The Disappearing Spoon is Distillations’ sister podcast, hosted by best-selling author Sam Kean. The show examines overlooked stories from our past, such as the dental superiority of hunter-gatherers, the sex lives of dinosaurs, and many more moments that never made the history books. When the footnote becomes the real story, small moments become surprisingly powerful.
Revisit the reputation of the renowned Renaissance man with host Sam Kean.
Explore scientist John Calhoun’s mouse utopia and what it can tell us about the ways we impose lessons for society onto lab experiments.
How an antarctic scientific expedition turned deadly thanks to an unlikely source: dog liver.
We all know how much the automobile changed the world for people. This episode explores how drastically it changed—and harmed—wildlife.
The story of Thomas Schall, a U.S. Congressman dedicated to reforming our messy, lopsided, archaic, and maddingly inconsistent monthly calendar.
Explore the contradictions of Korea’s biggest natural wildlife refuge: the war-ravaged border between the North and South known as the DMZ.
Naked mole-rats are blind, yet they can still recognize—and kill—outsiders. How? And what does it have to do with the Old Testament?
Sam Kean explores how the legendary gardener’s reputation as the patron saint of the American wilderness ignores his boozy origins.
Trace how such a sweet treat has caused so much harm—from slavery to the Nazi death machine.
Follow blood thinner warfarin’s unlikely journey from moldy clover and cow killer to lifesaving drug.
The story behind notorious surgeon Walter Freeman’s contempt for his father, failures with his sons, and obsession with lobotomies.
When horses gallop, do all four hooves ever leave the ground at once? This episode recounts the saga that led to the answer.
Learn how the daring heist of an anatomical wonder forever sullied the reputation of a great scientist.
An entomologist from Texas supposedly came up with ‘the single most original idea’ to eradicate screwworms.
Find out what a strange little sparrow can teach us about love, sex, and human biology.
Learn what two famous neurological traumas—one involving a U.S. president, the other a Supreme Court justice—can teach us about how our own brains perceive reality.
The third episode in a three-part series on legendary physicists and their dumbest mistakes.
Learn about the physicist’s biggest-blunder-turned-greatest success.