Joe Palca

Joe Palca appears in the following:

Super Sensitive Sensor Sees What You Can't

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Engineers at Dartmouth College have developed a computer chip that can detect a single particle of light. Cameras with the chip would have visual abilities even a superhero would envy.


How To Pack A Space Telescope

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Operating a telescope in space is a challenge, but so is moving one on Earth. An inside look at how NASA's James Webb Space Telescope moved from Houston to Los Angeles.


Can Computers Learn Like Humans?

Monday, February 05, 2018

Computers use artificial intelligence to do everything from drive cars to pick music we like. But what exactly is artificial intelligence? How does it work? What are its limits?


How Pirates Of The Caribbean Hijacked America's Metric System

Thursday, December 28, 2017

In 1793, French scientist Joseph Dombey boarded a ship bound for the United States carrying with him a standard kilogram weight. Thanks to pirates, he and the weight never arrived.


WATCH: What Happens When 2 Neutron Stars Collide

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Turns out that Einstein was right about what happens when neutron stars collide. An international team of astronomers has confirmed his theory for the first time.


The Largest Digital Camera In The World Takes Shape

Friday, November 17, 2017

A two-story tall, digital camera is taking shape in California. It will ultimately go on a telescope in Chile where it will survey the sky, looking for things that appear suddenly or change over time.


A Quest: Insulin-Releasing Implant For Type-1 Diabetes

Monday, November 06, 2017

People who have Type-1 diabetes would love to be free of insulin injections and pumps. Researchers in San Francisco are now testing in animals an implantable pouch of living, insulin-releasing cells.


Nobel Prize Came Quickly For 3 Physicists Who Discovered Gravitational Waves

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Three scientists won this year's Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of gravitational waves. These ripples in space and time are generated when really big things, like black holes, collide.


3 Americans Win 2017 Nobel Prize In Physics

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

The prize in physics is being split between three physicists who are part of the LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration that detected gravitational waves for the first time.


Breakthrough Pain Treatment Or Snake Oil? You Decide.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A painkiller cream is based on sound scientific reasoning, but hasn't undergone tests to prove it works. You can buy it on the Internet, but should you?


Gravitational Wave Detector In Italy Saw Wave Pass Through Earth In August

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The wave was generated by the merging of two spinning black holes, and took nearly 2 billion years to reach Earth. It is the fourth gravitational wave detection announced so far.


Astronomers Search For Giant Planet On Outer Edges Of Solar System

Monday, September 25, 2017

Astronomers are continuing their search for a giant planet they believe is lurking at the outer reaches of the solar system.


Cassini Plunges To Saturn

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Cassini mission to Saturn ends on Friday. Scientists will steer the spacecraft into Saturn's atmosphere and watch it burn up.


Cassini Spacecraft Prepares For A Fiery Farewell In Saturn's Atmosphere

Monday, September 11, 2017

NASA's probe has spent the past 13 years orbiting Saturn, making a number of important discoveries along the way. On Friday, it will hurl itself into the planet's atmosphere and disintegrate.


The Army, The Inventor And The Surprising Uses Of A Batman Machine

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The Army wanted a new, small device that could pull a person rapidly up a rope. The invention they eventually got has uses far beyond the military.


How Moldy Hay And Sick Cows Led To A Lifesaving Drug

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The blood thinner warfarin, which prevents blood clots, owes its existence to some cows who got very sick after eating spoiled hay — and to a chemist who spent years trying to figure out why.


Millions Will See Total Solar Eclipse Sweep Across The U.S.

Monday, August 21, 2017

A total solar eclipse will make its way from Oregon to South Carolina. Millions are in the path of the eclipse, and millions more are head to locations where the total eclipse will be visible.


New Study Highlights Strong Link Between Basic Research And Inventions

Monday, August 14, 2017

A big waste of money or the engine of marketplace innovation? That's how some people see basic scientific research. Now a new study shows how basic research and inventions are connected.


Syrian Refugee And German Scientist Make An Unlikely Team

Monday, August 07, 2017

In Leipzig, Germany, two scientists from very different backgrounds are working on a unique research project.


Brush Yourself Off And Try Again: An Invention Story

Friday, August 04, 2017

Inventing even the simplest product is a fraught process. Mike Davidson and Mike Smith have learned that lesson the hard way as they seek to change the way teeth get cleaned.