From antibiotic resistance to Roaring Twenties poisonings to decomposing corpses, you can find chemistry—and a good story—anywhere. Every month writer and host, Samantha Jones, PhD, takes on a chemistry tale you didn't know you needed to know.
The Pesticide That Launched the Environmental Protection Agency | Orbitals 309
In the first half of the 20th century, there were very few environmental laws in the United States.
Then, in 1962, environmentalist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, opening the eyes of many Americans to the environmental destruction and detrimental impacts on human health caused by unchecked toxic chemical use and industrial waste. One of those chemicals was the highly effective synthetic insecticide DDT.
8 years later, the Environmental Protection Agency was created.
Preventing COVID-19: The Science and Scientists Behind Protective Equipment | Orbitals 308
As of November 16, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused over 1.3 million deaths globally, more than 246,000 of which have been in the United States. Although this country has done very little to control the spread of this virus, there are people out there working tirelessly to get us back on track by developing and improving materials that protect us from the novel coronavirus.
What If Half of Earth's Soil Disappeared? | Orbitals 307
The only thing that's standing between life and lifelessness is about six feet of loose soil material covering the Earth. In this episode of Orbitals, soil biogeochemist and political ecologist Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe breaks down why soil is a key controller of our climate and essential for our existence.
The American Chamber of Horrors | Orbitals 306
Imagine buying mascara that makes you go blind, or picking up hair removal cream that causes your teeth to fall out. Before 1938 products like these were all over the place. Legally.
The American Chamber of Horrors was a traveling exhibit, created by the FDA, that exposed these atrocities, and it helped push forward a law that changed consumer protection in the United States forever.
Want to know more?: https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/histories-product-regulation/american-chamber-horrors
Coronavirus Drugs: Where Are We and What's Next? | BONUS episode
Antiviral drugs could help us fight the new coronavirus, but we don’t currently have a highly potent and effective antiviral that cures COVID-19. Why not? We called a few virologists to find out.
Could a Polio Vaccine End This Pandemic? | BONUS episode
The COVID-19 pandemic has scientists considering a few less-conventional options while vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are being developed. One option might be the oral polio vaccine. We chatted with one of the researchers proposing the idea—Dr. Robert Gallo—to understand why a vaccine that hasn’t been used in the US for two decades might provide short-term protection against this coronavirus.
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Great short format podcast. Easily digestible information for the non-scientists out there with relevant topics. Highly recommend!