Joe Palca

Joe Palca appears in the following:

'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."


California Observatory Discovers Two Large Planets Orbiting Nearby Star

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Two new large planets have been found orbiting a nearby star. But what makes the discovery interesting is they were found using a telescope at an observatory that was slated to be shuttered.


Welcome To The Neighborhood: 2 Super-Earths Discovered

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Astronomers using telescopes in Hawaii and California have found two exoplanets orbiting a star a mere 54 light-years away. The discovery is important for two big reasons.


Hubble's Other Telescope And The Day It Rocked Our World

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Amid this week's hoopla celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope, don't forget the clever astronomer for whom the space scope was named. In the 1920s, he changed our sense of ourselves and the universe.


3D Printers Are Changing The Way People Think About Manufacturing

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

At the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, the future of manufacturing is taking shape. At the lab, 3D printers offer some unique design opportunities as well as interesting challenges.


Doctors Test Tumor Paint In People

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

A modified venom from scorpions that carries a dye into the brain and makes tumors glow has cleared its latest hurdle. But will this attempt to improve brain surgery work in humans as well as animals?


Want To Do A Little Astrophysics? This App Detects Cosmic Rays

Monday, March 30, 2015

Two physicists keen to detect a a very rare, high energy particle think you and I can help. The researchers are working on an app that would allow any smartphone to detect rare particles from space.


Safer Anthrax Test Aims To Keep The Bioweapon From Terrorists

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Current tests require growing anthrax in the lab, which isn't the best option for labs in Afghanistan. So engineers have come up with a credit-card-size test that could make the world a safer place.


Fossil Collection Calls Berkeley's Clock Tower Home

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Why are 20 tons of fossils being stored in the bell tower at the University of California at Berkeley? A look into the world's only paleontological collection that has its own carillon.


Speeding Up Yeast's Evolution And What It Says About Cancer

Monday, March 09, 2015

Scientists in California report they are using the rapidly reproducing organism to track evolutionary changes. The twist is that the new work on evolution has implications for human cancers.


Climate Scientist Tries Arts To Stir Hearts Regarding Earth's Fate

Monday, February 16, 2015

Physicist Robert Davies worked with a classical quartet and two visual artists to create a musical performance about climate change. The music and images, he says, help the information take hold.


On The Ant Highway, There's Never A Backup

Monday, January 26, 2015

A team of Indian physicists has made a mathematical model that purports to explain why ants don't have traffic jams. NPR's Joe Palca explains as part of his series, Joe's Big Idea.


Why Ants Handle Traffic Better Than You Do

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ants don't show road rage. In fact, some research shows they rarely get into traffic jams, able to maintain a steady speed even as their numbers swell. Can physics explain it?


Ancient Scottish Sea Reptile Not 'Nessie,' But Just As Cute

Sunday, January 11, 2015

It was 15 feet long, with a snout shaped like a dolphin's. This newly identified meat-eater swam the seas near the Isle of Skye in the time of dinosaurs.


Scientists Bring The Sun Down To Earth To Learn How It Works

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Using a giant pulsed powered machine in New Mexico, researchers have recreated the conditions inside the Sun, and their results help reconcile theoretical models with how the Sun behaves.


Do Fish Have Fingers?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Of course they don't, but they do have the genetic machinery to make fingers — something that shows how similar fish are to modern mammals.


Could Glitter Help Solve NASA's Giant Telescope Problem?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

NASA's next big space telescope costs $8 billion and is very heavy. New York scientists think they may have found the makings of a cheaper, lighter answer for future space scopes — in a crafts store.


Methane Bursts On Mars Could Hint At Previous Life

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Scientists have seen mysterious bursts of methane in the Martian atmosphere, and they can't rule out the possibility that the methane was made by something that was once alive on Mars.


Russia Could Be On Brink Of Full-Blown Currency Crisis

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Russian ruble continued to drop in value against the U.S. dollar and the Euro on Tuesday — but the impact of its calamitous decline has yet to be seen on the streets of Moscow.


Why Some Scientific Collaborations Are More Beneficial Than Others

Monday, December 15, 2014

It turns out that when scientists collaborate internationally, they are more like to have an impact on science than purely domestic collaborations.