The Disappearing Spoon podcast

Topsy-Turvy Tales from Our Scientific Past

Was Charles Darwin a Murderer?

Two men committed murder—and blamed the English naturalist. The aftermath solidified Darwin as the greatest scientist of his age.


The Disappearing Spoon is Distillations’ sister podcast, hosted by best-selling author Sam Kean. The show examines overlooked stories from our past, such as the dental superiority of hunter-gatherers, the sex lives of dinosaurs, and many more moments that never made the history books. When the footnote becomes the real story, small moments become surprisingly powerful.

Health & Medicine

Chewing It Over—and Over and Over and Over

How a weird “scientific” diet fad conquered America in the early 1900s.

Arts & Culture

What’s the Longest Word in the English Language?

And what does it have to do with the unusual chemistry of carbon?

Health & Medicine

Why Don’t We Have a Male Birth Control Pill Yet?

Scientists created an effective male birth control pill in the 1950s, but it had one undesirable side effect.

People & Politics

Crowdfunding Radium

When American women bought Marie Curie a vital gram of the element.

Arts & Culture

Parking Lot or Peking Lot?

Have modern archeologists finally tracked down the legendary ‘Peking Man’ bones?

Health & Medicine

Orphan Vaccines

When the global vaccine supply chain depended on children.

People & Politics

Tales of Love and Madness from the Periodic Table

An interview with author Sam Kean.