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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

Would You Trust a Robot to Schedule Your Life?

Thursday, November 20 2014 07:00 PM

Given access to your Google calendar, a personal assistant named Amy will happily schedule all your appointments. The catch? She's a machine—a digital personal assistant.

Food Failures: The Science of Sides

Thursday, November 20 2014 07:00 PM

Find out how to avoid Turkey Day trip-ups in the latest episode of our “Food Failures” series.

‘Hot’ for Turkey

Thursday, November 20 2014 07:00 PM

Female wild turkeys parse the courtship performances of males to determine their genetic potential.

Ghosts of Early Language May Linger in the Brain

Thursday, November 20 2014 07:00 PM

Chinese adoptees living in Canada, who now speak only French, still process Chinese sounds as native speakers do, even if they have no conscious recall of word meaning.

Into the Wormhole: The Science of 'Interstellar'

Thursday, November 20 2014 07:00 PM

It’s a sci-fi epic set among black holes, wormholes, and tesseracts. But director Christopher Nolan and physicist Kip Thorne say Interstellar doesn’t break the laws of physics.

Meet The Brain Scoop’s Emily Graslie

Thursday, November 20 2014 07:00 PM

YouTube science star Emily Graslie takes viewers behind the scenes of natural history museums with “The Brain Scoop.”

The First Touchdown on a Comet

Thursday, November 13 2014 07:00 PM

The European Space Agency’s Philae lander is the first probe to touch down on a comet.

Lacking Funding, Some Scientists Turn to the Crowd

Thursday, November 13 2014 07:00 PM

Scientists frustrated by a lack of research dollars are turning to crowdfunding.

Horns, Claws, and Teeth: The Animal Weapons Arms Race

Thursday, November 13 2014 07:00 PM

Doug Emlen, author of “Animal Weapons,” unpacks the evolutionary arms race that pushes horns, claws, teeth and other animal defenses to the extreme.

Here Kitty, Kitty: The Genetics of Tame Animals

Thursday, November 13 2014 07:00 PM

Researchers discuss the possible genetic underpinnings that make certain cats and rats tame.

Mining Wikipedia Data to Track Disease

Thursday, November 13 2014 07:00 PM

By analyzing access to specific health-related pages on Wikipedia, researchers may be able to identify—or even forecast—potential disease outbreaks.

‘New Environmentalism’ Moves Beyond Pollution and Climate Change

Thursday, November 13 2014 07:00 PM

Gus Speth, a longtime Washington insider, says it’s time to consider consumerism, economic instability, and a functional democracy as core environmental issues.

U.S. High-Speed Internet Lags Behind on Price, Cost

Thursday, November 06 2014 07:00 PM

For less than $40 a month, residents of Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bucharest, and Paris can enjoy lightning-fast Internet download and upload speeds of 1,000 Mbps.

Apple Science, From American Beauty to Zestar

Thursday, November 06 2014 07:00 PM

Between new crosses and old heritage varieties, there’s a world of apples beyond the Red Delicious.

Piecing Together the Puzzle of Insect Evolution

Thursday, November 06 2014 07:00 PM

One hundred researchers studied 144 insect species to fill in the blanks of insects’ evolutionary history.

Opening Up the Synthetic Biology Toolkit

Thursday, November 06 2014 07:00 PM

Synthetic biologist Christopher Voigt and biotechnologist Stephen Streatfield discuss current trends in synthetic biology.

Spilling Our Guts: Decreased Diversity in the Human Microbiome

Thursday, November 06 2014 07:00 PM

How can hospital stays and the evolution from apes to humans change the diversity of our microbiome?

George Washington Carver: Renaissance Man

Thursday, November 06 2014 07:00 PM

Carver was a painter, singer, and piano teacher, taught farmers the virtues of crop rotation, and developed hundreds of recipes for peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans and pecans.

Ebola Vaccines Fast-Tracked As Outbreak Slows

Thursday, October 30 2014 07:00 PM

Jon Cohen, a staff writer covering the outbreak for Science magazine, says that despite the vaccines’ success in monkeys, their efficacy in humans is far from guaranteed.

Could This 3-D Printer Print Itself?

Thursday, October 30 2014 07:00 PM

This week, HP announced its new 3-D printer, which it claims can print materials strong enough to lift up a car—and do it 10 times faster than anything on the market today.

Scientists Sniff Smelly Comet

Thursday, October 30 2014 07:00 PM

The Rosetta spacecraft has detected the scent of a comet...and it stinks.

Countering Memory Loss With Cocoa Compounds

Thursday, October 30 2014 07:00 PM

Researchers try to counteract age-related memory decline with cocoa flavanols.

Creature Double Feature

Thursday, October 30 2014 07:00 PM

Witness two tales that will make your skin crawl and your mind reel with fear and curiosity.

Doctors ‘Unwrap’ a 3,000-Year-Old Mummy

Thursday, October 30 2014 07:00 PM

Radiologists use CT scans to piece together the life, and death, of Egyptian mummies.

A Haunted House Turned Scientists’ Lab

Thursday, October 30 2014 07:00 PM

Scientists turn Pittsburgh’s ScareHouse into a real-world lab to discover why some brains thrive on fear.

Behind the Monster Music: Why Some Tunes Scare Us

Thursday, October 30 2014 07:00 PM

Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin and Sound Opinions co-host Jim DeRogatis discuss the neuroscience of spooky songs.

Nerve Transplant Allows Paralyzed Man to Move Legs Again

Thursday, October 23 2014 07:00 PM

The pioneering treatment uses cells from the nasal cavity and strips of nerve from the ankle to repair a spinal injury.

Meet ‘The Innovators’ Who Made the Digital Revolution

Thursday, October 23 2014 07:00 PM

Walter Isaacson’s The Innovators shows how the digital revolution was a team effort.

Hand Sanitizer May Increase BPA Absorption

Thursday, October 23 2014 07:00 PM

Hand sanitizer and similar products could increase the amount of BPA absorbed by the skin.

You Observed...Everything

Thursday, October 23 2014 07:00 PM

The Science Club meets to discuss your observations of the world around you, from spider habitats to lunar eclipses.

Making a Meal From a Mouthful of Seawater

Thursday, October 23 2014 07:00 PM

A manta ray can filter 240 gallons of seawater per minute.

Fossil Find Pushes Back Neanderthal-Human Mixing

Thursday, October 23 2014 07:00 PM

Researchers say a leg bone discovered in a Siberian river bank belongs to a man who lived some 45,000 years ago.

Rooting Out the Plant Microbiome

Thursday, October 16 2014 07:00 PM

Scientists are uncovering the importance of the plant microbiome for fighting off pathogens and increasing crop yields.

More Than Cornflakes

Thursday, October 16 2014 07:00 PM

John Harvey Kellogg and his brother, W.K., are known today for their most famous discovery—corn flakes—but invented many other health foods along the way.

Forensic Entomologists Hunt Down Insects to Help Catch Criminals

Thursday, October 16 2014 07:00 PM

To help piece together a crime scene, forensic entomologists examine the insects found in the area.

Environmental Detectives Use Genetic Tools to Track Invasives

Thursday, October 16 2014 07:00 PM

A recently developed technique called "environmental DNA" allows invasive species trackers to get a time-sensitive fingerprint of which species are living where—including underwater.

The 'First' Battle of Gas Versus Electric

Thursday, October 16 2014 07:00 PM

As plug-in electric vehicles struggle to carve out a slice of today's auto market, it's worth remembering the first such battle—at the turn of the 1900s.

Is Your ‘Priceless’ Painting a Fake? Better Ask a Scientist

Thursday, October 16 2014 07:00 PM

Techniques from physics and chemistry can help scientists and art historians sniff out art forgeries.

Taking the Temperature of Rising Seas

Thursday, October 09 2014 07:00 PM

Researchers are trying to better understand ocean water temperatures, which is an important factor in rising sea levels.

Atul Gawande: On Being Mortal

Thursday, October 09 2014 07:00 PM

In his book Being Mortal, surgeon Atul Gawande argues that more medicine may not be better medicine in end-of-life care.

How to Make Quark Soup

Thursday, October 09 2014 07:00 PM

Brookhaven National Laboratory cooks up tiny ephemeral batches of quark-gluon soup that are said to be the most "perfect" fluid ever discovered.

The Race to Contain, Rather Than Cure, Ebola

Thursday, October 09 2014 07:00 PM

With production of experimental treatments slow-going, rapid diagnostic testing could be the best bet for containing the ongoing Ebola outbreak.

How Did the Violin Get Its Shape?

Thursday, October 09 2014 07:00 PM

From its role in biological systems to cultural products, “shape is information that can tell us a story,” says biologist Dan Chitwood.

Your Home, Your Bacteria

Thursday, October 09 2014 07:00 PM

The surfaces in a home reflect the distinct blend of bacteria that inhabit the people that live there.

Is MSG Bad for Your Health?

Thursday, October 09 2014 07:00 PM

Four decades of scientific studies suggest the food additive MSG may not deserve its toxic reputation.

Do Chimps Have Culture?

Thursday, October 02 2014 07:00 PM

Researchers say a real-world case of “monkey see, monkey do” might model the origins of human culture.

Mining the Internet for Clues to Chinese Censorship

Thursday, October 02 2014 07:00 PM

Protests continue in Hong Kong, but only glimpses of the activity make it into mainland China due to censorship.

Dance and Physics Collide in ‘Quantum’

Thursday, October 02 2014 07:00 PM

Choreographer Gilles Jobin took inspiration from the movements of physics for his piece Quantum.

A Whiff of What’s to Come: What Sense of Smell Says About Health

Thursday, October 02 2014 07:00 PM

Older adults’ sense of smell might be a strong indicator of their risk of mortality within a five-year span.

Community Labs Practice Do-It-Yourself Biology

Thursday, October 02 2014 07:00 PM

In DIY biology labs across the country, citizen scientists take the tools of synthetic biology into their own hands.