Science Friday

50 EpisodesProduced by Science Friday and WNYC Studios

Brain fun for curious people.

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Moon Art, Space History, And NASA's Megarocket. July 19, 2019, Part 2

July 19th, 2019

46:56
Our Lunar Muse

Most of us remember that iconic photograph of the Apollo 11 moon landing: Buzz Aldrin standing on a footprint-covered moon, one arm …

Apollo Anniversary And Bird Book Club. July 19, 2019, Part 1

July 19th, 2019

44:59
Celebrating Apollo's 'Giant Leap'

July 20, 1969 was a day that changed us forever—the first time humans left footprints on another world. In this …

Mosquitos and Smell, Fermentation, Model Rocket Launch. July 12, 2019, Part 2

July 12th, 2019

47:10

If you’ve ever tried brewing your own beer or raising your own sourdough, then you know that the process of fermentation isn't easy to get right. How …

Degrees of Change: Food and Climate. July 12, 2019, Part 1

July 12th, 2019

47:13

A quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from putting food on the table. From the fossil fuels used to produce fertilizers, to the methane burps of cows, to the jet fuel used to deliver your fresh …

The Bastard Brigade, Spontaneous Generation. July 5, 2019, Part 2

July 5th, 2019

59:18

Much has been written about the Manhattan Project, the American-led project to develop the atomic bomb. Less well known is Nazi Germany’s “Uranium …

Science Road Trips, Archaeology From Space. July 5, 2019, Part 1

July 5th, 2019

46:12

Summer is here—and that means it’s time for a road trip! Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton, co-authors of Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the Hidden Wonders of the World, join Ira to share some suggestions for sciencey …

Paternity, Musical Proteins, Microbiome In Runners. June 28, 2019, Part 2

June 28th, 2019

47:41

These days, a scientific paternity test is easily acquired, and its results are seen as almost indisputable. But what about the days before so-called …

Cephalopod Week Wrap-Up, USDA Climate Change, Sinking Louisiana. June 28, 2019, Part 1

June 28th, 2019

47:23

The eight-day squid-and-kin appreciation extravaganza of Cephalopod Week is nearly over, but there’s still plenty to learn and love about these tentacled “aliens” of the deep. After a rare video sighting of a giant …

SciFri Extra: About Time

June 25th, 2019

14:43

The official U.S. time is kept on a cesium fountain clock named NIST-F1, located in Boulder, Colorado. On a recent trip to Boulder, Ira took a trip …

Smoke Chasers, Colorado Apples, Pikas. June 21, 2019, Part 2

June 21st, 2019

48:46

When wildfires rage in the West, Colorado State University atmospheric scientist Emily Fischer hops into a plane, and flies straight into the smoke. …

Cephalopod Week 2019, Climate and Microbes, Puppy Eyes, Wave Energy. June 21, 2019, Part 1

June 21st, 2019

48:11

For eight glorious days during the end of June, Science Friday honors the mighty mollusks of the ocean—Cephalopod Week returns for the sixth year! …

Degrees Of Change: Urban Heat Islands. June 14, 2019, Part 1

June 14th, 2019

45:49

We’ve known for more than 200 years that cities are hotter than surrounding rural areas. All that concrete and brick soaks up the sun’s rays, then re-emits them as heat long after night has fallen. On top of that, waste …

The Best Summer Science Books. June 14, 2019, Part 2

June 14th, 2019

46:57
The Best Science Books To Read This Summer

They say a vacation is only as good as the book you bring with you. And these days it feels like there are as many ways to consume science writing as there are fields of …

Quantum Leaps, Cancer Drugs, Cat Cameras. June 7, 2019, Part 2

June 7th, 2019

47:07

The “spooky physics” of the quantum world has long been marked by two key ideas: The idea of superposition, meaning that a quantum particle can exist …

Gender Bias In Research Trials, Antarctica, Tornado Engineering. June 7, 2019, Part 1

June 7th, 2019

47:16

For half a century, most neuroscience experiments have had one glaring flaw: They've ignored female study subjects. The reason? Researchers claimed, …

SciFri Extra: Remembering Murray Gell-Mann

June 4th, 2019

43:32

Physicist Murray Gell-Mann died recently at the age of 89. He received the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the theory of elementary particles, and is credited with giving quarks their name. But he was known …

Climate Politics, Football and Math, Ether. May 31, 2019, Part 2

May 31st, 2019

47:07

A green wave is sweeping through Washington, and it’s picking up Republicans who are eager to share their ideas on clean energy and climate …

Spoiler Alert, Glyphosate, Unisexual Salamanders. May 31, 2019, Part 1

May 31st, 2019

47:12

How many times has this happened to you? You’re standing in front of an open freezer, wondering what type of mystery meat has been left in there, when you purchased it, and if it’s still safe to eat? If you’re puzzled …

SciFri Extra: A Relatively Important Eclipse

May 28th, 2019

14:57

This week marks the 100th anniversary of an eclipse that forever changed physics and our understanding of the universe.

In May 1919, scientists set out for Sobral, Brazil, and Príncipe, an island off the west coast of …

Bees! May 24, 2019, Part 2

May 24th, 2019

46:53

For the hobby beekeeper, there’s much to consider when homing your first domestic honey bee colonies—what kind of hive to get, where to put them, …

Ebola Outbreak, Climate Play, Navajo Energy. May 24, 2019, Part 1

May 24th, 2019

46:56

What would it take to power a subsea factory of the future? Plus, other stories from this week in science news.

Then, as the last coal-fired power …

New Horizons Discovery, Science Fair Finalists, Screams. May 17, 2019, Part 2

May 17th, 2019

46:58

The most happening New Year’s Party of 2019 wasn’t at Times Square or Paris—it was in the small town of Laurel, Maryland, halfway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics …

Degrees Of Change: Sea Level Rise, Coal-Use Decline. May 17, 2019, Part 1

May 17th, 2019

46:53

As the frequency of tropical storms and droughts increase and sea levels rise with climate change, forested wetlands along the Atlantic coast are slowly filling with dead and dying trees. The accelerating spread of …

Biodiversity Report And The Science Of Parenting. May 10, 2019, Part 2

May 10th, 2019

46:16

According to a new UN report on global biodiversity, as many as one million species—both plants and animals—are now at risk of extinction, according to a new UN report on global biodiversity. That number includes 40% of …

Superconductivity Search, Ride-Share Congestion, Lions Vs. Porcupines. May 10, 2019, Part 1

May 10th, 2019

47:20

Six decades ago, a group of physicists came up with a theory that described electrons at a low temperature that could attract a second electron. If …

Neuroscientists Peer Into The Mind's Eye, Alexander von Humboldt. May 3, 2019, Part 2

May 3rd, 2019

47:15

It sounds like a sci-fi plot: Hook a real brain up to artificial intelligence, and let the two talk to each other. That’s the design of a new study in the journal Cell, in which artificial intelligence networks …

Business Planning For Climate Change,The Digital Afterlife. May 3, 2019, Part 1

May 3rd, 2019

47:42

Scientists have built all sorts of models to predict the likelihood of extreme weather events. But it’s not just scientists who are interested in these models. Telecomm giant AT&T teamed up with scientists at …

Measles, Poetry Month, Lemur Hibernation. April 26, 2019, Part 2

April 26th, 2019

45:57

Back in 1963, before the development of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, there were 4 million cases of measles every year. It took nearly four decades, but by 2000, enough people had become vaccinated that …

Degrees of Change: Sponge Cities and Pocket Prairies. April 26, 2019, Part 1

April 26th, 2019

46:09

Climate change is happening—now we need to deal with it. Degrees of Change, a new series of hour-long radio specials from Science Friday, explores the problem of climate change and how we as a planet are adapting to …

5G, Pig Brains, Privacy For Nature. April 19, 2019, Part 1

April 19th, 2019

47:02

Last week, President Trump announced a new initiative to push forward the implementation of 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity for smartphones and other devices. How is this faster speed possible, and how …

New Human Species, Census, Plankton, Brain Etchings. April 19, 2019, Part 2

April 19th, 2019

46:57

Last week, researchers announced they’d found the remains of a new species of ancient human on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. It was just a few teeth and bones from toes and hands, but they appeared to have a …

Year In Space Results, Citizen Science Day, Cherry Blossoms. April 12, 2019, Part 2

April 12th, 2019

46:29

To find out what was happening to astronauts over longer periods of space flight, NASA put together a 10-team study of twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly. Scott spent a year on International Space Station, while his …

Event Horizon Telescope, Biosphere 2. April 12, 2019, Part 1

April 12th, 2019

46:51

“As I like to say, it’s never a good idea to bet against Einstein,” astrophysicist Shep Doeleman told Science Friday back in 2016, when the Event …

SciFri Extra: Picturing A Black Hole

April 6th, 2019

17:02

The Event Horizon Telescope is tackling one of the largest cosmological challenges ever undertaken: Take an image of the supermassive black hole at …

Right-To-Repair, Exercise Recovery, Gov. Inslee. April 5, 2019, Part 2

April 5th, 2019

47:01

Whenever your smartphone or video game console breaks down, you usually have to go back to the manufacture or a technician affiliated with the …

Coal Ash, Soil Loss, Sap, Bristlecone Pines. April 5, 2019, Part 1

April 5th, 2019

47:03

Maple tapping season is underway in the sugar maple stands of the United States. Warm days and below-freezing nights kick off a cycle of sap flow crucial for maple syrup production. But why is the flow of sap so …

Poetry of Science, The Power of Calculus. March 29, 2019, Part 2

March 29th, 2019

48:22

April is National Poetry Month, a time of readings, outreach programs, and enthusiastic celebration of the craft. And for a special Science Friday celebration, we’ll be looking at where science and poetry meet. Tracy K. …

Growing Glaciers, Expanding Universe, Flu Near You. March 29, 2019, Part 1

March 29th, 2019

48:43

Once upon a time, everything in the universe was crammed into a very small space. Then came the Big Bang, and the universe has been expanding ever …

A.I. And Doctors, Alzheimer’s. March 22, 2019, Part 2

March 22nd, 2019

46:58

When you go to the doctor’s office, it can sometimes seem like wait times are getting longer while face time with your doctor is getting shorter. In his book, Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make …

House Science Committee, Superbloom, Snowpack. March 22, 2019, Part 1

March 22nd, 2019

47:18

There’s been a changing of the guard in the U.S. House of Representatives. In January, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, a democrat from Texas, …

Frans de Waal, Inactive Ingredients, Street View, and Gentrification. March 15, 2019, Part 2

March 15th, 2019

46:22

Primatologist Frans de Waal has spent his lifetime studying the lives of animals, especially our closest cousins, the chimpanzees. de Waal has …

Youth Climate Protest, Science Talent Search Winners, Snowflake Changes. March 15, 2019, Part 1

March 15th, 2019

46:40

It all started with 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg. Last August, Thunberg started skipping school on Fridays to protest outside …

SciFri Extra: Celebrating The Elements

March 12th, 2019

26:11

Do you have a favorite chemical element? Neurologist Oliver Sacks did—he was partial to dense, high melting-point metals, especially those metals …

HIV Remission, Bones, Jumping Spiders. March 8, 2019, Part 2

March 8th, 2019

46:44

Nearly twelve years ago, a cancer patient infected with HIV received two bone marrow transplants to wipe out his leukemia. Now, researchers in the United Kingdom reported in Nature earlier this week that their patient, …

NASA Administrator, California Wildfires, Lichens. March 8, 2019, Part 1

March 8th, 2019

46:36

On December 14, 1972, as Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan prepared to board the lunar module, he gave one last dispatch from the lunar surface. And …

Icefish, Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, Wireless Baby Monitoring. March 1, 2019, Part 2

March 1st, 2019

46:37

During an electrical system test early in in the morning of April 26, 1986, Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded. The disaster at …

Synthetic Genomes, Climate Panel, Local Recycling. March 1, 2019, Part 1

March 1st, 2019

47:06

DNA is the universal programming language for life, and the specific code to that program are the combination of the base pairs adenine, guanine, …

SciFri Extra: A Night Of Volcanoes And Earthquakes With N.K. Jemisin

February 27th, 2019

28:44

The Science Friday Book Club discussion of N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season may have stopped erupting for the season, but we have one more piece of …

Black Holes, California Megaflood. Feb 22, 2019, Part 2

February 22nd, 2019

46:24

When it floods in California, the culprit is usually what’s known as an atmospheric river—a narrow ribbon of ultra-moist air moving in from over the …

Telescope Decisions, Grape Plasma, Israeli Moon Lander. Feb 22, 2019, Part 1

February 22nd, 2019

46:04

The American Astronomical Society meeting is the largest annual gathering of astronomers and astrophysicists. It’s not known for drama. But this year, the buzz in the room wasn’t too different from the nervous energy …

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