Distillations magazine

Unexpected Stories from Science’s Past

People & Politics

Science in a world of rules, regulations, and war

Color illustration of a high mountaineering scene
People & Politics

A Notorious Life

In the so-called Hamel Catastrophe of 1820, a scientific expedition lost three local guides after the entire party fell 1,200 feet in an avalanche.

Old newspaper illustration of a man conducting a scientific experiment
People & Politics

Palmer the Poisoner

In 1856 William Palmer was convicted in Victorian England’s trial of the century, a case that pulled chemical analysis into the courts.

People & Politics

Birmingham Toast

Famed British caricaturist James Gillray targets famed scientist Joseph Priestley after the devastating Priestley Riots.

People & Politics

Chemical Relations: William and Lawrence Knox, African American Chemists

For brothers William and Lawrence Knox, earning PhDs in chemistry was not enough to overcome discrimination.

People & Politics

The Pursuit of Sweet

From lab accident to wonder drug to chemical has-been, saccharin’s history tracks the rise of consumer consciousness, government regulation, and the uncertainties underlying scientific evidence.

Black and white photo of an award ceremony with group of people
People & Politics

Social Scientist

Assessing J. Robert Oppenheimer as a leader.

People & Politics

Christmas at Hanford

How 50,000 people tried to maintain a normal existence while living in isolation at the largest the Manhattan Project site.

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.