Color literally fills our world, and it plays a dominant role in how we perceive our surroundings. 

Episode 10 | February 15, 2008

Episode 10: Color by Distillations Podcast

Color literally fills our world, and it plays a dominant role in how we perceive our surroundings. Scientists have been fascinated with the question of what color is ever since Isaac Newton discovered that white light contains the entire color spectrum. Our show on color explains not only how color is produced, but also looks at how scientists use color to investigate the natural world. Join CHF’s Erin McLeary and Integral Molecular‘s Joe Rucker as they whip up a batch of mauvine, the first synthetic dye, in CHF’s catering kitchen. (You can see their results in the glove pictured above.) In this week’s Chemistry in Your Cupboard, learn how you can make your own pH meter with a common vegetable. Element of the Week: Chromium.

Show Clock

00:00  Opening Credits
00:32  Introduction
01:09  Element of the Week: Chromium
02:54  Chemistry in Your Cupboard
05:12  Making Mauvine
10:47  Quote: Claude Monet
11:06  Closing Credits

Resources and References

On chromium: Web Elements Perioidic Table and this helpful Wikipedia entry

For a good explanation of the red cabbage phenomenon: a lecture demonstration from the University of Minnesota

On mauvine: Simon Garfield, “One Man and His Color: Reflections on Mauve’s 150th Birthday,” Chemical Heritage 24, no. 3 (Fall 2006), 8–10, 35.

On color in general: Philip Ball, Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color (New York, 2001).

Quotation: Claude Monet, as quoted J. Claretie, La Vie á Paris, 1881 (Paris, 1881), p. 26.


Special thanks to Hilary Domush for researching the show.

Our theme music is composed by Dave Kaufman. Additional music was provided from the Podsafe Music Network. The music for introduction to the Element of the Week is Sage Hill Theme, by Intelect. At the end of the Element of the Week the music is Boom Boom Beckett’s In a Sentimental Mood. The music at the end of Chemistry in Your Cupboard is Dog Day Afternoon, by Freddie Wong. Both the intro and the outro for mauvine segment is Rio Colorado, by Moth to a Candle.

This week’s photo was taken by Gregory Tobias.