Friday, April 26, 2013

Podcast: Deborah Blum, author of "The Poisoner's Handbook" (part 1 of 2)

This is part 1 of a 2-part podcast of Deborah Blum, author of the excellent and fascinating "The Poisoner's Handbook" talking with See Arr Oh and Chemjobber about her book and being a science writer. Part 2 is where Deborah talks about her life as a science writer and also the future of journalism -- it is hosted at Just Like Cooking.

(Please excuse the change in sound quality at 7:36; we were having some technical difficulties with the phone.)

1:00 What does Deborah's inbox look like after writing a book about poisons?
2:20: Asking Deborah to solve a murder
3:00 "The Poisoner's Handbook" on PBS!
4:40 Did she want to be a chemist?
6:18 How Deborah got to write the book
7:36 Deborah talks about the process of writing it
8:40 The chemist in "The Poisoner's Handbook", Alexander Gettler
11:30 Deborah talks about the research process for the book
13:05 Writing about chemistry for a general audience
13:50 How should chemists best help writers to write about chemistry?
16:50 End of Part 1
17:10 Deborah talks about her father, a chemical ecologist

Go over and listen to part 2 at Just Like Cooking, so that you can hear Deborah talk about her hilarious story about mealworm cookies. (really!) 


  1. Wow, SeeArrOh is LOUD (or CJ and Deborah are quiet). Is there a way to balance the inputs in the future?

    1. Chemists we are, audio engineers we ain't.
      If you have experience with this, don't hesitate to email us!

    2. I just want to note that I did the editing, and any errors/ugliness are mine and not SeeArrOh's.

    3. It wasn't a major issue, just a shock at the start.

      I have no experience with recording Skype/Google chat, and was curious. Do you get the sound as 3 separate streams, or just one?


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looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20