Ira Flatow

Host and executive producer of Science Friday

Ira Flatow is the host and executive producer of Science Friday. His green thumb has revived many an office plant at death’s door.

Award winning science correspondent and TV journalist Ira Flatow is the host of Science Friday, heard weekly on PRI, Public Radio International, and online. He anchors the show each Friday, bringing radio and Internet listeners worldwide a lively, informative discussion on science, technology, health, space, and the environment. Ira is also founder and president of the Science Friday Initiative, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit company dedicated to creating radio, TV, and Internet projects that make science “user-friendly.”

Flatow’s interest in things scientific began in boyhood—he almost burned down his mother’s bathroom trying to recreate a biology class experiment. “I was the proverbial kid who spent hours in the basement experimenting with electronic gizmos, and then entering them in high school science fairs,” Flatow says. Mixing his passion for science with a tendency toward being a bit of a ham, Flatow describes his work as the challenge “to make science and technology a topic for discussion around the dinner table.”

He has shared that enthusiasm with public radio listeners for more than 35 years. As a reporter and then news director at WBFO-FM/Buffalo, New York, Flatow began reporting at the station while studying for his engineering degree at State University of New York in Buffalo. As NPR’s science correspondent from 1971 to 1986, Flatow found himself reporting from the Kennedy Space Center, Three Mile Island, Antarctica, and the South Pole. In one memorable NPR report, Flatow took former All Things Considered host Susan Stamberg into a closet to crunch Wint-O-Green Lifesavers, proving they spark in the dark.

His most recent book is entitled Present At The Future: From Evolution to Nanotechnology, Candid and Controversial Conversations On Science and Nature (HarperCollins).

On television, Flatow has discussed the latest cutting edge science stories on a variety of programs. He also hosted the four-part PBS series Big Ideas, produced by WNET in New York. His numerous TV credits include six years as host and writer for the Emmy award-winning Newton’s Apple on PBS, science reporter for CBS This Morning, and cable’s CNBC. He wrote, produced, and hosted Transistorized!, an hour-long documentary about the history of the transistor, which aired on PBS. He has talked science on many TV talk shows including Merv GriffinTodayCharlie Rose, and Oprah. He has co-starred twice on the CBS hit series The Big Bang Theory.

On the Internet, Flatow has hosted numerous science-related web casts for Discovery Online, The Great Planet Debate, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

In print, Ira has authored articles for various magazines ranging from Woman’s Day to ESPN Magazine to American Lawyer. His commentary has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, and Current newspapers. Public speaking and moderating discussions are a regular part of his schedule. He has spoken at Rockefeller University, the World Economic Forum, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard, Calvin Academy, Cal Tech, MIT, Harvard, University of Wisconsin, OSHU, National Inventor’s Hall of Fame, and the Kentucky Author Forum. In 2004, Ira was resident scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. His recent honors include: the Isaac Asimov Award (2012,) the Nierenberg Prize (2010), Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, membership (2008), National Science Teachers Association Faraday Science Communicator Award (2007), the National Science Board Public Service Award (2005), World Economic Forum Media Fellowship (2005), AAAS Journalism award (2000), Brady Washburn Award (2000), and the Carl Sagan Award (1999). Ira is member of the National Association of Science Writers, AFTRA, and Screen Actors Guild. His hobbies include tennis, golf, gardening (especially orchids), and electronic gadgets. He loves the theater. A native of New York, Flatow now lives in Connecticut.


Ira Flatow appears in the following:

Endangered Crow, Hawaiian Biodiversity, Mars Simulation

Friday, September 21, 2018

We talk efforts to preserve some species in Hawaii found nowhere else on Earth. Plus, researchers sequester six volunteers on the side of a Hawaiian volcano to simulate a Mars mission.

Utah Dino Bones, Salt Lake Migrations, Tree Canopies. Sept. 21, 2018, Part 1

Friday, September 21, 2018

We find out what it’s like to step into a paleontologist’s boots and discover some dino gold. Plus, innovative methods of exploring tree canopies.

Soil Future, Plant Feelings, Science Fair

Friday, September 14, 2018

A new film about the International Science and Engineering Fair gives a look into the world of science fairs. Plus, scientists can now see how one leaf talks to another—in real time.

Florence Flooding, Algorithms, Dino Demise

Friday, September 14, 2018

Algorithms influence more than what’s on your social media feed, like who gets parole. Plus, the prevailing is that a meteorite wiped out the dinos. But one scientist isn't buying it.

Grazing, Work-Life Imbalance

Friday, September 07, 2018

New technologies mean we’re more connected to our jobs than ever. Do we need boundaries? Plus, the downside of working for tips. And new research into how ungulates learn to graze.

Tick Repellents, Robot Relationships

Friday, September 07, 2018

How strong is the human-robot bond? How do you relate to a mechanical device? We’ll talk robot relationships. Plus, New Hampshire calls for speedier approvals for tick repellents.

Yellow Fever and Ebola, Trans-boundary Aquifers, Probiotics

Friday, August 24, 2018

The waters of the Rio Grande are closely regulated. But what about the water deep below the Mexico-Texas border? Plus, research into real-time tracking of viral infections.

Hurricane Lane, Disposable Contacts, Brief History of Time

Friday, August 24, 2018

The SciFri Book Club closes the book on the Stephen Hawking classic, A Brief History of Time. Plus, why you should not flush those disposable contact lenses down the drain.

Ant Traffic Flow, Natural Reactors, David Quammen

Friday, August 17, 2018

The discovery that a microbe was not a bacterium added a new branch to the tree of life. Plus, Earth has been safely storing its own natural nuclear waste for two billion years. How?

Coastal Flooding, Elephants and Cancer, Yosemite Bears

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Army is investigating sea barriers to protect New York from a future Sandy. But others have doubts. Plus, researchers have identified a gene in elephants that can kill cancer cells.

The Story Of Sand, Science And Dance

Friday, August 10, 2018

Each year, we use nearly 50 billion tons of sand and gravel worldwide. Is that sustainable? Plus, can dance help bring new understanding and metaphors for researchers and the public?

Parch Marks, Wildfires, The Beatles

Friday, August 10, 2018

A population boom in forests and other wild areas is leading to more destructive blazes. How do we cope with worsening wildfires? Plus, some good news from Britain's hot summer.

"Lost in Math," Alan Alda, A Radical Brain Surgery, New Jersey Floods

Friday, August 03, 2018

In physics, is mathematical beauty overrated? Plus, Alan Alda talks about his life with Parkinson's. 

Bacteria Extinction, Facial Recognition, Solar Probe.

Friday, August 03, 2018

New research suggests that even bacteria go extinct. Plus, some police departments are using facial recognition software to help identify suspects, but accuracy remains an issue.

Heredity, Oldest Bread, Jupiter's Moons

Friday, July 20, 2018

What does heredity actually mean? Carl Zimmer finds out in his new book. Plus, scientists determined that bread-making may pre-date the agricultural revolution.

Yeast Superbug, Dino Dinner, Toxic Algae. July 20, 2018, Part 1

Friday, July 20, 2018

There’s a new infectious yeast in town and we’re almost out of drugs for it. Plus, scientists simulated a prehistoric atmosphere to deduce how much dinos actually ate.

Nerve Agents, Straws, Soccer Flops, Happiness

Friday, July 13, 2018

Soccer dives aren’t as random as you think. It’s all about the dynamics of risk and reward. Plus, the chemistry of nerve agents explained. And a look at the psychology of happiness.

Neutrinos, Book Club, Air Conditioning. July 13, 2018, Part 1

Friday, July 13, 2018

We’re remembering the late Stephen Hawking and diving into his landmark work on the nature of the universe. Plus, a distant astronomical object is creating high-energy neutrinos.

Bee News, Summer Science Reading

Friday, June 29, 2018

Bumblebee colonies in urban areas may be more successful than those in the country. Also, how do honeybees choose a new queen?  Plus, some book picks for your summer science reading.

Beef Genetic Testing, Chasing Whales, Radiolab Gonads

Friday, June 29, 2018

Paleontologist Nick Pyenson pieces together the evolutionary story of how whales came to be the animals we know today. Plus, a new series from Radiolab investigates our “magical organs.”