top of page

Wilbur Scoville

We're heating things up! Aarati tells the story of the pharmacist who created a scale to rate the spiciness of chili peppers.

Episode Transcript Arpita: 0:09 Hey, everyone. And welcome back to the Smart Tea podcast, where we talk about the lives of scientists and innovators who shaped the world. Um, we're back after a little break. How are you doing, Aarati? Aarati: 0:20 I'm doing pretty well. I'm so excited to be back doing this. How are you, Arpita? Feeling really relaxed now that the wedding is over and you're done? Arpita: 0:30 Very, very happy. It was such a dream. Um, I had the best time, like such a great weekend with everyone that we love. Family and friends. Really couldn't have asked for, like, a better weekend in terms of, like, weather, the way everything went, it was just, like, such a joy to be surrounded by so many people that we really care about, um, and then the Monday right after the wedding, we went to Hawaii, Big Island, my first time at the Big Island, and I spent the whole week floating in the ocean, going between the ocean and the hot tub, and it was truly amazing, and now I'm back and really trying to get back into the swing of reality. Aarati: 1:12 Yes. I mean, you showed me, the pictures from your wedding looked gorgeous. Arpita: 1:17 Oh, thank you. Aarati: 1:18 both look so beautiful and so happy, and I was just so proud of you both. Arpita: 1:23 Oh, thank you so much. Oh, it was really such a dream. I kept waiting for some level of stress to kick in. I don't know. I, I feel like all of my friends and people that I know who have gotten married previously talk about and talk about, like, leading up to it. And, like, planning is like, a lot of work and there is some stress involved with that. But I guess, like. In the hours and days leading up to it, I honestly was just so happy. Like, I didn't really feel the sense of. I don't know, like, stress or anxiety, because I'm just like, nothing matters now. It's like, like, Aarati: 1:58 that's the way Arpita: 1:58 show up and get married. Like, nothing matters. Like, I don't care if this random thing goes wrong. And I mean, don't get me wrong. Plenty of stuff went wrong but I don't even care. Aarati: 2:08 Yeah. But that's how it should be. I mean, the wedding is something you should look back on and be really happy, like have happy memories of that day always and not feel like, Oh my God, that was such a stressful day. That's not how you want to feel about your wedding. You want to feel happy. And so I'm so glad that you did feel that way in the moment. Arpita: 2:27 It was wonderful. I had truly such a great time. Yeah, we'll put some pictures up on Instagram for all of you to enjoy as well. Aarati: 2:35 Do you hear a humming on my end? Okay, good. I don't know why, but like our neighbor or something is leaf blowing, like now. I'm like, what are you doing on Friday at 4pm? Why? Yeah. Anyway. Arpita: 2:51 nothing else to do. It's also, I don't know if it's windy where you are, but it's very windy in San Francisco. Okay, I'm like, that feels very weird. Then that feels like a bad idea. Aarati: 3:00 I don't know what, I don't Arpita: 3:01 is leaf blowing. I Aarati: 3:03 What are you doing? Why are you adding emissions here? Whatever. Yeah, Arpita: 3:09 most of them run on gas, don't they? Aarati: 3:13 I feel like California had this like new rule that all leaf blowers have to be electric by a certain date, Arpita: 3:19 Oh, really? Aarati: 3:20 um, which sounds like a good idea to me. I don't know. I think we should just abolish leaf blowers in general. I feel like they're stupid. They just blow leaves from one place to another and then somebody else blows them back. Arpita: 3:32 Like, wouldn't it be better to have it be like a leaf vacuum? Does that exist? I don't have a yard, so I Aarati: 3:39 I know, right? Like, Arpita: 3:40 but Aarati: 3:40 I don't think it does exist in it. That would be a lot smarter. I don't know why they don't do that. Or just go back to the rake. Like, what's wrong with the little, I don't know, I feel Arpita: 3:49 but like, I get like a vacuum. It's like, wouldn't you want it to like, suck Aarati: 3:52 like collect it Arpita: 3:53 a trash bag? Yeah, and then like, put it in your, you know, compost or whatever. Aarati: 3:58 I have no idea. I have no idea why they don't do that. Arpita: 4:01 Like, why doesn't the air just go the other way? Like, we figured it out for Aarati: 4:04 Yeah. For everything else. I don't know. Arpita: 4:08 That's very Aarati: 4:08 that was a big tangent. Arpita: 4:10 No, it's a big tangent. I liked it though. No, that's okay. What about, what about you? We've been gone for a while. What have you been up to? Aarati: 4:17 Um, things have been really busy. It's funny, actually, I have been helping my parents remodel their bedroom and bathroom and... Arpita: 4:29 A lot, a lot of remodeling happening the Asundi household. Aarati: 4:33 Oh, yes. One by one. We're going through all the rooms, but always involved in the process because I'm apparently the only one in my family who has any sort of artistic ability. And so every decision has to be run by me. And I was like, this is what Arpita must have felt like when she was planning her wedding because literally it was like, What should we put here? Should we put shelves here? How many shelves? What color shelves? How far apart should they be? You know, what material should they be made of? And it was like that for literally everything. Like what tile should we use? What paint color should we use? What color should the curtains be? Like, and I was just like, oh my God, at a certain point I was like, I can't, I don't care anymore. Just do whatever you want. You know? Arpita: 5:21 so real. It's so it is honestly mind boggling the number of decisions that are even possible to make. In my head, like, even something really simple, I'm just like, Oh, like, there should be flowers that opens up this, like, Pandora's box of how many, what kind, how many vases, what should the vases look like, do you want candles, what color candles, the LED, should they be, like, it's just so, like, so many. Aarati: 5:50 So many things and I didn't even know some of these things even existed. So, I was like, you know, this, this is like a wedding, but on such a small scale compared to probably compared to all the decisions you had to make. Arpita: 6:02 No, it sounds similar. It sounds like there's a lot of stakeholders, a lot of opinions, many people to please. It sounds similar. Aarati: 6:10 Yeah. But it's coming together. Finally. Most of the. labor has actually been done, and we're just waiting for a few lights to come in and just a few more shelves and things, but it's almost there. And so far everyone seems pleased. I'm pleased. So we're all, we're all good. Arpita: 6:28 Is this, like, the second room in the list? Or are you guys at the end of your whole renovation? Aarati: 6:33 I'm hoping we're at the end now. It's just going to be all about upkeep. Yeah. Arpita: 6:38 Okay, so there's no more rooms left to renovate. Got Aarati: 6:41 I mean, you know, I feel like these things go in a circle because I think the kitchen was the first thing that we did. And. That was probably like 15 years ago, so at this point, the kitchen is starting to kind of fall apart, so we need to go back and do that again at some point, you know, so it's just gonna be a never ending cycle. Arpita: 6:58 This makes me not want to own a home. I'm not going to lie. Everything that you just said, the leaf blower, the renovations, the update, the upkeep, we had something happen in our bathroom. Um, like, a faucet was leaking and we were like, Landlord, this is your thing. Aarati: 7:11 Yeah, Arpita: 7:12 Come fix it. Aarati: 7:13 That's so convenient. Yeah, anytime anything goes wrong in our house, it's like, who do we call? Um, so yeah, it's, it's so much nicer to be able to call one person and be like, can you take care of this? And then it's done. So... Arpita: 7:26 And then it's their problem. Yeah. I mean, we're probably never going to be able to own homes anyway, millennials. So mean, maybe it's for best. Aarati: 7:35 it's never gonna happen. Yeah. Arpita: 7:36 It's never going to happen. It's never happen. Yes. Okay. Should we get into our story? Who are we talking about today? Aarati: 7:45 So today we are talking about Wilbur Scoville and he was a pharmacist who, actually didn't make any major breakthroughs or discoveries. Uh, most of his work revolved around helping create standards for drugstore products and refining them to work more effectively, um, but also taste and smell as good as possible. But if he were around today, I think he would have been very surprised to know that most people know his name because of the Scoville scale, which is a measure of how spicy Arpita: 8:17 peppers are. I only know this because I love Hot Ones. Aarati: 8:22 You do? Arpita: 8:23 And that's the only reason I know this. And as soon as you said his name, I was like, I wonder if it's the same Scoville, but I love Hot Ones. And my partner and I always watch hot ones together. And every time they show the new hot sauce, they have the Scoville rating and like the chili pepper. And it tells you how spicy something Aarati: 8:41 Yeah. Arpita: 8:43 That's The only reason I've heard of that, but carry on. I'm Aarati: 8:45 excited Nice. No, I wonder, how, how are you with spicy food? Arpita: 8:51 It's a loaded question. Okay. So I would say that I'm like a solid medium girly. That being said. I am South Indian and my family always teases me about this because I'm definitely not able to hang the way most South Indian people are. I'm like, I'm like pretty solidly medium. Like if you go to a restaurant and you're like, how spicy? like medium, like pretty consistently. And so I do like savory and spicy food, but yeah, I do get teased a lot in my family. Aarati: 9:24 Well, you're already better than me because I'm a baby when it comes to spicy food. I'm like mild all the way. Because I and I'm also South Indian, but my whole family is like that, to be fair. Like everyone. Yeah from my grandma, my mom, my brother everybody is just like no spicy food. And if we bite into a chili pepper, we're really upset about it. So Yeah Arpita: 9:48 That's so interesting. I get like teased all the time. Aarati: 9:51 Yeah, you should come over to my house. Arpita: 9:52 I know. I probably do pretty well at your Aarati: 9:54 house. Yeah, yeah. Arpita: 9:55 like the embarrassing thing here is that my partner is white from Michigan, but probably handles spicy food better than me. And my mom is always like, what Aarati: 10:05 Oh my God. Yeah, Arpita: 10:06 I'm like, I have no explanation for this. Aarati: 10:08 So yeah, so we're going to talk about Wilbur Scoville. And while I was researching this story, I was actually a bit surprised as to how hard it was to find any information about the man himself. Um, there's like tons of information out there about the Scoville scale and capsaicin and all of that, but like not really about Wilbur Scoville, so most of the story I'll be telling you is coming straight from a chapter in Pharmacy in History written by D. P. Gmyrek in 2013. And as always, we link all our sources in the website, so you can go check that out if you're interested. So Wilbur Lincoln Scoville was born on January 22nd, 1865 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He was the third child of Lemuel and Adeline Scoville. He had an older brother, Augustus, an older sister, Mary Alice, and a younger brother named Frank. In the 1850s and 60s, Bridgeport had several successful small machine industries and Lemuel, the father, worked as a machinist to support his family. And also around this time, public education was becoming more commonplace, so Wilbur was actually the first kid in his family to attend a public high school. Arpita: 11:25 Oh, wow. I thought you were going to say college. Aarati: 11:27 No, yeah, so his older brother, actually went to a private high school and he was the first one to go to a public school. Arpita: 11:36 Because it was becoming more accessible and it was, yeah. Aarati: 11:39 Yeah, so we don't actually really know much about Wilbur's school years. Uh, one very random fact that Gmyrek dug out from somewhere was that Wilbur had a perfect attendance record during ninth grade. So, Arpita: 11:53 What? Aarati: 11:54 yeah, I don't know why there's a record of that and Arpita: 11:58 Why just ninth grade? What happened in 10th, 11th and 12th Aarati: 12:02 Well, I'll let you know. Actually, we do have an answer for that. So yeah, we do. So the summer following ninth grade, uh, when he was 15, Wilbur started working at a drugstore owned by Edward Toucey. And at first it was basically a summer internship where Wilbur would have been in charge of, more of the mundane tasks like picking up the mail, making deliveries and keeping the store clean. Um, and then when school started back up again in the fall semester, Wilbur went back for 10th grade, but he continued to work at the drugstore after school. And then when the spring semester was up, Wilbur is now 16, and that meant he was no longer legally required to attend school. So, he ditched high school. Yeah, he completely ditched high school, and he went to work full time as an apprentice at the drugstore. And this was actually fairly a common path for aspiring pharmacists at the time. He stayed here at the drugstore for the next 6 years and over time, his responsibilities grew. He would help measure out prescriptions and even make pills from scratch under the supervision of Dr. Toucey and the other senior clerks. And while doing this, he would have also learned about the drugs that he was making, how they acted in the body, how much was beneficial versus toxic, and why one drug would be prescribed over the other. So, Arpita: 13:32 Yeah. Super interesting. There's a whole, not really into ASMR, but there is an ASMR component or whatever, subdivision on TikTok that is people making capsules and pills because it's really satisfying. It's basically this like tray with like a bunch of holes and animals like pipette tips. And then they like put some sort of, you know, compounded powder formula and it like, they evenly distribute it on top of that. And then you shake all the capsule lids on top of it and they like all fill in the holes. And then dump it out. And like all these perfect pills come out. Aarati: 14:09 I can imagine that's like super Arpita: 14:10 satisfying. like very satisfying to watch. like very satisfying to watch. It's like almost like a pipette tip tray or something. Aarati: 14:16 Yeah, I bet doing it too, you kind of get into a zone of like, you know, making pills, making pills. Arpita: 14:22 And then even just like counting them, like they have the little, um, like metal, I hope some pharmacist corrects me what it is, but it's like a way that they like count the pills and move them from one side to the other to count them. Um, it's almost like, uh, like a stylus and that. Makes, like, a very satisfying sound, and when the pills hit each other, when like, fall, like, makes a really satisfying sound. I'm not a huge ASMR person, but they are very fun to watch. Aarati: 14:48 So after six years at the drugstore, Wilbur had pretty much learned all he could from being an apprentice. So in 1887, he enrolled at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy or MCP. Wilbur was a brilliant student and after just one year attending classes at the MCP, he took the final exam and passed it with flying colors. Technically, he could have just graduated right then and there, but he insisted on staying at school an extra year and completing all of the chemistry and pharmaceutical classes that were available before he finally graduated with his doctorate in pharmacy. Arpita: 15:25 That's amazing. So, this is a bachelor's degree? Did he do a bachelor's Aarati: 15:30 It's a doctorate in pharmacy. So... Arpita: 15:33 you But you don't need undergrad. Okay. Aarati: 15:35 Correct at the time, it didn't seem you didn't really need to. He just went straight from his apprenticeship Arpita: 15:41 I Apprenticeship to in pharmacy. Aarati: 15:43 Yeah. So at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, Wilbur had been taught practical pharmacy by one of the core faculty members, Professor E. L. Patch. And the same year that Wilbur graduated, Professor Patch founded the E. L. Patch Pharmaceutical Company and offered Wilbur a job as the first pharmaceutical chemist in the company. Wilbur accepted and started working there full time, developing and testing products. One of the treatments Wilbur worked on, which quickly became a best seller for the company, were compound lithia effervescent tablets. So, these were lithium carbonate salt tablets that would dissolve in water and create a carbonated or sparkling water that patients would drink as a mood"stabilizer. Arpita: 16:29 Oh yeah. Cause like lithium is still used in like bipolar disorder and a few other mental health conditions. Yeah. Okay, cool. Aarati: 16:35 Yeah. Uh, the company also made flavored drinks, lozenges, and scented powder sachets to make your clothes smell nice. And while Wilbur was experimenting with all these different compounds and flavors and scents of things, he would publish his findings. So, for example, he wrote a paper called"Testing of Lithium Salts", which he presented at the American Pharmacists Association, or APhA. And another paper called"Change of Volume when Liquids of Different Densities are Mixed" was published and reprinted in Scientific American. Arpita: 17:12 This is not what I was expecting when you said that he was going to work at this company. I thought in my head, this was going to be a, you know, Pfizer Novartis sort of situation, but it does seem like it's, The way I would think about biochemistry as a huge umbrella where it could encompass many different things, like you're talking about things that smell nice and drinks and you know, chemists would be part of, of, any like food company or, any cosmetics or whatever, these are all chemists, but I didn't imagine that he was going to do all of those things at the same time, you know, like I would, those, those entities exist separately in my head, but not in this case. Aarati: 17:50 Yeah, now they do. I guess back then it was just like, what does this drugstore or convenience store offer? And you, he could just have a hand in all of it. So regardless of whether you ate it or it was used to clean your toilet or it was used as a medicine for when you had a flu or something, or it was a used to make you smell nice, like he had a hand in all of it. Arpita: 18:13 Is this why drugstores are kind of like convenience stores? Is that they have all these random things? Like they have cosmetics, they have household stuff, they have candy and snacks. Aarati: 18:23 Yeah, I guess it's just something that always has been Arpita: 18:26 Used to be like Aarati: 18:27 Yeah. Yeah, Arpita: 18:29 if you thought of like going to a chemist, like they would actually do all of these different things and then that just persisted and now we think of drugstores as always having these things. Is that true? Is that a Aarati: 18:41 I don't know. I mean, like, cause like when I was researching the story, there were a lot of references to apothecary, um, measurements and things like that. And so I kind of feel like maybe drugstores and apothecaries and pharmacists just all kind of merged into one because they were all coming from the same line. Like you, if you wanted to be any of these things, you basically did an apprenticeship at some sort of drugstore, you know, and you had a hand in all of these things. So yeah, Arpita: 19:12 Wow, that is very interesting. It's a good hypothesis. Aarati: 19:16 Yeah. So on the side, Wilbur started working part time as Professor Patch's assistant instructor at the MCP. He was also eligible to join the APhA and started publishing research articles in national journals. Uh, around this time, he also got married. His wife's name was Cora Bell Upham. And unfortunately, I couldn't really find out much about her or how they got together. But after they were married, they started living with Cora's mother in Boston near the MCP. And together they had two daughters, Amy Augusta and Ruth Upham. Arpita: 19:56 Cute. Aarati: 19:57 Yeah. So by 1892, the MCP was undergoing major shifts in its faculty, and as a result, Wilbur was named Director of the pharmaceutical laboratories. And then just a few years later, a professor who had been teaching when Wilbur was a student, Professor Markoe, passed away. So Wilbur left the E. L. Patch Company and took, uh, Professor Markoe's spot as Professor of Theory and Practice of Pharmacy, which now made him a full professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. Arpita: 20:33 So he's no longer in this retail compounding chemist space. He's fully a professor. Aarati: 20:39 Yeah, he's fully a professor. And so now Wilbur and his wife Cora's lives fully revolved around the MCP. So they would organize meetings, plan annual dinners, and attend conferences together. And Cora really acted kind of like an extension of Wilbur in some sense. When Wilbur was talking with all of the pharmacists at a conference, Cora was there talking with all of their wives. So, Arpita: 21:04 Ah, Got it. She's not a pharmacist Aarati: 21:06 No, she's not, as far as I could tell. I don't really know much about her, but it didn't sound like it. Arpita: 21:12 That's kind of cute that they all brought their wives to the conference. Aarati: 21:15 Yeah, it very much sounds like everybody's, like, social and professional lives were very much intertwined. So, Arpita: 21:24 how big is the MCP? Like approximately how many students? Like thousands? Hundreds? Like, Aarati: 21:29 hun I would say hundreds. I don't, like, I'm not 100 percent sure, um, Arpita: 21:34 Yeah, I was just curious about ballpark. Yeah, I guess I was wondering, like, if she's they're doing like social stuff. I'm like, and they're organizing it. Like, it's not the way we would think about is like a big university. Right. Aarati: 21:45 I don't think so. So Wilbur took his job as a professor very seriously back then, like you were saying, if you wanted to become a pharmacist, having a college education wasn't even strictly necessary. So Wilbur was already kind of beating the curve by having a doctorate in pharmacy. That wasn't even required if you wanted to be a pharmacist. But Wilbur from his own experience believed it was extremely beneficial to have a college education as a pharmacist, but he also realized that it wasn't practical for a lot of young aspiring pharmacists to actually attend lectures every day because at the time, much of the U. S. was still very rural, so there's very little infrastructure in terms of roads and transportation, that would lead outside of the cities to like the places where these aspiring students would live. And so traveling between a student's home and college would be really slow and just kind of impossible to do every single day. Arpita: 22:43 That makes Aarati: 22:43 sense. So yeah, so Wilbur wanted to target people who maybe had started out as an apprentice in a drugstore and then either didn't have the logistical or financial means to attend college. So, he made it his mission to make higher education in pharmacy more accessible, and he did this in a couple of ways. First, he started contributing to the ERA Pharmacy course, which was a home study course. It was a full set of college lectures in chemistry, botany, medicine, and other subjects relevant to pharmacy that multiple professors contributed to. So the professors would write down their lessons in chapters, and every week or something, a chapter would be sent to the student's home for them to study. Arpita: 23:28 Oh, that's really cool. Like remote learning, but in the 1800s, Aarati: 23:32 Yeah, exactly. Arpita: 23:34 But these are prerequisites, right? This is, that's what you're talking about here. It's before they're, so they're still apprentices, they're working at a pharmacy, but this is before they're able to actually fully join a course. Aarati: 23:47 Yeah. Yeah. Well, this was, again, like, you didn't actually need to have any formal education, to be a pharmacist. So he was trying to make these lessons, you know, accessible to people. And hopefully then you could either take an exam to become a full fledged pharmacist or, you know, just further your education. But honestly, there was, like, no degree that you really required to be a pharmacist, but he just thought it was, like, really helpful for people to have this extra learning and extra knowledge. Arpita: 24:22 And maybe some standardization too. Aarati: 24:25 Yeah. Yeah. And we're going to get into that. So, um, very much setting the groundwork for that. Arpita: 24:31 Yeah. Aarati: 24:32 So in Wilbur's pharmacy chapters, he emphasized how important it was for students to find access to a nearby lab, maybe in the drugstore that they were already working in, for example, and applied the knowledge that they were reading about in the course practically as well. He also co authored a book called How to Get Registered, which basically was a condensed version of all the topics a student would need to know if they wanted to sit for and pass the pharmacist's exam. Arpita: 24:59 This reminds me of all the prep books, Aarati: 25:01 Yeah, all, all the, all the GRE and like SAT and all those prep... yeah, that's basically what he was doing. Arpita: 25:08 What he's doing. Yeah, he's the Princeton Review before the Princeton Review. Aarati: 25:12 Exactly. In the meantime, Wilbur had been working on his own book that was eventually published in 1895. It was called The Art of Compounding, and basically it took all the essential parts of Wilbur's pharmacy lectures and put them into one book. And this book was pretty unique because other pharmacy professors would write books about pharmacy in general or maybe publish an outline of their lectures and then use that in their own classes. But Wilbur's book focused on something that was essential to all pharmacists, which was compounding. And compounding in pharmacy is how you make a drug, like how much of each ingredient do you use, which ingredients can you put together and what should you not, how do you calculate dosages, like, you know, very basic things that a pharmacist should know. And this book became a sensation in the pharmacy world. Pharmacy students across the U. S. started using it as a reference book. It went through nine editions and was a standard in the field for over 60 years. Arpita: 26:15 Wow. Aarati: 26:16 Yeah. And so I think that if we could just like snap our fingers and bring back the ghost of Wilbur Scoville and ask him like,"Hey, you know, you're famous for something today. Like, what do you think it is?" He would probably be like,"Oh, that book I wrote, The Art of Compounding, obviously, like every, everyone uses that book. It must be that", you know, and we'd be like, no, actually almost no one knows about that book. Um, yeah, in, in fact, everyone knows him for the Scoville scale for peppers, but this book is actually where we get our first glimpse of that. In the book, Wilbur emphasizes taste as one of the most essential parts of compounding. So, for example, he talks about two substances, quinine sulfate, which was used to treat malaria, and strychnine, which is now mostly illegal, because it's a poison, Arpita: 27:14 Yeah, I was about to say, yeah, Aarati: 27:16 yeah, But back then, it was used to treat things like limb palsy, incontinence, and nerve paralysis. So both of these substances are overwhelmingly bitter. But Scoville wrote in his book that if you diluted both of them, you could actually really taste the differences between quinine sulfate's bitter flavor and strychnine's bitter flavor. So he was really getting into taste as something that pharmacists should pay attention to. Arpita: 27:47 Like to make the pills more palatable? Aarati: 27:50 Yeah, but also Maybe since there is a difference in how bitter the flavor is, different compounds would work better with one versus the other, if that makes sense. Um, because there, there is a different flavor to them. And so, yeah, you might want to use different ingredients in both of the different medicines. So, He also pointed out something that. I know because I like to cook, um, and I like to eat, but I didn't know Wilbur Scoville was maybe the one to discover it, or maybe just the one to point it out. But he said that sometimes if you add certain ingredients, it can enhance the taste of another. For example, if you have something sweet and add just a pinch of salt or a dash of vinegar, it can make the sweet thing taste sweeter. Arpita: 28:41 I did know this, and it's because I religiously watch, uh, Great British Baking Show, and I also know that a lot of baking recipes, like for example, like if you make cookies or something, they always tell you to add salt. The salt does enhance the flavor of the cookie, and I knew that because of Bake Off, and also because of when you add salt to desserts. And I remember thinking when I was much younger, when I first started baking, that it was strange because it feels weird to add a savory or salty flavor. Aarati: 29:16 Yeah. Arpita: 29:17 It does actually help a lot. Aarati: 29:18 Yeah. And I was also thinking about, like, all the times you go to maybe a fancy pastry shop or something and get a cookie or a brownie, Arpita: 29:26 And put flaky salt on top? Aarati: 29:27 Yeah, exactly. Like, they know what they're doing. Arpita: 29:31 They do know what they're doing. Yeah. I guess that's maybe like a little different, because that actually touches your tongue first. That's like a little bit of salty with sweet. I don't think of that more like salted caramel or something where like you do want both of those flavors at the same time, but then adding salt to your cookie batter or cake batter is to level out all the flavors. Aarati: 29:49 Yeah. Good point. And I think that is more akin to what Wilbur was doing also, like saying that if you have a sweet cough drop or something and you mix in salt when you're making either the syrup or the powder or whatever it is, then it can be more palatable overall. So. Yeah, so back to Wilbur and his efforts to help education in the field of pharmacy. Um, in 1900, the Conference of Pharmaceutical Faculties was started and Wilbur was elected secretary and treasurer. The aim of the conference, as we were kind of mentioning before, there was this problem with standardized education in the field of pharmacy. So the conference was created to help achieve that standardization. So, Wilbur was tasked with establishing some sort of baseline to figure out how pharmacists were being educated at the time. So he set up a survey of all the pharmaceutical schools and asked them basic questions like, Hey, what degree do you give your students when they graduate? How many years do they have to study before they get their diploma? What subjects are mandatory for them to learn? And when the answers came back, it was just like an insane mess there. Yeah, there was. really no standard at all. Like, some schools gave out degrees in three months, and for other schools it took five years. But maybe the three month program was really super intense, and then the five year program was very laid back, and the two programs didn't even cover some of the same subjects. And at the end, some people earned their PhD, some people got a PhP, which is what Wilbur had, a doctorate in pharmacy., But then there were just like a bunch of other letters too. Some got a PhG. Like, I had to look some of these up. I was like, what is this? Like, some people got a PhG, which was a graduate of pharmacy. Some got a PhM, which was, the M stands for medicine, or maybe master's in philosophy. Some got a PhB, which was a bachelor's in philosophy. Arpita: 31:58 This is way too funny. Aarati: 32:00 yeah. Arpita: 32:01 Were any Pharm D or is that what Aarati: 32:04 no. I think Arpita: 32:05 because Aarati: 32:06 what PHP became. Arpita: 32:07 Okay, because that's what we have now is Pharm D, but that's what it became. This is hilarious too, because it's pre- internet. And so it's not even like the students were going to the three month program because it was going to be easier. They probably went to the one by their house. Aarati: 32:21 Yeah probably. And then it's like, yeah, you're going to do this night and day for the next, you know, three months and then you're going to get a PhM or whatever, whatever we decide to give Arpita: 32:31 Whatever. Alphabet soup, we decide. Yeah, exactly. You just got, you get what you get. Aarati: 32:35 Yeah. So absolutely no rules out there in the pharmacy world. And so with Wilbur's help, the conference ultimately came up with the first ever standardized pharmaceutical syllabus. And that was a really big deal. And another thing you would think that people would remember him for, um, that he basically helped take this really disorganized field of pharmacy and lay down some really basic ground rules, know, but Arpita: 33:01 We don't care about that. We just want Hot Ones. Aarati: 33:04 Yep. Yeah, exactly. so Wilbur continued to publish articles and literature. He became an editor for a pharmacy magazine in Boston called The Spatula, which I love that. Arpita: 33:16 That's very cute. Yeah. Aarati: 33:17 Yeah, and with their support, he published another book called Extracts and Perfumes. This book did fairly well also and was sold in print for over 15 years. But by 1904, Wilbur decided it was finally time to move on from academic life. And most people think this is probably because by now he had two young daughters, a wife, and an aging mother in law that he had to take care of. And an academic salary just wasn't cutting it. But regardless, a local Boston chain called Jaynes Drugstores approached him with the opportunity to establish and run an analytical chemistry department for them, and that probably came with a very lucrative salary. So Wilbur finally waved goodbye to the MCP. He stayed at Jaynes for a few years, lending his expertise in compounding, not just to medicines and pharmaceuticals, but again, also their in house brands of popular food products, like fountain drinks and stuff. Arpita: 34:17 This is so interesting. Aarati: 34:18 Yeah. Um, then in 1907, Wilbur accepted an offer from a pharmaceutical company called Parke-Davis, which was headed by a former professor at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy named Frank G. Ryan and was someone that Wilbur knew quite well. So Wilbur and his family moved to Detroit and the company of Parke-Davis were ecstatic to have him because by this time Wilbur was basically the last word on flavors, aromas, and colorings. And so basically he was given free reign to go through all of Parke-Davis's products and improve them. And so. Again, this was everything from cough drops, to toiletries, to aftershaves, colognes, like, whatever the drugstore sold. Arpita: 35:03 And so this is the, their label, right? Like that drugstore's label that they're producing all of this stuff under. Okay. Aarati: 35:10 Yeah, everything under Parke-Davis. So, in Pharmacy in History, Gmyrek wrote that, quote,"Scoville was thus established as the leading expert in the field of pharmaceutical elegance." Arpita: 35:23 Wow. Aarati: 35:24 I just Really, Arpita: 35:25 just Aarati: 35:27 like, pharmaceutical elegance. Wow. During his time at Parke-Davis, as Wilbur was going through and experimenting and improving these drugstore products, he was, again, also writing the papers on things that he was experimenting with and discovering. And it's at this time that Wilbur writes the paper that we all know him for, which is"A Note on Capsicums." Yeah, it was only two pages long and published, in the Journal of American Pharmaceutical Association in 1912. And basically it was a way to test the potency of capsaicin, which is the chemical found in peppers that make them taste spicy. So you probably already know this, but just a quick review on how capsaicin works is the molecule binds to pain receptors on your tongues and those receptors are located on the same nerve endings that detect heat. So that's why capsaicin makes it feel like your mouth is burning. If you want to get rid of that feeling, drinking water actually isn't as effective because that just spreads the capsaicin around. yeah, as you probably know from hot Ones. Yes. Instead, you should try eating full fat milk products like yogurt, sour cream, or ice cream because those contain a molecule called casein which surrounds the capsaicin molecule and washes it away. Um, the other really effective cure is acidic foods like lemon and vinegar, because capsaicin is an alkaline or basic molecule, so... Arpita: 37:05 oh. Aarati: 37:05 acids neutralize it. Arpita: 37:07 I actually didn't know that one. Aarati: 37:08 Yeah, Arpita: 37:10 That's interesting Aarati: 37:11 Yeah and if you don't, have those and are really desperate, you can try olive oil, peanut butter, sugar, honey, and white rice. The fats and sugars and starches in these food all help get rid of the capsaicin. So, Arpita: 37:25 Those are really good pro tips, actually. I, well, I have two thoughts. One is the heat is sometimes why, like, for example, if you're having like really spicy ramen or something, and the soup itself is hot, it makes the spicy, like flavor tastes way more intense you have something that's temperature hot, and it's on the same receptors as something that's detecting spice, but heat and spice are not distinguished by your nerve ending. So the same thing is true for, like, menthol and cooling, um, flavors. So like menthol is like a cool flavor, but it is the same nerve endings as something that feels really cold or, um, peppermint even. So like if you brush your teeth and you use cold water, the water like feels colder mouth. And the same thing, but it's Aarati: 38:15 I have noticed that. Oh, interesting. Arpita: 38:18 It's like in so like, um, like a cough drop or something like it'll water taste colder because it's the same and then it's meant to feel cooling on your throat because you're probably coughing a lot or something. Aarati: 38:31 Oh, that's really fascinating. Yeah, I didn't Arpita: 38:34 That's like. Yeah. Yeah. It's like that, but in reverse. Um, I had another thought and I can, let's do, Oh, the yogurt is also interesting. So I feel like I knew milk, but maybe that's why so many cuisines have like a yogurt side dish like tzatziki or raita or something like that. Because you have the spicy food that you now have a cooling thing with. I didn't really think about that. Aarati: 38:56 yeah. No, I was thinking exactly the same thing. I was like, this makes sense why so much Indian food is served with raita yogurt. Arpita: 39:03 Yeah. Aarati: 39:04 Thai food is served with like Thai iced tea, which has like the milk in it, or it's served with like a wedge of lemon or something. Yeah, it reminds me of like, This one time when I was in grad school, my professor took us all out to lunch and we went to a Thai place and the waitress asked us like, oh, how spicy do you want your food? And I, of course, said mild, but my I don't know what came over her, said she wanted it spicy. And the waitress even said like, are you sure? Because Thai spicy is really spicy. And my professor is like, yes, do it. And then she was dying. She was absolutely dying. And we were all like giving her our lemon wedges saying like, don't drink water, suck on the lemon wedge. And then I think the waitress felt really bad, even though it totally wasn't her fault, but she brought out like a Thai iced tea to help my professor like cool down her mouth. Arpita: 40:03 Like, especially a Thai restaurant. Like, Thai food spicy is very spicy. Like, they take that so seriously. I don't mess around. I like err on the side of caution all the time at Thai restaurants. Aarati: 40:16 Yeah, but it was, it was just really funny. Um, and the waitress even asked her like, do you want me to take that and make you a milder version? Yeah, and the professor's like, no, I ordered it. I'm going to finish it. And we're all trying to help her finish it. So it was pretty funny. Arpita: 40:32 I have heartburn on her behalf from this story. Aarati: 40:35 Me too. I was like, but I also felt kind of vindicated. I was like, see, this is why when, when people warn you, maybe listen. Arpita: 40:45 Damn, now I want Thai food for dinner. Aarati: 40:47 Yeah, me too. I love Thai it's my favorite. Thai food is my favorite. Anytime anyone wants to take me out to dinner, I'm like Thai food, please. Um, okay, but back to the story. So capsaicin was used by a pharmacists to treat a number of illnesses, including poor digestion, gout, colic, and to regulate the liver. And when Wilbur was at Parke-Davis, there were a number of products containing capsaicin. To make these products, pharmacists would use a powdered pepper, but the amount of powder they were using in the products was not at all standardized because again, pharmacy at the time is a free for all. So, there were at least 42 different types of garden variety peppers that could be mixed up and made into a powder. And all of these peppers would have different levels of capsaicin. So pharmacists, Yeah. So pharmacists couldn't really say like, Oh, I'm making this batch of digestive tablets, so I need to add half a teaspoon of pepper powder into my mix. Because that half teaspoon could contain a ton of capsaicin, which would be super spicy. And maybe cause further stomach issues Arpita: 41:57 Yeah, that's what I was thinking. I was like, that like the opposite of what I would take if I had tummy trouble. Aarati: 42:02 yeah, or that half teaspoon might contain very little capsaicin and be ineffective. So you have to somehow hit that sweet spot, right? Arpita: 42:11 Yeah. Aarati: 42:12 So before making each recipe, the pharmacist first had to test the potency or how concentrated the capsaicin was. So that they could know how much pepper powder needed to be added into the final product. So to do this, they would take a certain amount of the pepper powder, mix it with sugar water, drink it to see if it was spicy, and then if they feel the heat, they would dilute it again, taste it again, until they didn't taste the spicy, you know, feeling anymore, and then they would use that to calculate how much pepper powder they needed to add into whatever they were making. Arpita: 42:47 That's not where I thought this was going at all. But then isn't that still just so subjective? Like you probably would taste it. Wait. Okay. Yeah, it's like based on your interpretation of heat. Aarati: 42:59 So if you happen to get a pharmacist that had like a super high tolerance for peppers... Arpita: 43:04 Yeah. You're Aarati: 43:05 you're kind of screwed if you don't. Arpita: 43:07 So this is, I assume before we were able to isolate the organic compound that actually makes it spicy, right? Aarati: 43:16 I think capsaicin was isolated before this actually, but it's just, a lot cheaper and more practical to just use ground up peppers than try to get pure capsaicin back then. Um, but I think it had been isolated before this time. Arpita: 43:32 Okay. Okay. Cause I was, I was wondering, I'm like, that would be like the very obvious way to standardize it is that if you were able to isolate it and then you just use some known quantity or volume of it. Aarati: 43:44 Oh, I actually do remember reading this. So I think It was possible to extract it and isolate it, but it was just very difficult because of where capsaicin is found in the pepper, it's found in kind of the fatty part of the pepper, like we don't really consider peppers to be fatty, but extracting the capsaicin from that fat is difficult to do. yeah, so had been extracted, but this was easier, yeah, it was just easier to dry out the peppers, grind them into a powder, um, and do that. But yeah, like, it was very subjective, very imprecise because of that. And so Wilbur was like, we can do better than that. We need to standardize this. So he created the Wilbur Scoville Organoleptic Test. And organoleptic is a word used to describe something that involves the use of the five senses. And in this case, it's obviously taste. So it's actually pretty straightforward. He started out with three types of chili peppers, Japanese chilies, Zanzibar chilies, and Mombasa chilies. He took one grain, which is a standard apothecary measurement equaling 65 milligrams of ground up Japanese chili pepper powder, and he let it sit overnight in a standard alcohol solution to extract the capsaicin. This was then filtered and then serially diluted with sugar water. Then he had a panel of five tasters who would taste the samples until they figured out which was the last dilution that they could feel the spicy heat of the pepper. Arpita: 45:25 Across all of them? Aarati: 45:26 Um, I watched a video and it said once three tasters dropped out or like couldn't taste it, that was the thing. Um, so this dilution strength was its number on the Scoville scale. So for the Japanese chili pepper, they had to dilute it between 1 in 20, 000 and 1 in 30, 000 before the tasters could no longer detect the spiciness. Arpita: 45:51 Oh, interesting. I was wondering how the units worked on that. Aarati: 45:55 Yeah, so that means the Japanese chili pepper has 20-30,000 Scoville heat units, or SHUs. Yeah, so now you know why it's Arpita: 46:05 Yeah, I always wondered why it's such a big number. I'm like, why doesn't it just go like one to ten or something? Oh, that's so interesting. Aarati: 46:11 Yeah. Yeah. Uh, the Zanzibar chili pepper had to be diluted to about one in 45, 000, so 45, 000 Scoville heat units. And the Mombasa chili pepper had a wide range of one in 50, 000 to one in 100,000 meaning that the hottest Mombasa chili pepper was about five times spicier than the weakest Japanese chili pepper. Arpita: 46:35 That's so cool. Like, I didn't realize that it was serial dilution in sugar water. That's very interesting. But then that also makes sense that one of the things that you would do if something is too spicy is eat like honey, sugar, something like that, that helps counteract it. Not just because it tastes sweet and you're eating something spicy, but because the carbohydrates neutralize, I guess not neutralize, but counteract the effects of the Aarati: 47:02 Yeah. But one thing that I read that was interesting was that part of the reason he chose sugar water was actually because of the original thing that he said about how if you add a little bit of sugar to something, like just a little bit of sugar something that's spicy or, um, has heat, it'll actually elevate it a bit. So I thought that was interesting because it wasn't like really, really sweet water is like probably 5 percent sugar or something really low. But he was just trying to really make sure that, you know, you were really not detecting the spice anymore by adding that little bit of a sugar into it, so I thought that was interesting. Arpita: 47:42 So it's not diluting it necessarily in sugar water, like it being like simple syrup or something like that. It's Aarati: 47:48 Yeah. No, it wasn't that sweet. Arpita: 47:51 water and then Aarati: 47:52 You're, Arpita: 47:52 adding a little bit of sugar. Oh, that's Aarati: 47:53 You're adding just a tiny bit of sugar to kind of enhance the taste of it. Arpita: 47:59 That I see. Okay. I was thinking about it the opposite. I was thinking about like, he's made some sort of one to one solution, like simple syrup and he's counteracting it. I see. Aarati: 48:09 Yeah. No, you're, that's a good distinction to make. I probably should have made that clear like not sugar water as in lemonade or something. Arpita: 48:17 I see. Okay. That makes a lot of sense. That's actually interesting too, because if you, like, I've made chili oil before and you add a little sugar to chili oil when you make it, or like a lot of times if you make, a marinade with chili sauce, or you follow a Thai or Chinese inspired recipe, um, they ask you to add a little bit of sugar to some sweet sauce. Aarati: 48:38 honey or something into it. Yeah. Yeah. So he's basically doing the same thing to enhance the flavor of the chili for his taste testers. Arpita: 48:46 That's so interesting. Aarati: 48:47 So obviously this test is still flawed because it still relies on the subjectivity of the human taste testers. And As you can see, even if you stuck to one species of pepper, there could still be a wide range in how spicy individual peppers are within that species. So, today in the food industry, we can use more precise techniques like high performance liquid chromatography to measure how much capsaicin something has, but we still measure spiciness in terms of Scoville heat units. Arpita: 49:19 Yeah. Isn't there something about, I don't know if you read this, but it also depends how the chili itself was grown. I want to say there's something about like how much sun a specific chili gets on a plant relative to another. And then you can have like a batch of chilies from the same plant. Some are just spicier than others. I want to say I read some time at some point that it's like how they are grown, like even on the same plant. Like, Some that get more sun can be spicier. I don't know if sun is the variable, but there Aarati: 49:47 Yeah. Interesting. I didn't read about that, so I don't know, um, because I have definitely noticed, like, Arpita: 49:54 For sure. Aarati: 49:55 yeah, like, certain jalapenos are way spicier or something, you know, um, and I have heard things like, and I don't know how true this is, but I have heard, like, the older the pepper it is, the spicier it gets, so, like, I don't know if that's true at all, um, Yeah, so if you, like, leave a jalapeno in your fridge for, like, a week or something, it'll be spicier than when you first bought it, so, Arpita: 50:19 Oh, Aarati: 50:20 I um, yeah, but do you want to hear some more Scoville scale ratings? Arpita: 50:28 Yes. Aarati: 50:28 Okay, so, as you may already know from watching Hot Ones, or may guess, bell peppers have zero Scoville heat units. Jalapenos come in between 4, 000 and 8,500 Scoville heat units. Tabasco and cayenne peppers are around 10 times hotter, coming in between 30, 000 and 50, 000 Scoville heat units. Arpita: 50:51 That's like a big jump. Aarati: 50:53 Yeah, I'm sure there's stuff in between, but I'm just trying to go with, like, maybe the ones that people know about because, like, Tabasco sauce and stuff like that, so. Um, habaneros and scotch bonnets are five times hotter than that, coming in at between 100 and 350, 000 heat units. Arpita: 51:14 We're like already way past what I would be able to handle. like, Aarati: 51:16 Yeah, I'm like maybe at jalapeno like, maybe, like, I told you it's pathetic. Um, but then we start to go really crazy. So in 2007, the ghost pepper from Northeast India held the title of the hottest chili pepper in the Guinness Book of World Records with over a million Scoville heat units. Arpita: 51:41 A million?! Aarati: 51:42 Yes, that of course kicked off a competition to beat that and cultivate the world's spiciest pepper because that's what we do as humans. So in 2011, the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper took the title at 1. 46 million Scoville heat units. Arpita: 52:02 That's too many. Aarati: 52:03 Yeah, but that was beaten in 2013 by an American chili breeder named Ed Currie who cultivated the Carolina Reaper with 1. 64 million Scoville heat units. And in 2023, Ed Currie beat his own record by cultivating Pepper X with 2. 69 million Scoville heat units. Arpita: 52:27 Okay. I have a lot of questions. So one, they're just like breeding these peppers specifically for this record, like, so they're, you know, Aarati: 52:36 That's what it sounds like. Yeah. Arpita: 52:38 They're just doing everything they can and like genetically modifying these seeds and like every condition possible in order to make it as spicy as possible. Aarati: 52:45 Yeah. I bet they would know the answer to your question as to whether if a pepper got more sun... Arpita: 52:49 That's actually probably true. They probably do know more. Aarati: 52:51 Let us know. Arpita: 52:53 And like, do they do anything with this? Like, I feel like I've heard of like ghost pepper and stuff. Aarati: 52:58 Yeah. I have heard of ghost pepper and Carolina Reaper. I've seen like people on YouTube eat it and like suffer for like half an hour or something while they try to get rid of the spicy taste. Arpita: 53:10 But then it's like not really, I just can't think of a lot of foods that are using this. I think it, is it just to say that you have the spiciest pepper? Aarati: 53:19 I guess so, because don't, I don't know, because, like, in order to make it palatable to a majority of people, you would have to dilute it a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. I actually did some math for PepperX, and if I did my math right, it means that if you took one gram of PepperX, you would need to dilute it In over 700 gallons of water before it no longer felt spicy. Isn't that insane? Arpita: 53:48 What is 700 gals like a swimming pool? Aarati: 53:52 I don't think it's quite a swimming pool, but like, maybe a hot tub? Maybe a big hot tub? Like, Arpita: 53:59 That is crazy. Aarati: 54:01 It's so much water. Arpita: 54:03 It's definitely like something you could swim in. Aarati: 54:05 Yes, definitely. So also today we have the Scovie Awards, which are named after Wilbur Scoville. So each year a panel of 80 to 100 professional food judges taste and score almost 1, 000 different spicy foods submitted from companies all over the world. These foods can be hot sauces, salsas, condiments, soups, snacks, seasonings, and other things like that. And the awards are given based on flavor profile, aroma, spice blend, originality, and visual appearance. Arpita: 54:38 That sounds kind of fun. It feels like something there would be like a niche Food Network show about, you know, I would watch it. Aarati: 54:43 Yeah, right? And I did also see that they kind of separate the judges. Like, you have to volunteer to be in the super spicy category of taste testers. Arpita: 54:52 Could not be me. Aarati: 54:53 Yeah, it's like, good to know that you go into that knowing what you're signing up for. Arpita: 54:58 That sounds kind fun though. I'm sure there's like some sort of festival around it, which I, that Aarati: 55:02 Yeah there is. It's like the National Barbecue Festival or something that hosts this each year But, um, yeah, so obviously winning a Scovie award can be a huge PR boost to smaller boutique companies and things like that. So it's very competitive. Okay, but back to Wilbur. So, in 1917, Wilbur's wife, Cora, contracted some sort of illness, it's not really clear what, and she passed away. Uh, for a couple of years, his younger daughter, Ruth, who's now a teenager, travels with him to all his conferences and meetings. And then in 1919, he marries his neighbor, Lillie Whitney Pine, who was a school teacher. Wilbur stays at Parke-Davis for the rest of his career. He continued to publish papers and held positions on the United States Pharmacopeia and National Formulary. Both of these organizations played a big role in shaping the ever changing standards of pharmacy. They would update guidelines for best practices and revise outdated information and methods when new ones were developed. In 1921, Wilbur published a paper called"The Influence of Hydrochloric Acid on the Extraction of Cinchona." Arpita: 56:15 On the extraction of what? Aarati: 56:17 Cinchona. Yeah, Cinchona is a plant and its bark was used to treat malaria as well as a number of other problems, including stomach bloating, hemorrhoids, leg cramps, varicose veins, and mild flus. Yeah, I had to look that up too. Arpita: 56:34 Yeah, I was gonna say. Aarati: 56:35 So this paper actually won him the Ebert Prize, which is the American Pharmacists Association's highest award for research. And in 1929, Wilbur was awarded the Remington Medal, which is the APhA's highest award. So, really, between publishing The Art of Compounding, which was used as a standard book for 60 years, like the Extracts and Perfumes book, which did fairly well, like all the papers he's published, all the positions on different committees he's held, and finally winning the Ebert Prize and the Remington Medal, I'm sure he would have found it so strange... Arpita: 57:11 Yeah. I know, was laughing when you said that he got that prize because it's for all of his academic work. And, like, Scoville Scale is not even on that radar of things that were his academic accomplishments. Aarati: 57:24 Exactly. It's like,"Oh that little two page"Note on Capsicums" thing overshadowed, like, no one knows what Cinchona is, but he wasn't like he won an Ebert prize for it, but we all don't care. The note on Capsicums is what we all know him for. So Wilbur retired in 1934 from Parke-Davis and moved from Detroit to Gainesville, Florida. For a while, he still participated in the APhA and other pharmaceutical organizations. Wilbur died on March 10th, 1942. And again, not exactly sure what caused his death, but he was 77 years old. So, yeah. But that's his story, and one thing that D. P. Gmyrek pointed out in his article in Pharmacy in History that I thought was really important was, he said, quote,"Scoville did not make any radical breakthroughs. Most of his work was evolutionary rather than revolutionary. He did not invent the elixir, he made it better." And I just thought that was so important because I such a big focus in science on like being the one to make the discovery and like, you know, push the boundaries, but actually a lot of scientific work is making improvements and refining medications to make them work more effectively or tweaking technologies to make them work more efficiently. Arpita: 58:49 No, it's like a very like elegant way to phrase that though, as like, it's something that's like evolutionary or even just this idea that you can improve the taste of something by doing something so simple. That's like so accessible. I feel like that is a, yeah. Very novel idea, even though he didn't, you know, invent capsaicin or discover it. Aarati: 59:09 Yeah. But it's so important also because if something tastes better, you're more likely to like stick with the treatment and, you know, actually be cured, which I know is the case. You know, we talk about that all the time in terms of antibiotic resistance and things like that, like people, getting people to stick with the program is huge. And if you can do that just by making something more colorful or smell better or taste better, like, that's really important. Arpita: 59:38 Definitely. Um Definitely agree. Aarati: 59:40 Yeah, and he also, so, like you said, he didn't discover capsaicin or even figure out how it worked. He just came up with a way to, measure it more accurately so that pharmacists could standardize products across the industry and yeah, I think that's something that's really important and should be recognized, you know, but that's the story. Arpita: 1:00:01 Great story. That was so fun. I really liked that. That was just like a very neat, fun, very, like, exciting, fun to follow story. Aarati: 1:00:10 Yeah, and hopefully a good way to get back into the podcast a Arpita: 1:00:15 Definitely, definitely heating it up. Adding the spice. Sprinkle Aarati: 1:00:21 We're cooking now. Arpita: 1:00:22 Yeah. Aarati: 1:00:22 How many bad puns can we come up with? Arpita: 1:00:24 I don't know a lot. Probably it's going to be bad. No one's going to like it. Thanks for listening. If you have a suggestion for a story we should cover or thoughts you want to share about an episode, reach out to us at smartteapodcast. com. You can follow us on Instagram and Twitter at smartteapodcast and listen to us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts and leave us a rating or comment. It really helps us grow. New episodes are released every other Wednesday. See you next time.

Sources for this Epsiode

1. Gmyrek, Daniel P. “Wilbur Lincoln Scoville: The Prince of Peppers.” Pharmacy in History, vol. 55, no. 4, 2013, pp. 136–56. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/24632002. Accessed 10 June 2024.

2.  "Scoville Scale." Wikipedia. 

 

bottom of page