The Distillations blog is the place for regular updates from the intersections of science, culture, and history.
Reflecting on the inherent scientific nature of Miroslav Holub’s poetry, in honor of National Poetry Month.
Catch another whiff of our March podcast, as we ask people why they started using deodorant.
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?
Remembering a Holocaust survivor, immigrant, and inventor. Will changes to U.S. immigration policy make such a story a thing of the past?
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.
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.
The Institute’s Christy Schneider reflects on air pollution, health, and science.
Computers can give you the weather forecast and call you a cab home. But can they tell you a story?
Has someone in your family led an interesting life? You can help them tell their story. Lee Sullivan Berry, the Institute’s curator of oral histories, explains how.
Alchemists once wrote of chaos, dragons, and spirits, but did they know more about chemistry than we give them credit for?
Behind the scenes of Philadelphia’s taxidermy scene.
Andrew Mangravite learns that archival work can be surprisingly dangerous.
Sometimes archivists, as Andrew Mangravite found, get more than they bargain for.
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?
Who’s responsible for regulating beauty products that lead to less-than-beautiful results?
Artificially intelligent programs are playing board games better than humans ever could. Is it possible to design a board game that can stump even the smartest computer?