Joe Palca

Joe Palca appears in the following:

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.


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.


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.


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.


To Search For A New Supernova, Build A New Camera

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Most telescope cameras can only capture a small patch of sky at a time. But a new camera has a much larger field of view, and its backers are hoping for help in deciphering its reams of data.


Africa Inspires A Health Care Experiment In New York

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dr. Prabhjot Singh lives and works in Harlem, a neighborhood plagued by chronic disease. He thinks an African model of health care can help — training people in the community to be health educators.


A Non-GMO Way To Get More, Tastier Tomatoes

Monday, November 03, 2014

Farmers want tomato varieties that yield more fruit. Consumers want tastier ones. How to resolve that tension? A new genetic toolkit could help growers maximize the best of both worlds.


Look Here: Phone App Checks Photos For Eye Disease

Friday, October 31, 2014

Bryan Shaw showed it was possible to detect early signs of eye cancer from a family photo album. Now, he and his research team have made an iPhone app.


In Hopes Of Fixing Faulty Genes, One Scientist Starts With The Basics

Monday, October 13, 2014

Jennifer Doudna used to worry that her science wasn't doing anything important. Then some basic research led her team to a discovery that could one day be crucial in healing some genetic diseases.


Slippery When Coated: Helping Medical Devices Prevent Blood Clots

Sunday, October 12, 2014

When blood flows over an artificial surface, whether it's an implanted pacemaker or tubing for a dialysis machine, there's an increased risk that a dangerous clot will form.