Joe Palca

Joe Palca appears in the following:

Dust To Dust: Scientists Find DNA Of Human Ancestors In Cave Floor Dirt

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Anthropologists in Germany say they may not need old bones to recover ancient DNA. They just analyze dust from the floor of caves where Neanderthals and other now-extinct human relatives once resided.

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Learning German In The Name Of Science And Cross-Cultural Collaboration

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Ninety young Syrian refugees are teaming up with neuroscientists in Leipzig to figure out the quickest and best way to teach German as a second language. Vocabulary first, or grammar early on, too?

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Astronomers Seeking Planet 9 Hope To Soon Catch A Glimpse

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Scientists will search the sky Thursday for an undiscovered planet in the outer solar system — they're pretty sure it's out there, and computer models tell them where to look.

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Adding A Funny Form Of Carbon To Silly Putty Creates A Heart Monitor

Friday, December 09, 2016

Graphene comes in sheets barely an atom thick and is extremely good at conducting electricity. By adding the unusual form of carbon to Silly Putty, scientists created flexible sensors.

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Some Assembly Required: New Space Telescope Will Take Shape After Launch

Monday, November 28, 2016

The James Webb Space Telescope is undergoing its final series of tests in NASA workshops. It's designed to take even grander images than the Hubble telescope. But deploying it will be a major feat.

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NASA's New 'Intruder Alert' System Spots An Incoming Asteroid

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A space rock zipped by Earth on Sunday night. Astronomers knew it didn't pose a threat, in part thanks to a new automated warning program called Scout.

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A Friend For Pluto: Astronomers Find New Dwarf Planet In Our Solar System

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The object known for now as 2014 UZ224 is only about 330 miles across and takes 1,100 years to orbit the sun. But one of the most interesting things about it is the way researchers found it.

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This Scientist Is Trying To Unravel What Sugar Does To The Brain

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Molecular biologist Monica Dus is studying fruit flies to understand how a high sugar diet affects the brain and leads to overeating and obesity. And she just won a big grant to dig deeper.

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A Revolution That Didn't Happen: Personal Rapid Transit

Monday, October 03, 2016

In 1975, the Personal Rapid Transit in Morgantown, W.Va., was expected to usher in a new age of public transit nationally. It didn't. Still, the aging system is getting a $100-million upgrade.

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A Teen Might Pick The Landing Site For NASA's Next Mars Rover

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Alex Longo hopes to be the first person to walk on Mars. In the meantime, the Raleigh, N.C., sophomore has suggested a landing site for the next rover mission. His pick is one of four finalists.

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NASA Probe Takes First-Ever Close-Up Images Of Jupiter's North Pole

Friday, September 02, 2016

"It's bluer in color up there than other parts of the planet, and there are a lot of storms," a Juno mission leader says of the gas giant's northern reaches.

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Astronomers Are On A Celestial Treasure Hunt. The Prize? Planet Nine

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Earlier this year, a pair of scientists predicted the existence of a ninth planet based on computer modeling of the solar system. This fall, the race is on to be the first to spot it in a telescope.

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Young Inventors Work On Secret Proteins To Thwart Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Many of the most powerful antibiotics have lost their punch. Some Stanford students think they've found a different way to attack bacteria that the germs can't overcome.

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How A Wave Is Unlike An Armadillo: One Reporter's Summer Puzzle

Monday, August 08, 2016

"There's something about waves that can get you into kind of a mental funk," one philosopher says. For NPR's summer science series, Joe Palca tries to answer the big question: What is a wave?

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Team Of Researchers Dig Up New Compound In An Unlikely Spot: Our Noses

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Scientists in Germany have found a potentially powerful antibiotic that can kill dangerous bacteria. Maybe the most impressive thing about the new compound is where scientists found it: the human nose.

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NASA's Jupiter Probe Sends First Pics Of Planet From Orbit

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The color image shows Jupiter's giant red spot and three of its moons: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

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'Star Trackers' Help Juno Find Its Way

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Space navigation is tricky. There's no up or down, no left or right, and no road signs. This device uses stars to help determine if a spacecraft is off course. It takes nifty pictures, too.

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Juno Space Probe Is Set To Enter Jupiter's Orbit On Monday

Sunday, July 03, 2016

The craft is designed to glean data from Jupiter that could also help us learn how Earth formed. But first, Juno has to get into orbit — determined by a crucial half-hour of firing by its main engine.

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Cancer Scientist Jams With Willie Nelson One More Time

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Joe Palca was fresh out of college in 1975 when he got a job as a lab tech, working for a young scientist and country music fan who would one day harness the immune system to fight cancer.

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A Scientist's Dream Fulfilled: Harnessing The Immune System To Fight Cancer

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Melanoma can be a deadly skin cancer, but 10 years ago, biologist Jim Allison figured out a way to tweak the body's immune system to go after those malignant cells. Some patients are now cancer-free.

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