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40,000 Recipes for Murder

40,000 Recipes for Murder

Update: 2022-09-0930
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Description

Two scientists realize that the very same AI technology they have developed to discover medicines for rare diseases can also discover the most potent chemical weapons known to humankind. Inadvertently opening the Pandora’s Box of WMDs. What should they do now?


Special thanks to, Xander Davies, Timnit Gebru, Jessica Fjeld, Bert Gambini and Charlotte Hsu

Episode Credits:


Reported by Latif Nasser
Produced by Matt Kielty
Original music and sound design contributed by Matt Kielty
Mixing help from Arianne Wack
Fact-checking by Emily Krieger

CITATIONS:

Articles:
Read the Sean and Fabio’s paper here
Get Yan Liu’s book Healing with Poisons: Potent Medicines in Medieval China here. Yan is now Assistant Professor of History at the University at Buffalo.

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Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.



Comments (1)

Jim Eisenberg

I'm surprised that the expert on chemical weapons didn't mention the extra difficulty of making chemical weapons, even beyond the difficulty of making the chemicals themselves. If you're going to make a VX-type of weapon you're not going to want to make a bunch of VX and put it in a bomb. That's much too dangerous for the people who are doing the manufacturing. In order to reduce that danger, those weapons use what's called Binary chemicals. Two chemicals that are relatively safe by themselves are put into a weapon so that when that weapon explodes the two chemicals mix to form the poison form, VX for example.That means that not only does the chemist have to figure out how to make that new form of VX, but they'd also have to figure out to make the binaries.

Sep 13th
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40,000 Recipes for Murder

40,000 Recipes for Murder

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