Distillations magazine

Unexpected Stories from Science’s Past

The Human Price of American Rubber

Segregated lives of privilege, pride, and peril on Firestone’s Liberian plantations.


Distillations articles reveal science’s powerful influence on our lives, past and present.

Arts & Culture

Revolutionary Instruments: Lavoisier’s Tools as Objets d’Art

In 1788 Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and Jacques-Louis David were introduced during a sitting for the illustrious scientist’s portrait.

Health & Medicine

Gertrude Elion, Biochemist

With the curiosity of a scientist and the personal motivation of having lost family members to cancer and bacterial infection, Elion fulfilled a vital role in the fight against disease.

Inventions & Discoveries

Aluminum: Common Metal, Uncommon Past

Now ubiquitous and vital to modern life, aluminum was once more expensive than gold, locked away in its ore without a commercially viable method to release it.

Rudolph Pariser
People & Politics

Hard Times and Good Fortune

Rudolph Pariser’s early life and career were shaped by world wars and other international events.

Early Science & Alchemy

Al-Kimiya: Notes on Arabic Alchemy

Historians have uncovered evidence of the immense influence of Arabic alchemy—a largely unexplored piece of the alchemical puzzle.

Arts & Culture

True Blue: DuPont and the Color Revolution

DuPont’s colorists were prophets of the color revolution, guiding corporations and consumers in choosing hues for everything from car fenders to countertops.

Health & Medicine

Getting the Lead Out

Our long history with a potent poison.

Inventions & Discoveries

Patterning the World: The Rise of Chemically Amplified Photoresists

The rise of the digital age depended on integrated circuits made with new materials and techniques that could both increase performance and drive down cost.

Inventions & Discoveries

Mendeleev’s Legacy: The Periodic System

Mendeleev’s greatest achievement was not the periodic table so much as the recognition of the periodic system on which it was based.