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?

Plate No. 20 Poisonous Reptiles and Insects
What We’re Talking About
August 30, 2018

Science History Institute staff recommends articles and blog posts from around the web to add to your binge lists.

What’s in a Logo?
February 02, 2018

How John Dalton’s early atomic theory led to the Science History Institute’s new logo. 

Braving the Elements: Why Mendeleev Left Russian Soil for American Oil
January 19, 2018

The story behind a rare work in our collection by the father of the periodic table.

Chemistry in Your Coffee Mug
January 05, 2018

Too much coffee actually can kill you, but that’s not the most important thing about the chemistry of coffee.

A Legacy of Listening
September 21, 2017

Using oral history to write a historical narrative in an audio tour.

Conserving the Stories They Tell
September 08, 2017

How conservators at the 9/11 Memorial Museum care for the artifacts of trauma.

Science and Disability
August 18, 2017

Scientists with disabilities have frequently faced intolerance and prejudice in their careers. A new project at the Institute’s Center for Oral History seeks to tell their stories.

How Drinking Beer Is in Our DNA: An Interview with Jessica Zinskie
June 30, 2017

An interest in the pharmacological nature of food led Jessica Zinskie, a postdoctoral researcher at Rowan University, to study the genetics of yeast and the evolution of beer.

A Covert Success Story
June 22, 2017

In the 1950s, a devious oil company created a television show to flatter industrialists and win their business.

Things Fall Apart: An Interview with Exhibition Curator Elisabeth Berry Drago
June 09, 2017

Exploring the science behind decay through the Institute’s new exhibition and Old City walking tour.

A Tear Gas Tale
May 26, 2017

How tear gas made the transition from wartime weapon to domestic police tool.

Smog in Tiananmen Square
Is the Smog Out?
December 21, 2016

The Institute’s Christy Schneider reflects on air pollution, health, and science.

A totally inaccurate depiction of Andrew Mangravite’s affliction. (Wellcome Library)
“What’s In the Box?”
October 17, 2016

Andrew Mangravite learns that archival work can be surprisingly dangerous.

A female weta specimen from the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
A Close Encounter of the Third Kind
October 03, 2016

Sometimes archivists, as Andrew Mangravite found, get more than they bargain for.