Distillations Blog

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

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.

Scientists with Disabilities
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.

The Appeal of Hot Air
August 04, 2017

In trying to separate fact from fiction, writer Natalie Jacewicz gets caught up in a century-old, pseudoscientific web of lies and false hope.

Science Fiction or Fictional Science?
July 21, 2017

How science fiction has influenced the lives and work of many STEM professionals.

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.

Going Viral
May 12, 2017

How do virologists stop something that is ubiquitous and deadly?

The Message of the March for Science
April 28, 2017

Photos from the March for Science in Philadelphia, in which protesters sent a clear message to the Trump adminstration.

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.

No Real Distinction
April 07, 2017

Reflecting on the inherent scientific nature of Miroslav Holub’s poetry, in honor of National Poetry Month.

The Foul Stench of Smelling Good
March 24, 2017

Catch another whiff of our March podcast, as we ask people why they started using deodorant.

Grindhouse Wetware’s Northstar device in 2015.
Hacking Humans
March 08, 2017

Dissatisfied with the limitations of the human body, some people are modifying themselves with electronic compasses and magnetic implants. But are they adding anything that the average smartphone can’t already do?

Waging War on Immigration and Science
February 23, 2017

Remembering a Holocaust survivor, immigrant, and inventor. Will changes to U.S. immigration policy make such a story a thing of the past?

Figues de Solliès by Mon Œil
The Joy of Cooking
February 06, 2017

An early dietitian set out to prove that vegetarian cooking was good for the body. Others who followed tried to show it could be tasty and even good for the soul.

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.

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

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

A Google self-driving car on the streets of Mountain View, California, 2016.
Creative Computers
December 09, 2016

Computers can give you the weather forecast and call you a cab home. But can they tell you a story?