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:

Ocean Migrations, Deep Divers, Summer Skies

Friday, April 20, 2018

Every night, the largest migration on Earth happens underwater. Their collective movement could create ocean-mixing currents.  Plus, evolutionary adaptations and a summer star guide.

Drone Radar, Fracking Seismology, Massive Earthquakes

Friday, April 20, 2018

Seismologist Lucy Jones catalogues devastating earthquakes, eruptions and tsunamis throughout history. Plus, an air traffic control system for drones at a local airport and more.

Immunotherapy, The Evolution Of Eyebrows, Unconventional Bird Calls

Friday, April 13, 2018

Researchers explore more options for cancer immunotherapy. Plus, a look at unconventional bird calls, and research suggests our brows evolved to be something other than looking fierce. 

Beach Health, Extraterrestrial Communication, Maggots

Friday, April 13, 2018

Does more sand always mean better beaches? Plus, a discussion on the ethics of extraterrestrial communication. And what happens if you give a maggot a cookie?

Predicting Gun Deaths, Bat Flight, New Organ

Friday, March 30, 2018

Can social science predict and prevent their gun deaths in cities? Plus, fancy flying, fast thinking, and sophisticated sonar: Why bats seem to have it all.

13,000-Year-Old Footprints, Climate Court, Native Bees, Cell Phones And Cancer

Friday, March 30, 2018

There are thousands of types of bees in North America, including species that secrete silk and others that build tiny towers. Plus, is there a cell phone link to cancer? Maybe. 

Dung Microbes, Gun Research, Airplane Germs, Kepler Mission

Friday, March 23, 2018

As federal resources for gun research lag, states are trying to do it themselves. Plus, how the behavior of airplane passengers affects the chances of in-flight disease transmission.

Climate Risks, Power Grid Security, Necrobiome

Friday, March 23, 2018

How bacteria, insects, other organisms that take over after death can tell scientists about how someone lived and died. Plus, how could the U.S. make the power grid harder to hack into?

‘Broad Band’ Computing History, Science Talent Search

Friday, March 09, 2018

A new book tells the stories of the women who have been building the internet since day one. Plus, we speak with some winners of the Regeneron Science Talent Search.

BRCA Gene Test, Bacteriophages, Synesthesia

Friday, March 09, 2018

Scientists are developing natural and synthetic viruses that kill bacteria to create new antibiotic treatments. Plus, new insights into synesthesia, an unusual crossover of the senses.

P-Hacking, Quackery, Growing Greater Grains

Friday, March 02, 2018

Researchers have uncovered a mechanism that causes one mutant strain of sorghum to bear more seeds. Plus, we survey a medicine chest’s worth of quacks through the ages, and more.

Chip Fraud, Space Station Future, Neutron Star

Friday, March 02, 2018

What will happen to the ISS as companies reach for a piece of space real estate? Plus, massive magnetic field sheds new light on neutron stars that appear impossibly bright.

Wild Horses, Hidden Structures Behind Structures, Florida Flamingos

Friday, February 23, 2018

It takes a lot of crafty physics to keep a skyscraper standing. A structural engineer tells the secrets of her trade. Plus, do flamingos really belong in Florida?

Biohybrid Robots, Neanderthal Art

Friday, February 23, 2018

Roboticists are turning to fleshy substances like mouse, insect, and sea slug muscles to build a fleet of bio-inspired robots. Plus, were Neanderthals artists?

The Physics Of Figure Skating, Aerosols, Volatile Organic Compounds

Friday, February 16, 2018

How do ice skaters master the perfect spin? We take a look at the physics. Plus, aerosols do play a role in climate change, but not the one you might think.

Distorting Reality With AI, Cryptocurrency Mining, Science Standards In Schools

Friday, February 16, 2018

Improvements in AI can make it hard to tell real media from fake. Plus, the latest hacking could be used to steal your computer's CPU power without you knowing it. 

Venomous Or Poisonous, Crayfish Clones, Immune System Cancer Injection

Friday, February 09, 2018

Poisonous and venomous creatures are often misclassified, but there’s a big difference between the two. Plus, we investigate the genetic mystery of the invasive crayfish clones.

Frankenstein Goodbye, Chocolate And Bugs, Ozone Problems

Friday, February 09, 2018

The SciFri Book Club says farewell to ‘Frankenstein.’ And we explore the menagerie of insects behind your chocolate bar.

Egyptian Dinosaurs, Leaking Data, Huntington’s Research, Mole Rats

Friday, February 02, 2018

The fossil remains of a titanosaur found in Egypt provides clues to the evolution of dinosaurs in Africa. Plus: Naked mole rats, data privacy, and Huntington's disease.

Agricultural Bees, China’s Energy Future, Frankenstein In Class

Friday, February 02, 2018

China’s leaders are pursuing carbon-free alternatives to coal to solve the country’s growing energy needs and suffocating pollution. Plus: Bees, Frankenstein, and more.