Distillations Blog

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

Image of microscope from Robert Hooke's "Micrographia : or, Some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses," 1665.
Through the Lens of Disability
November 08, 2018

What possibilities might we be ignoring when we unquestioningly privilege sight as the primary pathway to knowledge about the natural world?

RHex marches up a dune in Pismo Beach, California, carrying a mechanical sensor that scrapes the dune’s surface to detect how much force is needed for the wind to pick up grains of sand.
Thinking on Your Feet—or with Them
June 08, 2018

Would you be able to walk, think, or react without a nervous system? University of Pennsylvania engineering student Sonia Roberts explores this question while building robots inspired by real animals.

Data from Disaster
October 20, 2017

Many tragic accidents have provided unexpectedly valuable information for scientists.

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.

Learning to Move with Move to Learn
April 21, 2017

University of Delaware researchers are using inexpensive, low-tech solutions to help infants with movement disorders.

A cover for the 1980 Atari 2600 game Space Invaders.
Where Is Everybody?
September 19, 2016

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence has been going on for decades, but so far no one has found anything. As the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi once asked, where is everybody?