton stamp
Book Club: Catching Criminals with Isaac Newton
September 28, 2018

Isaac Newton invented calculus, deciphered gravity, and authored two immortal scientific treatises. Did he also fight crime?

Age of Alchemy: Curator Elisabeth Berry Drago Discusses Exhibition Highlights and Myth Busting in Alchemy’s Golden Age
May 04, 2018

In the Science History Institute’s new exhibition Age of Alchemy, paintings, laboratory tools, and more showcase the alchemical quest to transform the human body and the natural world.

The Alchemist in His Study with a Woman Making Lace
The Art Detective
January 09, 2017

How do art historians know who painted a work of art and when it was painted? For the Institute’s Elisabeth Berry Drago, the answer is hidden in the details.

A 16th-century engraving of an alchemist adding a scorpion to a mixture. (Wellcome Library)
The Language of Alchemy
November 14, 2016

Alchemists once wrote of chaos, dragons, and spirits, but did they know more about chemistry than we give them credit for?