This week's episode, I talk about the history of chemistry with historian of science Henry Schmidt. We focus on one of the most important elements: nitrogen. Nitrogen is incredibly important for plant and animal growth. It also makes up over three quarters of the air. How did people figure out what nitrogen was? And once they did figure out what it was, how did they think to use it. Henry traces this wild idea of the circulation of nitrogen that points to a way of thinking about natural resources as if they are not expendable. Spoiler alert: it kinda leads to mercantilism.
We had some recording problems on this one, unfortunately. My computer ate an INCREDIBLY fascinating discussion me and Henry had about the history of milk adulteration. We'll get him back on soon and re-do it so you all can learn all the crazy stuff I learned about the history of milk.