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:

Microbes and Art, Science Books 2018

Friday, December 07, 2018

Ira and a panel of guests round up their favorite science books from 2018. Plus a look at how fungus, bacteria, and lichens can live on—and damage—pieces of art.

Hemp and CBD, Phytosaurs, Mosquito Control

Friday, December 07, 2018

With Congress poised to legalize growing hemp, how does a ‘new’ plant become a thriving agricultural product? Plus, Science Friday heads to Utah searching for phytosaur fossils.

Gene-Editing Humans, Asymmetry, Ancient Whale Ancestor.

Friday, November 30, 2018

The first CRISPR-edited babies may be here. Now what? Plus, an attempt to explain asymmetry in human bodies. And did a toothless, suction-feeding phase come before whales evolved baleen?

Climate Report, Wind Energy, SciFri Educator Collaborative.

Friday, November 30, 2018

A new report says warming will hit all sectors of the U.S. economy. Plus, now's your chance to team up with SciFri to develop resources for science learners everywhere.

2018 Ig Nobel Prizes

Friday, November 23, 2018

As a SciFri holiday tradition, we present highlights from this year’s Ig Nobel Awards ceremony.

Caves And Climate, Environmental Archeology, Scanning The Past

Friday, November 23, 2018

How to use lasers to preserve artifacts to create a 3D collection. Plus, spelunking for data about Earth’s past climate, and hunting for animal bones to piece together human stories.

California Fires, Fire Engineering, Flu Near You

Friday, November 16, 2018

Implementing urban fire codes in rural areas might help save lives. Plus, we’re teaming up with Flu Near You to track the rise and fall of the flu this winter and need your help!

Smell Science, Reader Come Home, Sonar Smackdown

Friday, November 16, 2018

The digital world is changing how we read. What does that mean for the next generation of readers? Plus, who deserves the crown for the best echolocation in the animal kingdom?

Physics Mysteries, Appendix and Parkinson’s, Paralysis Treatment

Friday, November 02, 2018

In his new book, David Hu explores the physics wonders of the animal world. Plus, new studies show rapid progress of paralyzed patients using spinal cord stimulation.

Local Science Issues, Dolphin Calls, Kepler Death

Friday, November 02, 2018

A tour of the states' top science issues, from energy policy, to meat labeling, and more. Plus, dolphin calls in the Atlantic ocean are simplifying due to noisier oceans.

Science Goes To The Movies: First Man, Driverless Car Ethics, Beetle Battles

Friday, October 26, 2018

We assemble space experts to discuss the movie ‘First Man.’ Plus, how can autonomous car makers develop ethical vehicles when ethics are different across cultures?

Blood, Spatial Memory, Gerrymandering

Friday, October 26, 2018

We talk about blood banks and other ways that humans have tried to harness the power of blood. Plus, math plays a key role in a court case that could decide the fate of gerrymandering.

Music And Technology, Social Critters, Sleep And Genetics

Friday, October 19, 2018

Money Mark's  'Echolodeon' machine converts original piano rolls from great composers into MIDI signals, in effect letting the dead pianists 'play' various synthesizers.

C-Section Increase, Puerto Rican Hurricane Recovery, A Turtle Tiff.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Worldwide rates of Caesarean section have nearly doubled. We'll talk about why—and what it means for healthy mothers.  

Squirrel Monkeys, Salmon Migration, The Realness

Friday, October 12, 2018

What can squirrel monkeys teach us about the evolution of human language?

Election Security, Channel Islands, IPCC Report

Friday, October 12, 2018

How ready is our voting infrastructure for the upcoming midterm elections?

Dung Beetles, Exomoon, Poison Squad

Friday, October 05, 2018

In the early 20th century, milk could be spiked with formaldehyde—until a government chemist called for new food safety standards. Plus, signs of a moon 4000 light years away.

Nobels, Argument Logic

Friday, October 05, 2018

We all think we’re logical—so why do we have so many disagreements? Finding the straw man, gray areas, and false equivalencies. Plus, a conversation with Nobel laureate Frances Arnold.

Water Wars, Air Pollution And Fetuses, Electric Blue Clouds. Sept. 28, 2018, Part 2

Friday, September 28, 2018

Yemen is gripped by civil war—and some experts say it could be the first of many "water wars" to come. And NASA researchers capture a rare kind of electric blue cloud.

Utah National Monuments, North Carolina Coal Ash, Asteroids. Sept. 28, 2018, Part 1

Friday, September 28, 2018

Months after Utah national monuments were slashed, paleontologists are among those still in limbo. Plus, two Japanese rovers land on an asteroid.