Caption: Godzilla attacks!, Credit: Flickr user Marxchivist.
Image by: Flickr user Marxchivist. 
Godzilla attacks! 

Distillations Episode 142: Mid-century Mutants

From: Chemical Heritage Foundation
Series: Distillations - The Chemistry Podcast
Length: 14:40

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On today's show we look at the real and imagined implications of genetic modification in the middle of the 20th century. Read the full description.

Asset_upload_file191_75453_thumbnail_small While fears of genetically modified organisms loom large in the modern public's consciousness, let us take a moment to reflect on how these issues were approached in the Atomic Age. First, Distillations' associate producer Michal Meyer speaks with CHF fellow Helen Curry about how intentional mutations of plants were interpreted in the 1950s—an era when the promise of such interventions reigned supreme. Then we look at how these scientific advances were interpreted through cinema in the same period, launching prolific characters like Godzilla.

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Piece Description

While fears of genetically modified organisms loom large in the modern public's consciousness, let us take a moment to reflect on how these issues were approached in the Atomic Age. First, Distillations' associate producer Michal Meyer speaks with CHF fellow Helen Curry about how intentional mutations of plants were interpreted in the 1950s—an era when the promise of such interventions reigned supreme. Then we look at how these scientific advances were interpreted through cinema in the same period, launching prolific characters like Godzilla.

Broadcast History

Podcast on March 2, 2012.

Timing and Cues

0:00 Opening Credits
0:31 Introduction
1:42 Interview with Helen Curry
9:48 Hollywood and the Atomic Age
13:40 Closing Credits

Additional Credits

Special thanks to Andy Mangravite for researching this show.

Our theme music is composed by Dave Kaufman. Music from the Free Music Archive includes "Thereming," by Mr Fab and His Bag of Heads. Special thanks to archive.org for the remaining music.

Related Website

http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/media/distillations/142-midcentury-mutants.aspx