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Science Friday : About

Airs Friday at 2pm on 93.9 FM and AM 820

Science Friday is a weekly science talk show from NPR. Each week, Science Friday's host Ira Flatow, a veteran science journalist, looks at science topics that are in the news brings an educated, balanced discussion to bear on the scientific issues at hand. Panels of expert guests join Flatow, a veteran science journalist, to discuss science -- to take questions from listeners during the call-in portion of the program.

 

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Show Archive

Latest Stories from Science Friday

Keeping an Eye on Eruptions Around the World

Thursday, September 11 2014 06:00 PM

At least 20 volcanoes are probably erupting as you read these words.

A Jovian Moon With Earth-Like Tectonics

Thursday, September 11 2014 06:00 PM

The icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa may undergo processes similar to plate tectonics on Earth.

Understanding the Urban Ecosystem

Thursday, September 11 2014 06:00 PM

Researchers say road salt and dissolving concrete have contributed to increased salinization in urban streams.

Can Conservation Efforts Save the Birds?

Thursday, September 11 2014 06:00 PM

A look at the effects of conservation efforts and climate change on bird populations in North America.

After 40 Years, a Blue Whale Population Bounces Back

Thursday, September 11 2014 06:00 PM

Blue whale populations are only a fraction of what they once were globally, but a California population has nearly made a comeback.

The Science of ‘Sameness’: Developing Generic Medications

Thursday, September 11 2014 06:00 PM

As of 2010, generic drugs comprise almost 80 percent of the American pharmaceutical market, compared to 10 percent in 1960.

Supermassive Dinosaur Would Have ‘Feared Nothing’

Thursday, September 04 2014 06:00 PM

Scientists estimate the dinosaur Dreadnoughtus schrani would have weighed as much as a Boeing 737.

To Master Test Material, Give Your Brain a Break

Thursday, September 04 2014 06:00 PM

Salvador Dalí and Thomas Edison took very brief naps when they were stuck on artistic and scientific problems.

The Wilderness Act Turns 50

Thursday, September 04 2014 06:00 PM

Fifty years ago this week, legislation set aside over nine million acres of official wilderness.

From Exotic Garden to Eco-Haven

Thursday, September 04 2014 06:00 PM

A former millionaire's estate is becoming an environmental haven and training ground.

Hello, Stranger, Wanna Share a Cab?

Thursday, September 04 2014 06:00 PM

Researchers found that potentially 95 percent of cab rides in New York City could have been shared.

Randall Munroe Asks, ‘What If?’

Thursday, September 04 2014 06:00 PM

In his new book What If?, xkcd comic artist Randall Munroe answers his reader’s hypothetical questions with math and science.

Experimental Therapy Saves Monkeys From Deadly Dose of Ebola

Friday, August 29 2014 06:00 PM

ZMapp, the cocktail of antibodies used to treat two American aid workers infected with the Ebola virus, spared 18 severely ill monkeys from death.

Unraveling the Mysteries of Black Holes

Thursday, August 28 2014 06:00 PM

High energy x-rays provide a rare glimpse into the behavior of black holes.

Electric Bacteria Form Nanowires, Shoot Out Electrons

Thursday, August 28 2014 06:00 PM

USC's Moh El-Naggar says engineers hope to harness bacterial energy using fuel cells.

Less Flashy Fossils Offer Paleoclimate Clues

Thursday, August 28 2014 06:00 PM

Uncharismatic microfauna, such as insects and mollusks, are giving scientists at La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles a glimpse of the city's cool, humid past.

From the Lab to the Silver Screen: The Birth of CGI

Thursday, August 28 2014 06:00 PM

Animator Tom Sito explains how scientists and engineers kickstarted Hollywood’s digital animation revolution.

Science in the Writers’ Room

Thursday, August 28 2014 06:00 PM

Hollywood T.V. and film writers explain how they balance scientific accuracy and storytelling.

Making Hollywood’s Digital Doubles

Thursday, August 28 2014 06:00 PM

Now that Hollywood’s visual effects wizards can create convincing “digital actors,” will we still need the real thing?

Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Send Messages to Your Brain?

Thursday, August 21 2014 06:00 PM

Researchers discuss how the microbiome might play a role in anxiety, depression, and autism.

Microbes Thrive in Antarctic Lake Buried Beneath Ice

Thursday, August 21 2014 06:00 PM

Microbes have made a home in a lake trapped beneath an 800-meter-thick ice sheet in Antarctica.

The SciFri Book Club Talks ‘Dune’

Thursday, August 21 2014 06:00 PM

The SciFri Book Club concludes its discussion of Frank Herbert’s ecological epic, Dune.

Oceans Act As the World's Thermostat

Thursday, August 21 2014 06:00 PM

Global temperatures hit a plateau at the turn of the 21st century. Now researchers say they've discovered where that missing heat was hiding: in the oceans.

Making ‘Masstransiscope’

Thursday, August 21 2014 06:00 PM

A filmmaker uses science to transform the New York City subway into a movie theater.

Neanderthals and Modern Humans Mingled for Millennia

Thursday, August 21 2014 06:00 PM

New, more accurate radiocarbon dating suggests the two cultures co-existed in Europe for nearly 5,000 years.

‘Evolutionary Misfit’ Finds Its Way Into the Family Tree

Thursday, August 21 2014 06:00 PM

Scientists piece together how a 14-legged Cambrian worm is related to modern animals.

Tar Noir

Thursday, August 21 2014 06:00 PM

Using paleoforensics, researchers recount the grim details of life and death at the the La Brea Tar Pits.

Close-Up With a Comet

Thursday, August 14 2014 06:00 PM

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft is the first probe to orbit a comet.

Is Healthy Soil the Low-Tech Solution to Climate Change?

Thursday, August 14 2014 06:00 PM

In her book The Soil Will Save Us, writer Kristin Ohlson concludes that the low-cost, low-tech solution to climate change may be directly underfoot—in healthy soil.

Decoding Secret Communication Between Plants

Thursday, August 14 2014 06:00 PM

A new study in Science says that certain parasitic plants spy on their hosts through RNA exchanges.

App Chat: Being Social Without Leaving a Trace

Thursday, August 14 2014 06:00 PM

A growing number of apps allow users to post ephemeral or anonymous messages—and they're catching on quickly with millennials.

Food Failures: Concocting Condiments

Thursday, August 14 2014 06:00 PM

Culinary scientist Ali Bouzari dips into the chemistry behind condiments, from hot sauce to mustard.

Sylvia Earle’s ‘Mission Blue’

Thursday, August 14 2014 06:00 PM

Oceanographer Sylvia Earle bears witness to troubling changes in our oceans in the documentary Mission Blue.

Bridging the Rift: Oculus' Answer to Virtual Reality

Thursday, August 14 2014 06:00 PM

Technological and design innovations inside the Oculus Rift make virtual reality poised for a mass-market debut.

Listening In on Elephant ‘Mating Pandemonium’

Thursday, August 07 2014 06:00 PM

In a “mating pandemonium” event, a group of elephants roar after a pair of elephants mate.

Behind the Scenes at the City Morgue

Thursday, August 07 2014 06:00 PM

Forensic pathologist Judy Melinek’s memoir Working Stiff goes behind the scenes at the New York City morgue.

Giving Viruses a License to Kill...Cancer

Thursday, August 07 2014 06:00 PM

Scientists transform common viruses like measles and herpes into potential cancer treatments.

Can an Experimental Therapy Be Used to Treat Ebola?

Thursday, August 07 2014 06:00 PM

A look at the experimental therapy used to treat two Americans who were infected with Ebola.

"Lucy" Debunked

Thursday, August 07 2014 06:00 PM

A neurobiologist reveals sci-fi thriller Lucy’s neuroscience bloopers.

Close Your Eyes and Listen to the Night Sky

Thursday, August 07 2014 06:00 PM

If the bright “supermoon” drowns out the Perseid meteor shower this year, why not listen for meteors instead?

Can Science Build a Better Piano?

Thursday, August 07 2014 06:00 PM

Scientists have created a 3D acoustical scan of the piano's resonance—and say it could help refine the art of piano-making.

Algorithm Turns Everyday Objects Into Microphones

Thursday, August 07 2014 06:00 PM

Sound waves trigger tiny vibrations in objects. By studying the vibrations, researchers can recreate the sounds that caused them.

Ebola Outbreak Continues in West Africa

Thursday, July 31 2014 06:00 PM

Ebola specialist Daniel Bausch provides an on-the-ground view of treating the disease in West Africa.

How Ultramarathons Affect the Heart, Blood, and Brain

Thursday, July 31 2014 06:00 PM

Exercise scientists Tamara Hew-Butler and Greg Whyte talk about how the body changes after dozens of hours in motion.

Can Animals Go Mad?

Thursday, July 31 2014 06:00 PM

From depressed dogs to anxious gorillas, author Laurel Braitman explores mental illness in animals.

Tapping Into Musical Memory

Thursday, July 31 2014 06:00 PM

A new documentary, Alive Inside, exposes the connections between music and memory.

Can’t Stop Worrying? Blame It on Your Habenula

Thursday, July 31 2014 06:00 PM

The habenula is a pea-sized part of the brain that tracks our expectations of negative events.

Will Big Data Answer Big Questions on Health?

Thursday, July 31 2014 06:00 PM

Google's latest big idea is called "Baseline Study"—an effort to catalog the DNA of thousands of healthy people, along with their blood, urine, saliva, breath, and tears.

Mosquito-Borne Viruses Raise Public Health Concern

Thursday, July 24 2014 06:00 PM

This summer, two different and currently untreatable mosquito-borne viruses were identified on the East Coast.

A Newly Discovered Virus That Lives in Our Gut

Thursday, July 24 2014 06:00 PM

Researchers discovered a virus that lives in the gut of half of the world’s population.