Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Poisoner's Handbook: A Discussion with Deborah Blum

New podcast episode!

Sam and I interviewed Deborah Blum, author of "The Poisoner's Handbook". We had some audio problems, but it's worth a listen.

You can listen in the player below, or if you're an iTunes fanatic subscribe here. Or, you could just import the RSS if you use a different podcast directory.

Don't miss the film version TONIGHT on PBS!

Show Notes:

All times are approximate:

1:30 - What brought about Deborah's desire to write about poison? In her early days Deborah imagined herself being a chemist, but a few unfortunate accidents convinced her off that path.

4:00 - Some musings on the beauty of chemistry - whether or not you have great lab skills.

5:30 - Deborah sees poisons as devious - as devious as the poisoners that use them.

6:00 - What is "The Poisoner's Handbook" about?

9:00 - What was it like to do the research for this book?

12:00 - Strychnine: A poison that didn't make it into the book that has a really great story.

17:00 - A discussion on the narrative of Chemistry - in other words what is the story that Chemistry, as a science, tells. Here's a link to the chocolate chip post she mentions.

26:00 - A great quote "Science is a human story of people trying to understand the world"

27:00 - It turns out Deborah is as anxious to see the PBS adaptation as we are.