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Podcast Profile: Science Friday

podcast imageTwitter: @scifri
150 episodes
2023 to present
Average episode: 24 minutes
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Categories: Broadcast Radio Programs • News-Style

Podcaster's summary: Brain fun for curious people.

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List Updated: 2024-Apr-14 06:46 UTC. Episodes: 150. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

2024-Apr-12 • 26 minutes
Limits On ‘Forever Chemicals’ In Drinking Water | An Important Winter Home For Bugs | Eclipse Drumroll
A long-awaited rule from the EPA limits the amounts of six PFAS chemicals allowed in public drinking water supplies. Also, some spiders, beetles, and centipedes spend winter under snow in a layer called the subnivium. Plus, a drumroll for the total solar eclipse.
2024-Apr-11 • 18 minutes
Investigating Animal Deaths At The National Zoo
When an animal dies at Washington, D.C.’s National Zoo, a pathologist gathers clues about its health and death from a necropsy.
2024-Apr-10 • 19 minutes
Eating More Oysters Helps Us—And The Chesapeake Bay
In the ever-changing and biodiverse Chesapeake Bay, conservation and food production go hand in hand.
2024-Apr-09 • 13 minutes
How Trees Keep D.C. And Baltimore Cool
Satellite technology—and community outreach—can help harness trees’ cooling power for city residents.
2024-Apr-08 • 18 minutes
Predicting Heart Disease From Chest X-Rays With AI | Storing New Memories During Sleep
Dr. Eric Topol discusses the promise of “opportunistic” AI, using medical scans for unintended diagnostic purposes. Also, a study in mice found that the brain tags new memories through a “sharp wave ripple” mechanism that then repeats during sleep.
2024-Apr-05 • 31 minutes
Recipient Of Pig Kidney Transplant Recovering | Answering Your Questions About April 8 Eclipse
A Massachusetts man who received a kidney from a genetically modified pig is recovering well. Also, on April 8, a total solar eclipse will plunge parts of North America into darkness. Scientists answer the questions you asked.
2024-Apr-04 • 18 minutes
Our Inevitable Cosmic Apocalypse
We revisit a 2020 interview with cosmologist Katie Mack about how the universe could end. Plus, remembering psychologist Daniel Kahneman.
2024-Apr-03 • 18 minutes
The Complicated Truths About Offshore Wind And Right Whales
Officials say offshore wind turbines aren’t killing North Atlantic right whales. So why do so many people think otherwise?
2024-Apr-02 • 18 minutes
The Bumpy Road To Approving New Alzheimer’s Drugs
After a controversial Alzheimer’s medication was discontinued, a new anti-amyloid drug receives extra scrutiny from the FDA.
2024-Apr-01 • 23 minutes
‘3 Body Problem’ And The Laws Of Physics | In Defense Of ‘Out Of Place’ Plants
Particle accelerators, nanofibers, and solar physics: The science advisor for the Netflix adaptation breaks down the physics in the show. Also, in her new book, Jessica J. Lee looks at how humans have moved plants around the globe–and how our migrations are intertwined with theirs.
2024-Mar-29 • 20 minutes
Baltimore Bridge Collapse | Mapping How Viruses Jump Between Species
We look into the engineering reasons why the Francis Scott Key bridge collapsed after a ship crashed into it. Also, a new analysis finds that more viruses spread from humans to animals than from animals to humans.
2024-Mar-28 • 18 minutes
The Legacy Of Primatologist Frans de Waal
In a conversation from 2019, Dr. Frans de Waal tells the story of a female chimp who didn’t produce enough milk to feed her young. The prominent primatologist, who died this month, helped humans understand the emotional lives of our closest living animal relatives.
2024-Mar-27 • 19 minutes
The ‘Asteroid Hunter’ Leading The OSIRIS-REx Mission
In a new memoir, planetary scientist Dr. Dante Lauretta takes readers behind the scenes of a mission to secure a sample from the asteroid Bennu.
2024-Mar-26 • 18 minutes
Swimming Sea Lions Teach Engineers About Fluid Dynamics
Understanding how sea lions move through water could help engineers design better underwater vehicles.
2024-Mar-25 • 18 minutes
Botanical Rescue Centers Take In Illegally Trafficked Plants
The U.S. Botanic Garden is one of 62 locations across the United States that rescue endangered species poached in the wild.
2024-Mar-22 • 25 minutes
2023 Was Hottest Year On Record | The NASA Satellite Studying Plankton
The World Meteorological Organization’s report confirms last year had the highest temperatures on record and predicts an even hotter 2024. Also, NASA’s new PACE satellite will study how these tiny creatures could affect Earth’s climate, and how aerosols influence air quality.
2024-Mar-21 • 18 minutes
A Strange-Looking Fish, Frozen In Time
A group of fish called gar, dubbed “living fossils,” may have the slowest rate of evolution of any jawed vertebrate.
2024-Mar-20 • 18 minutes
What We Know After 4 Years Of COVID-19
Four years ago this week, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Experts say it’s far from over.
2024-Mar-19 • 18 minutes
Science Unlocks The Power Of Flavor In ‘Flavorama’
In her new book, Dr. Arielle Johnson explains how and what we taste with chemistry.
2024-Mar-18 • 18 minutes
Abortion-Restrictive States Leave Ob-Gyns With Tough Choices
Post-Dobbs, ob-gyns and medical students alike must navigate the risk of criminal prosecution associated with patient care in some states.
2024-Mar-15 • 25 minutes
Nasal Rinsing Safely | How Your Brain Constructs Your Mental Health
A recent study looked into life-threatening Acanthamoeba infections, and a few deaths, linked to the use of tap water with devices like neti pots. And, in ‘The Balanced Brain,’ Dr. Camilla Nord explores the neuroscience behind mental health, and how our brains deal with life’s challenges.
2024-Mar-14 • 18 minutes
A New Book Puts ‘Math in Drag’
Do you think math is boring? Drag queen Kyne is on a mission to make math fun and accessible for all.
2024-Mar-13 • 17 minutes
With This Rare Disorder, No Amount Of Sleep Is Enough
A new book explores idiopathic hypersomnia, which causes overwhelming daytime sleepiness despite ample sleep.
2024-Mar-12 • 19 minutes
How Election Science Can Support Democracy | The Genetic Roots Of Antibiotic Resistance
The Union of Concerned Scientists has unveiled an election science task force led by experts from across the country. Also, a survey of soil and animal poop samples from around the world identified 18 new species of Enterococcus bacteria.
2024-Mar-11 • 31 minutes
Triple Feature: Dune, Mars, And An Alien On Earth
On the heels of the Oscars, we dive into three films that take us to other worlds: A planetary scientist compares Arrakis from 'Dune' to real planets and analyzes whether life could exist on such a sandy, scorching-hot world. And, in a new documentary, NASA psychologists try to find solutions for the mental health challenges of a three-year trip to Mars. Finally, in the movie “65,” an alien crashes on Earth during the Jurassic era, shocked to discover dinosaurs. An astrobiologist has questions.
2024-Mar-08 • 13 minutes
Could This Be The End Of Voyager 1?
Voyager 1 has been sending incoherent data back to Earth, possibly marking the beginning of the end of its decades-old mission.
2024-Mar-07 • 17 minutes
What It Takes To Care For The US Nuclear Arsenal
The book “Countdown” looks at why the US is modernizing its arsenal, and what it means to exist with nuclear weapons.
2024-Mar-06 • 18 minutes
A Young Scientist Uplifts The Needs Of Parkinson’s Patients
Neuroscience graduate student Senegal Alfred Mabry is looking at effects of Parkinson’s disease beyond the most visible body tremors.
2024-Mar-05 • 25 minutes
Snakes Are Evolutionary Superstars | Whale Song Is All In The Larynx
In the trees, through the water, and under the dirt: Snakes evolve faster than their lizard relatives, allowing them to occupy diverse niches. Also, researchers are working to understand just how baleen whales are able to produce their haunting songs.
2024-Mar-04 • 18 minutes
What’s Behind The Measles Outbreak In Florida?
Two pediatricians discuss the outbreak, vaccine hesitancy, and unraveling public health measures in Florida and beyond.
2024-Mar-01 • 19 minutes
Pythagoras Was Wrong About Music | Biochar's Potential For Carbon Capture
The Greek philosopher Pythagoras had specific ideas about the mathematical ratios behind music. It turns out that he was wrong. Also, the charcoal-like substance known as biochar packs carbon into a stable form, making it less likely to escape into the atmosphere.
2024-Feb-29 • 18 minutes
As Space Exploration Expands, So Will Space Law
A new generation of space lawyers will broker deals and handle disputes between countries as the world enters a new era of space exploration.
2024-Feb-28 • 18 minutes
Blood In The Water: Shark Smell Put To The Test
Despite their reputation as super-smellers, sharks don’t have a better sense of smell than other fish. One researcher investigates.
2024-Feb-27 • 25 minutes
How Trivia Experts Recall Facts | One Ant Species Sent Ripples Through A Food Web
How can some people recall random facts so easily? It may have to do with what else they remember about the moment they learned the information. Also, in Kenya, an invading ant species pushed out ants that protected acacia trees. That had cascading effects for elephants, zebras, lions, and buffalo.
2024-Feb-26 • 17 minutes
OpenAI’s New Product Makes Incredibly Realistic Fake Videos
A security expert weighs in on Sora, OpenAI’s new text-to-video generator, and the risks it could pose, especially during an election year.
2024-Feb-23 • 19 minutes
Private Spacecraft Makes Historic Moon Landing | New Cloud Seeding Technique
The Odysseus lander, made by Intuitive Machines and launched by SpaceX a week ago, is the first commercial mission to soft-land on the moon. Also, scientists try swapping silver iodide for liquid propane to keep long-running cloud seeding programs effective in warmer temperatures.
2024-Feb-22 • 17 minutes
Making Chemistry More Accessible To Blind And Low-Vision People
Scientists are working to make chemical research more accessible to blind and low-vision students through 3D-printed models and modified equipment.
2024-Feb-21 • 18 minutes
Understanding And Curbing Generative AI’s Energy Consumption
As the environmental costs of tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E mount, governments are demanding more clarity from tech companies.
2024-Feb-20 • 23 minutes
Which Feathered Dinosaurs Could Fly? | Some French Cheeses At Risk Of Extinction
Researchers found that a specific number and symmetry of certain feathers can indicate whether a bird (or dinosaur) could fly. Plus, a lack of diversity in the microbes that make Camembert, brie, and some blue cheeses could mean we bid adieu to some French varieties.
2024-Feb-19 • 18 minutes
Climate Scientist Michael Mann Wins Defamation Case
Michael Mann discusses what the victory means for the public understanding of climate science—and for bad-faith attacks on scientists.
2024-Feb-16 • 21 minutes
Odysseus Lander Heads To The Moon | Ohio Chemical Spill, One Year Later
If successful, Odysseus will be the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the moon since the Apollo mission. And, in East Palestine, Ohio, the stream that flows under residents’ houses is still polluted following a train derailment and chemical spill.
2024-Feb-15 • 18 minutes
One Crisis After Another: Designing Cities For Resiliency
The leaders of a global architecture and design firm discuss how design can help communities adapt to global crises.
2024-Feb-14 • 18 minutes
Using Sound To Unpack The History Of Astronomy
A new podcast series examines sonified space data to explore pivotal moments throughout the history of astronomy.
2024-Feb-13 • 24 minutes
Colorectal Cancer Rates Rising In Young People | What An AI Learns From A Baby
Colorectal cancer is becoming increasingly common among adults in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Plus, associating images and sounds from a child’s daily life helped teach a computer model a set of basic nouns.
2024-Feb-12 • 18 minutes
A Black Physician’s Analysis Of The Legacy Of Racism In Medicine
In a new book, Dr. Uché Blackstock reflects on her experiences as a Black physician and the structural racism embedded in medicine.
2024-Feb-09 • 20 minutes
Faraway Planets With Oceans Of Magma | The Art And Science Of Trash Talk
Hycean planets were thought to be covered by oceans of water, but a new study suggests it could be magma instead. And, author Rafi Kohan explains the psychological and physiological responses to trash talk, ahead of Super Bowl Sunday.
2024-Feb-08 • 19 minutes
Is Each Fingerprint On Your Hand Unique? | In This Computer Component, Data Slides Through Honey
A new study uses artificial intelligence to show that each of our ten fingerprints are remarkably similar to one another. Plus, honey could be the secret ingredient in building a more eco-friendly “memristor,” which transmits data through malleable pathways.
2024-Feb-07 • 18 minutes
The FDA Approved The First CRISPR-Based Therapy. What’s Next?
The first CRISPR gene-editing treatment is a cure for sickle cell disease. Are we on the cusp of a gene therapy revolution?
2024-Feb-06 • 18 minutes
Protecting The ‘Satan’ Tarantula | If Termites Wore Stripes, Would Spiders Still Eat Them?
A team of scientists in Ecuador is on a mission to describe new-to-science tarantula species to help secure conservation protections. And, undergraduate researchers pasted striped capes onto termites’ backs to see if a well-known warning sign would fend off predators.
2024-Feb-05 • 18 minutes
Scientists Are Uncovering A World Of ‘Dark Matter’ Carcinogens
New findings about how substances like air pollutants can trigger cancer may help reveal carcinogens we were unaware of.
2024-Feb-02 • 25 minutes
Syphilis Cases Up 80% Since 2018 | The Largest Deep-Sea Coral Reef In The World
There has been a boom of syphilis cases, including a 180% increase in congenital syphilis cases, despite other STI levels staying stable. Also, the world's largest deep-sea reef stretches for hundreds of miles in near-freezing waters and total darkness, but it’s bustling with life.
2024-Feb-01 • 17 minutes
Expanding Our Umwelt: Understanding Animal Experiences
Writing about animals’ sensory experiences in ‘An Immense World’ changed author Ed Yong’s own worldview—and hobbies.
2024-Jan-31 • 18 minutes
How Signing Characters Help Deaf Children Learn Language
A lab at Gallaudet University is creating television shows with signing characters to increase literacy in both English and ASL.
2024-Jan-30 • 18 minutes
‘Mysterious’ Canine Illness: What Dog Owners Should Know
Veterinary experts discuss what is known about the potential respiratory pathogen—or pathogens—and which dogs are most at risk.
2024-Jan-29 • 18 minutes
An App For People Of Color To Rate Their Birthing Experiences | How Different Animals See
Irth is a “Yelp-like” app to help expectant parents make informed decisions by exposing bias and racism in healthcare systems. Also, a new video camera system shows the colors of the natural world as different animals see them.
2024-Jan-26 • 25 minutes
NASA Opens Canister With Asteroid Sample | ADHD Prescription Rates Spiked During The Pandemic
Engineers had to design bespoke tools to open the OSIRIS-REx capsule nearly four months after it arrived back on Earth. Also, prescription rates for ADHD drugs rose by 30% from 2020-2022, with large increases among women and young people.
2024-Jan-25 • 18 minutes
AI Helps Find Ancient Artifacts In The Great Lakes | An Artist Combines Indigenous Textiles With Modern Tech
Researchers in Michigan modeled a prehistoric land bridge and used AI to predict where caribou–and humans–might have traveled along it. Also, artist Sarah Rosalena uses Indigenous weaving, ceramics, and sculpture practices to create art that challenges tech’s future.
2024-Jan-24 • 31 minutes
When The ‘Personal’ Computer Turned 30
In a conversation from 2014, Ira and guests looked back on the early days of personal computing, talk about how the Macintosh came to be, and reflect on what the anniversary of the Mac meant after 30 years.
2024-Jan-23 • 27 minutes
How The Moon Transformed Life On Earth, From Climate to Timekeeping
A new book explores how the moon changed us—and how we’ve changed the moon.
2024-Jan-22 • 34 minutes
From Scans To Office Visits: How Will AI Shape Medicine?
Scientists are testing artificial intelligence’s ability to read imaging results, make diagnoses, and more. Listeners call in.
2024-Jan-19 • 13 minutes
Rhesus Monkey Cloned With Modified Approach Has Survived Into Adulthood
In China, a cloned rhesus monkey has lived for over two years, signifying advances in cloning and reproductive gene editing technology.
2024-Jan-18 • 19 minutes
3,000 Types Of Brain Cells Categorized In Massive Brain Cell Atlas
The new atlas catalogs cell types by the genes they express, which could help medical researchers tailor treatments.
2024-Jan-17 • 14 minutes
Brain ‘Organoids’: Lab-Grown Cell Clusters Model Brain Functions
Scientists can coax stem cells into clusters that mimic the functions of brain regions, which could help us understand brain disorders.
2024-Jan-16 • 19 minutes
The Lasting Allure Of Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’
In a conversation from March 2023, the maritime archeologist who found the storied wreck discusses the mission and his new book.
2024-Jan-15 • 33 minutes
How Close Are We To Answers About Aliens?
Dr. Adam Frank discusses the human fascination with extraterrestrial life—and the scientific search for it—in his new book.
2024-Jan-12 • 25 minutes
NASA Delays Crewed Moon Missions | Top Technologies To Watch In 2024
With this week’s delays to Artemis II and III, astronauts likely won’t walk on the moon until 2026 at the earliest. Also, weight-loss drugs, AI, clean-energy tech and more: digging into MIT Technology Review’s annual list with executive editor Amy Nordrum.
2024-Jan-11 • 18 minutes
To Get Ready For Mars, NASA Studies How The Body Changes In Space
Spending time in space affects everything from eyesight to bone health. NASA’s CIPHER program will measure these changes and more.
2024-Jan-10 • 18 minutes
Science Journalism Is Shrinking–Along With Public Trust In Science
In 2023, a flood of science journalists lost their jobs. At the same time, public trust in science continues to decline.
2024-Jan-09 • 19 minutes
(Part 2) Endangered Species Act At 50: Orchids And Red Wolves
It's been 50 years since the Endangered Species Act established protections for plant and animal species at risk of extinction. Conservationists discuss ongoing efforts to protect orchids and red wolves.
2024-Jan-08 • 17 minutes
(Part 1) Endangered Species Act at 50: Hawaiian Land Snails
It's been 50 years since the Endangered Species Act established protections for plant and animal species at risk of extinction. Two conservationists discuss the effort to save Hawaiian land snails.
2024-Jan-05 • 25 minutes
Solar Activity Flares Up In 2024 | Underground Hydrogen Reserves And Clean Energy
Look out for a total solar eclipse, more solar flares, and the Parker Solar Probe’s closest approach to the sun. Also, underground hydrogen stores have raised renewable energy hopes, but can the industry overcome the logistical hurdles of distributing it?
2024-Jan-04 • 37 minutes
SciFri Reads ‘The Alchemy Of Us’
In November 2023, the SciFri Book Club met with author Ainissa Ramirez to talk about how our values are baked into our creations—and the people who helped bring them into reality.
2024-Jan-03 • 47 minutes
SciFri Reads ‘The Kaiju Preservation Society’
In August 2023, the SciFri Book Club talked with author John Scalzi about what it takes to write a believable monster onto the page.
2024-Jan-02 • 29 minutes
Star Trek’s Science Advisor Reveals The Real Astrophysics On Screen
In a conversation from May 2023, astrophysicist Dr. Erin Macdonald talks about consulting on the famous series and the real (and fictional) science on screen.
2024-Jan-01 • 34 minutes
A Mathematician Asks ‘Is Math Real?’
When math is based on abstract concepts, how do we know it’s correct? In a conversation from October 2023, Dr. Eugenia Cheng takes on that question in a new book.
2023-Dec-29 • 21 minutes
Unmasking Owls’ Mysteries | Why It Feels So Good To Eat Chocolate
In conversations from 2023, Jennifer Ackerman’s delves into owls' mysteries, and an artificial tongue helps researchers understand how texture impacts what people like about chocolate.
2023-Dec-28 • 54 minutes
SciFri Reads ‘The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2023’
Earlier this year, the SciFri Book Club met to reflect on our favorite stories from last year and the future of scientific discovery and journalism.
2023-Dec-27 • 30 minutes
The Unseen World Of Seaweeds | Should 'Dark Fungi' Species Get Names?
In a conversation from 2023, an author celebrates the beautiful and underappreciated seaweeds shaping coastlines around the world. Also, scientists have recovered the DNA of thousands of new species of fungi from the environment, but they aren’t eligible for scientific names.
2023-Dec-26 • 30 minutes
How 'Panda Diplomacy' Led To Conservation Success
For decades, panda policy has guided conservation advancements. Now, pandas in the US are being returned to China.
2023-Dec-25 • 16 minutes
Music’s Emotional Power Can Shape Memories—And Your Perception Of Time
Researchers used music to elicit different emotions, then looked at how shifts in emotion influenced participants’ memory formation.
2023-Dec-22 • 18 minutes
Top Science News Stories of 2023 | Solar Panels In Historic Cape Cod
This year brought us new vaccines, a highly anticipated asteroid sample, and an update to T. rex’s smile. Also, local historic committees in Cape Cod are blocking some residents from installing solar panels, citing visual impact on the neighborhood.
2023-Dec-21 • 18 minutes
Pennsylvania Drug Laws May Limit Syringe Services | These Romance Novels Represent Black Women In Science
Pennsylvania will receive more than $1.6 billion in opioid settlement funds. But state laws may prevent that money from going to syringe services. Also, Dr. Carlotta Berry writes romance novels about Black women in the sciences to encourage more people to go into the field.
2023-Dec-20 • 18 minutes
Flame Retardant From Cocoa Pod Husks | The Oozy Physics Of Oobleck
Scientists are using leftover cocoa pod husks to extract lignin, an organic polymer that can become flame retardant, foam, or a straw. Also, Non-Newtonian fluids challenge our ideas of what’s liquid and what’s solid. We now have a better understanding of how they work.
2023-Dec-19 • 18 minutes
The Military’s Carbon Footprint Is A Hidden Cost Of Defense
A recent report estimates that climate reparations of the US and UK militaries would reach $111 billion.
2023-Dec-18 • 20 minutes
High Energy Cosmic Ray Detected | These Penguins Are The Masters Of Microsleeping
While they’re nesting, chinstrap penguins take thousands of seconds-long naps a day. It adds up. Also, powerful cosmic rays like the “Amaterasu” particle are typically caused by celestial events. This one’s source is unknown.
2023-Dec-15 • 23 minutes
COP28 Climate Conference Ends | Why Are Some People Affected By Seasonal Affective Disorder?
COP28 ended with an agreement calling for a transition away from fossil fuels, but critics say it’s too little, too late. Also, some people are more prone to develop seasonal depression. A researcher discusses the most effective treatments.
2023-Dec-14 • 34 minutes
A Celebration Of The 2023 Christmas Bird Count
Birders across the world band together to record the number of birds in their communities from Dec 14 to Jan 5.
2023-Dec-13 • 17 minutes
Surfing Particles Can Supercharge Northern Lights
In a conversation from 2021, Ira and a researcher discuss how the physics of plasma, particles, and the Earth’s magnetic field combine in dazzling displays of aurora.
2023-Dec-12 • 33 minutes
The (Not So) Easy Guide To Getting To Space
In a new book, astronaut Mike Massimino reflects on his time in space, and what it taught him about succeeding on Earth.
2023-Dec-11 • 18 minutes
The Women Astronomers Who Captured the Stars
In a conversation from 2016, Ira and Dava Sobel discuss a team of women astronomers at the Harvard College Observatory who worked to classify the stars at the beginning of the 20th century.
2023-Dec-08 • 25 minutes
Quercetin May Cause Red Wine Headaches | Worsening Wildfires Are Undoing Air Quality Progress
A new theory pins the throbbing pain of a red wine headache on quercetin, an antioxidant in grape skins. Plus, wildfires in the Western US have not only lowered air quality, but led to increased deaths between 2000 and 2020.
2023-Dec-07 • 18 minutes
Speaking Multiple Languages Changes The Way You Think
Speaking more than one language has the power to shape memory and cognition–and perhaps even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
2023-Dec-06 • 18 minutes
Social Connections Keep Us Physically and Mentally Healthy As We Age
Long-term research tracking adults over 50 shows that social activity, intimacy, and personal connections are key to good health.
2023-Dec-05 • 13 minutes
Women Were Also Skilled Hunters In Ancient Times
New analysis of remains and burial items suggests women and men did both parts of hunting and gathering in the Paleolithic era.
2023-Dec-04 • 24 minutes
An AI Leader’s Human-Centered Approach To Artificial Intelligence
Dr. Fei-Fei Li of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI discusses the promise and peril of the ground-breaking technology.
2023-Dec-01 • 23 minutes
COP28 Host Had Plans to Promote Oil and Gas | Researchers Detected Cicada Emergence With Fiber-Optics
The United Nations climate summit will happen for the next two weeks in Dubai—a city known for its oil money. And, in 2021, an electronics and communications lab accidentally detected the mass emergence of Brood X with fiber-optic sensors.
2023-Nov-30 • 26 minutes
Ralph Nader Reflects On His Auto Safety Campaign, 55 Years Later
In a conversation from 2021, Ira discusses how auto safety has drastically advanced, thanks in part to Nader’s groundbreaking investigation.
2023-Nov-29 • 13 minutes
What’s That Smell? An AI Nose Knows
In a conversation from September 2023, Ira discusses a computer model can map the structure of a chemical to predict what it probably smells like.
2023-Nov-28 • 36 minutes
Jane Goodall On Life Among Chimpanzees
In an interview from 2002, the primatologist gave Ira a lesson in how to speak with chimps.
2023-Nov-27 • 22 minutes
The ‘Wet-Dog Shake’ And Other Physics Mysteries
From 2018: In his book 'How to Walk on Water and Climb Up Walls,' David Hu explores the wonders of the animal world.
2023-Nov-24 • 25 minutes
Ig Nobel Prizes | Stop Flushing Your Health Data Down The Toilet
Counting nose hairs and licking rocks: Highlights from the 33rd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony. Plus, in a conversation from March 2023, Ira discusses smart toilets powered by AI to give users more insight into their health.
2023-Nov-23 • 18 minutes
The West’s Wild Horses | Artist Explores History Of Humans Genetically Modifying Pigs
Reporter Ashley Ahearn bought a wild horse from the federal government for $125. Also, with opera and visual art, an exhibit looks at modern genetic engineering of pigs.
2023-Nov-22 • 21 minutes
Moon Rock Research | Science of Unraveling Sweaters
Research on crystals brought back by the Apollo 17 mission shows that the moon is 40 million years older than we thought. And, a textile professor and knit expert explains why many sweaters today are of poorer quality than sweaters in the past.
2023-Nov-21 • 26 minutes
2023’s Best Science Books For Kids
An editor and a children’s author weigh in on this year’s best STEM books for kids. Plus, listeners share their own favorites.
2023-Nov-20 • 18 minutes
How AI Chatbots Can Reinforce Racial Bias In Medicine
Researchers examined four popular chatbots and found they perpetuated debunked, harmful ideas from race-based medicine.
2023-Nov-17 • 13 minutes
An Exoplanet Where It Rains Sand
Astronomers are calling the exoplanet “fluffy.” Plus, an update on a possible volcanic eruption in Iceland.
2023-Nov-16 • 18 minutes
Ask A Chef: How Can I Use Science To Make Thanksgiving Tastier?
Chef Dan Souza from Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen answers your holiday cooking questions.
2023-Nov-15 • 29 minutes
Monumental And Invisible: How Infrastructure Works
An engineering professor and author explains how modern life depends on vast, complicated systems you probably never think about.
2023-Nov-14 • 18 minutes
Everything You Never Knew About Squash And Pumpkins
It’s squash, pumpkin and gourd season. An expert answers listener questions about these colorful fall favorites.
2023-Nov-13 • 12 minutes
How A University Is Adjusting One Year After ChatGPT
An English professor discusses how AI is transforming education, and how students and faculty alike can use it responsibly.
2023-Nov-10 • 18 minutes
Euclid Telescope’s First Images | A Black Hole That Came From Gas
A new ESA telescope could help us understand how dark matter and dark energy influence the structure of the universe. Also, using both JWST and the Chandra Observatory, astronomers discover the oldest known black hole.
2023-Nov-09 • 18 minutes
How Five Elements Define Life On Earth
Is the secret to life really just wrangling carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and phosphorus? Author Stephen Porder explains in a new book.
2023-Nov-08 • 17 minutes
Climate Future Exhibit | Oregon's Proposed Fish Vacuum
2023-Nov-07 • 17 minutes
How A Deaf Advisory Group Is Changing Healthcare
Deaf patients often don’t receive interpreters in healthcare settings. A deaf advisory group worked with a hospital to improve how it cares for them.
2023-Nov-06 • 18 minutes
40 Years Of Sounding The Alarm On Nuclear Winter
In October 1983, Carl Sagan introduced the world to the idea of nuclear winter caused by nuclear weapon fallout. Is it still a threat?
2023-Nov-03 • 25 minutes
CRISPR-Based Sickle Cell Treatment | Pain Tolerance From Neanderthals
If given final approval by the FDA, this sickle-cell treatment would be the first to use gene-editing CRISPR technology on humans. Also, gene variants inherited from Neanderthals can impact pain tolerance in modern humans.
2023-Nov-02 • 18 minutes
How Poisons Have Shaped Life On Earth
Poisons fill our pantries and gardens. The new book Most Delicious Poison explores how common toxins have shaped life on Earth.
2023-Nov-01 • 18 minutes
Placenta Research May Help Explain Pregnancy Loss
By studying placentas from lost pregnancies, one doctor hopes to provide answers that are so often lacking after a miscarriage or stillbirth.
2023-Oct-31 • 13 minutes
A Common Cold Medicine Ingredient Doesn’t Work. What Now?
Twenty years ago, scientists found that phenylephrine, listed as a decongestant in many cold medicines, didn’t work. What can you use instead?
2023-Oct-30 • 30 minutes
Diving Into Elon Musk’s Mind
Walter Isaacson’s latest biography peers into the life and mind of entrepreneur Elon Musk.
2023-Oct-27 • 18 minutes
RSV Drug Shortage & Beech Leaf Disease
RSV has reached epidemic levels in the southern US. Also, beech leaf disease is spreading rapidly in Massachusetts.
2023-Oct-26 • 18 minutes
When Studying Ecology Means Celebrating Its Gifts
In a conversation from 2019, bestselling author Robin Wall Kimmerer discusses the role of ceremony in our lives, and how to celebrate reciprocal relationships with the natural world.
2023-Oct-25 • 18 minutes
Unlocking The Mysteries Of A Metal-Rich Asteroid
NASA’s Psyche spacecraft is on a six-year voyage to an asteroid largely made of metal. It may help us understand how planets form.
2023-Oct-24 • 18 minutes
Rapidly Evolving Trout & Ancient Hyper-Apex Predators
Research shows some stocked trout are evolving rapidly and altering Wyoming's aquatic ecosystems. Plus, paleontologists pieced together a level of apex predators with no modern equivalent.
2023-Oct-23 • 18 minutes
Finding Meaning In The Cosmos
In her new memoir, astrobiologist Dr. Aomawa Shields describes how a quest for life in the cosmos helped her find meaning on Earth.
2023-Oct-20 • 24 minutes
‘Clean Hydrogen Hub’ Awardees & Formula One Car Paint
Seven “clean energy hubs” will receive a total of $7B to develop forms of hydrogen production with minimal carbon emissions. And, ahead of the US Grand Prix, an aerodynamicist breaks down the recent engineering changes to F1 cars.
2023-Oct-19 • 17 minutes
What Is Your Cat Doing When You're Not Watching?
In a conversation from 2019, Ira and the researchers behind a “catcam” study discuss the secret lives of your feline friends.
2023-Oct-18 • 24 minutes
The Stories Of The First Six Women Astronauts
You know Sally Ride. But what about the other first women astronauts? A new book from space reporter Loren Grush illuminates their stories.
2023-Oct-17 • 33 minutes
A Mathematician Asks ‘Is Math Real?’
When math is based on abstract concepts, how do we know it’s correct? Dr. Eugenia Cheng takes on that question in a new book.
2023-Oct-16 • 13 minutes
The mRNA Vaccine Revolution
The mRNA innovations used to fight COVID-19 could be harnessed for nasal spray vaccines and even protection against other diseases.
2023-Oct-13 • 18 minutes
Ancient Human Footprints & 'Ring Of Fire' Eclipse
A new analysis of ancient footprints in New Mexico adds to the debate about when humans arrived in North America. Plus, astronomer Dean Regas offers tips for safe viewing of Saturday’s eclipse.
2023-Oct-12 • 19 minutes
Saltwater Wedge In The Mississippi & Kenya's Geothermal Boom
A saltwater wedge threatens infrastructure and human health along the Mississippi River. Also, the geologically active East African Rift System has already helped Kenya become the world’s seventh largest geothermal producer.
2023-Oct-11 • 18 minutes
How Artists And Scientists Collaborated To Make Art About HIV
At an HIV research conference earlier this year, HIV-positive artists and scientists were paired together to create art for an exhibition.
2023-Oct-10 • 19 minutes
Full-Body MRIs Promise To Detect Disease Early. Do They Work?
Influencers like Kim Kardashian have promoted full-body scans, but experts say the potential harms outweigh any possible benefits.
2023-Oct-09 • 18 minutes
Meet The Doctor Who Solves Medical Mysteries
2023-Oct-06 • 25 minutes
mRNA Research Wins Nobel Prize & Lightning On Venus
Nobel prizes also went to advances in quantum dots and timing super-fast electron pulses. Also, does Venus have lightning? A study based on data from the Parker Solar Probe gives the 40-year-old debate a jolt.
2023-Sep-29 • 48 minutes
Placebo Effect, Technoableism, Florida Citrus, Neuroscience Music. Sept 29, 2023, Part 2
Researchers are learning that placebos might be more effective when patients are told they’re receiving them. Plus, a new book argues that cutting-edge technology is not always a needed solution. And a food scientist explains how an invasive insect is turning oranges sour.
2023-Sep-29 • 48 minutes
Vision and the Brain, Jellypalooza. Sept 29, 2023, Part 1
A neuroscientist discusses how your brain filters visual inputs. Plus, two stories about jellyfish -- tracking a freshwater jelly that’s spreading across the US, and the surprising finding that one species of jelly may be able to learn.
2023-Sep-22 • 47 minutes
Ocean Climate Solutions, Florida Corals, Climate Video Games. Sept 22, 2023, Part 2
The ocean is the world’s largest carbon sink. We need to take better care of it. Plus, after this summer’s heat, marine biologists are scrambling to help protect the rapidly dying reef in the Florida Keys.
2023-Sep-22 • 47 minutes
Our Fragile Moment, Climate Comedy. Sept 22, 2023, Part 1
Climate scientist Michael Mann talks about how important it is to take action now—before we see climate change’s worst consequences. Plus, research suggests that comedy is a powerful way to mobilize people.
2023-Sep-15 • 48 minutes
New Covid Vaccine, Moroccan Earthquake, Native Bees. Sept 15, 2023, Part 2
The recent 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Morocco left thousands of people dead, injured, or lost. Why was it so dangerous? Plus, three new vaccines will be available this fall to address COVID, the flu, and RSV. And the buzz on native bees in your neighborhood.
2023-Sep-15 • 47 minutes
Radioactive Wildlife, Bus Stop Heat, Football Jersey Numbers. Sept 15, 2023, Part 1
Measuring cesium in wild boar and uranium in turtles sheds light on how radioactive materials travel through the environment. Plus, a new study explains why wide receivers on professional football teams feel slimmer and faster when they wear smaller numbers.
2023-Sep-08 • 47 minutes
Tree Soil, Rodent Biologist, Soundscape Artist. Sept 8, 2023, Part 2
Treetops can hold complex ecosystems that include soil and other plants. Plus, a rodent biologist reflects on her career.
2023-Sep-08 • 47 minutes
Embryo Model, Sweat, Whale Vocal Fry. September 8, 2023, Part 1
Scientists successfully created a 14-day old human embryo model without sperm or eggs. And, whale “vocal fry” helps them echolocate.
2023-Sep-01 • 48 minutes
An AI for Smell, Heat and Agricultural Workers, Golden Lion Tamarin, Y Chromosome. Sept 1, 2023, Part 2
Having a complete sequence of the human Y chromosome might help research and medicine. Plus, a new computer model can map the structure of a chemical to predict what it probably smells like.
2023-Sep-01 • 47 minutes
US Surgeon General On Mental Health, Tracking Tick Bites. Sept 1, 2023, Part 1
Dr. Vivek Murthy on the intersection of youth mental health, social media, and loneliness. Plus, how an app is helping scientists learn more about the spread of tick-borne diseases.
2023-Aug-25 • 47 minutes
Old Things Considered: La Brea, Megalodon, Dino Footprints, Surviving History. Aug 25, 2023, Part 2
A new book uses science and hindsight to figure out how to survive history’s greatest disasters. Plus, megalodon was the largest shark that ever lived. How accurate is the science in the movie Meg 2: The Trench?
2023-Aug-25 • 47 minutes
Sea Otters, Alaskan Minerals, Salmon Restoration. Aug 25, 2023, Part 1
As Alaska begins looking beyond fossil fuels, mining companies are quietly preparing to take over its highways. Plus, an expert from the Monterey Bay Aquarium talks all things sea otter.
2023-Aug-18 • 47 minutes
Women Athletes, Stem Cell Cornea Repair, Sand. August 18, 2023, Part 2
A conversation about the gap in womens’ sports science, and why it's so important to better understand female athletic performance. Plus, how researchers looked at taking stem cells from a patient’s healthy eye and using them to help regrow tissue in a damaged eye. And a look at the wonders of sand.
2023-Aug-18 • 47 minutes
Covid Update, Brain Fog Research, Toilet to Tap. Aug 18, 2023, Part 1
As COVID-related hospitalizations once again surge, virologist Dr. Angela Rasmussen answers listener queries about the latest variant. Plus, research into the ‘brain fog’ symptom. And a trip to Reno, NV to check in on a wastewater recycling program.