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:

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.”

Math And Social Justice, Chicago Coyotes, Meteorites

Friday, June 22, 2018

How can abstract math analyze social justice? Plus, how coyotes thrive in Chicago and more from our live show in the Windy City.

Alcohol Study, Cephalopod Week, Coral Oasis

Friday, June 22, 2018

The NIH just shut down a major study of the health effects of ‘moderate’ alcohol consumption. Now what? Plus, we review the week in cephalopods. 

CRISPR, Colors, Narwhals

Friday, June 15, 2018

New research indicates that for some cell types, CRISPR could lead to cancer. Plus: Meet the chemists and biologists who are seeking new ways to create the colors we take for granted. 

Dinosaurs, Celebrating Cephalopods

Friday, June 15, 2018

Science Friday's Cephalopod Week is back! Plus: The history of the dinosaurs is being rewritten by young scientists digging up new discoveries.

Mars Organics, Museum Collections, Kelp Farming

Friday, June 08, 2018

A look at the natural history treasures hiding in museum collections. And what do organic molecules on Mars tell us about how the planet works and the possibility of life on the planet?

Ocean Conservation, Dark Matter Hunt

Friday, June 08, 2018

Most of the universe is invisible dark matter, if our theories are correct. So why is it so hard to find? Plus, do 10% of our oceans need to be protected?

Sea Floor Mapping, Hurricane Season Forecast

Friday, June 01, 2018

Deep sea researchers unveil an entire other world on our own planet. Plus, forecasters use statistics to estimate the number of major storms and hurricanes in the months ahead.

Scientist Politicians, Microbiome, Wildlife Car Accidents

Friday, June 01, 2018

There are more scientists running in this year’s midterm elections. What can they bring to Congress? Plus, how is the microbiome keeping peace? Ask the immune system.

AI Conversation, Robot Trust, AI Music

Friday, May 25, 2018

Virtual assistants are trying to become more trustworthy. Plus, how will roboticists build mutual understanding? Also, scientists and artists are creating AI orchestras.

Sleep Questions, Portable Museums, Digital Health Records

Friday, May 25, 2018

A sleep specialist talks about the science of getting a good night’s sleep. Plus, shrinking the museum to an accessible, bite-sized learning experience.

Michael Pollan And Intel Student Science Fair

Friday, May 18, 2018

In his new book, Michael Pollan writes about a new revolution in the scientific study of psychedelic drugs. Plus, student scientists tackle real world questions at the Intel ISEF.

'Westworld,' Heart Cells On Graphene, Bike Safety App

Friday, May 18, 2018

We may be far from human-like AI, but the series ‘Westworld’ gives us a glimpse of what it might look like. And, scientists found a new way to grow heart cells with the help of graphene.

Does Time Exist, Elephant Seismology, Produce Safety

Friday, May 11, 2018

For the theory of gravity to work, Carlo Rovelli says our ideas about time have to change. Plus, elephants’ actions can trigger seismological devices, prompting new ways to study them. 

Hawaii Eruption, Antibiotic Resistance, Florida Sea Rise

Friday, May 11, 2018

We look at the science behind Hawaii’s recent earthquake and volcanic eruption. Plus, certain soil bacteria can help fight antibiotic resistance—by eating them. 

DNA Privacy, Dog Cognition

Friday, May 04, 2018

Genetic testing sites are nothing new, but the ethical quandaries they present are. Plus, what are our canine best friends really thinking about?

Chasing Pluto, Space Warps

Friday, May 04, 2018

Before New Horizons set sight on Pluto, the mission team endured a decade-long journey to get the probe off the ground. Plus, we reveal the results of the Space Warps challenge.