Distillations magazine

Unexpected Stories from Science’s Past

Sylvia Earle and the Call of the Deep

Adventure and tangled interests under the sea.


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

Health & Medicine

Not-So-Great Moments in Chemical Safety

Fatal results of the lax safety standards of yesterday provide powerful lessons in the importance of safety in today’s labs.

Health & Medicine

Medicalizing Menopause

The rise and fall of hormone replacement therapy.


The Greening of Chemistry

Innovations have reduced industry’s impact on human health and the environment while also saving companies money.

Inventions & Discoveries

From Nanotech to Nanoscience

Technologies using nanosized objects have been around for hundreds of years.

Health & Medicine

Powerful Effervescence

In the 18th century Joseph Priestley and others developed artificially carbonated mineral water, uniting the therapeutic powers of an ancient natural restorative with the emerging science of modern chemistry.

Inventions & Discoveries

John Dalton and the Scientific Method

Dalton proposed atomic theory in 1808; an additional century passed before the theory was universally accepted by scientists.

Inventions & Discoveries

Not Counting Chemistry: How We Misread the History of 20th-Century Science and Technology

Is chemistry’s ubiquity why we so rarely talk about its historical importance?

Early Science & Alchemy

Seek Knowledge as Far as China

Two books trace the history of Arabo-Islamic science during the European Middle Ages.

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.