Joe Palca

Joe Palca appears in the following:

NASA Probe Prepares For Its Final Pass Around Ceres

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The dwarf planet most recently is famous for the two mysterious, bright spots on its surface.


How Can Robots Learn New Tasks? Practice, Practice, Practice

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Even the smartest robot does a miserable job picking up objects it hasn't been programmed to recognize. One way robots may get better at it is to learn by experience, a researcher says.


A Discoverer Of The Buckyball Offers Tips On Winning A Nobel Prize

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Harold Kroto shared a Nobel in 1996 for finding a new type of carbon molecule that ignited the field of nanotechnology. Find a passion where — with hard work — you can be the best, he advises.


Nobel Prize In Chemistry Awarded To 3 Scientists For DNA Repair Discovery

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be shared by three scientists for their work on how cells repair damage to DNA. They have discovered DNA damage can lead to mutations, which in turn can lead to cancer.


3 Scientists Win 2015 Nobel Chemistry Prize

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The work of Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar details how cells repair damaged DNA and preserve genes.


When Baby Sleeps Near Mom, Guess Who Doesn't Sleep Well?

Friday, October 02, 2015

By measuring sleep patterns of first-time mothers and their infants, Israeli researchers learned just how tiring it can be just having a baby in the same room at night.


Why NASA Didn't Just Send Over A Rover To Look For Water On Mars

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

One reason is that it would take the Curiosity rover about a year to get there, even with no obstacles and no traffic. But the other reason might surprise you.


Why Nonstop Travel In Personal Pods Has Yet To Take Off

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Personal rapid transit was supposed to be the future of public transport: lightweight pods on elevated tracks, on-demand destinations. But funding issues make cities reluctant to change course.


#NPRreads: Senator In Prison, Pitchers Who Hit, Ice Cream, And Overwork

Friday, September 04, 2015

This week's selection of what NPR correspondents, editors and producers are reading online includes a prison story and a baseball tale.


A Lot Of Heat Is Wasted, So Why Not Convert It Into Power?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

What if there were a way to take the waste heat that spews from car tailpipes or power plant chimneys and turn it into electricity? An entrepreneur says something called thermoelectrics is the key.


Scientists Develop App To Turn Smartphones Into Cosmic Ray Detectors

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

If scientists can convince people to use the app, they hope it will help them solve a cosmic mystery. This story originally aired on March 27, 2015 on All Things Considered.


Shall I Compare Thee To An Algorithm? Turing Test Gets A Creative Twist

Friday, August 07, 2015

Can a computer program craft passable prose — something readers can't distinguish from human-authored stuff? How about poetry, or dance mixes? New contests pose those challenges.


Snail Venom Yields Potent Painkiller, But Delivering The Drug Is Tricky

Monday, August 03, 2015

The drug derived from the venom of cone snails must be injected into the spinal column to get beyond a patient's blood-brain barrier and bring relief. But scientists think they may have a workaround.


How A Scientist's Slick Discovery Helped Save Preemies' Lives

Monday, August 03, 2015

Sometimes one person's insight transforms medicine. Dr. John Clements is one of those people. In the 1950s he discovered a slippery lung substance key to breathing, and to the survival of tiny babies.


'Buckyballs' Solve Century-Old Mystery About Interstellar Space

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Scientists have long wondered what's in the wispy cloud of gas floating in the space between the stars, absorbing starlight. Turns out it's a form of carbon named after architect Buckminster Fuller.


Progress In The Fight Against A Parasite That Causes Diarrheal Disease

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Scientists have had a hard time finding the weak spots of Cryptosporidium parvum, but now that's changing. It's not a common killer in the U.S., but it's a different story in the developing world.


Flood Maps Can Get Much Sharper With A Little Supercomputing Oomph

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Entrepreneurs are turning to Oak Ridge National Lab's supercomputer to make all sorts of things, including maps that are much more accurate in predicting how a neighborhood will fare in a flood.


Scientists Investigate What Makes Us Itch

Friday, June 12, 2015

Scientists found a molecule crucial to perceiving the sensation of itching. It affects how the brain responds to serotonin, and may explain why anti-depressants that boost serotonin make some itch.


How A Drunken Chipmunk Voice Helps Send A Public Service Message

Monday, June 01, 2015

First you get a crazy message from a friend. Then you get a not-so-crazy message that could help you find a job or fight a disease.


'Playing Around With Telescopes' To Explore Secrets Of The Universe

Saturday, May 16, 2015

For astrophysicist Shrinivas Kulkarni, "The sky is so much richer and so much more imaginative than the imagination."