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Science Friday

WNYC

Brain fun for curious people.

Brain fun for curious people.
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New York, NY

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

Brain fun for curious people.

Twitter:

@scifri

Language:

English

Contact:

(800) 989-8255


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Episodes

Moon Art, Space History, And NASA's Megarocket. July 19, 2019, Part 2

7/19/2019
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Our Lunar Muse Most of us remember that iconic photograph of the Apollo 11 moon landing: Buzz Aldrin standing on a footprint-covered moon, one arm bent, and Neil Armstrong in his helmet’s reflection taking the picture. But there’s a much longer, ancient history of trying to visually capture the moon that came before the 1969 photo—from Bronze Age disks with crescent moons to Galileo’s telescope drawings to 19th-century photos and modern photographs. For millennia, we’ve been obsessed...

Duration:00:49:33

Apollo Anniversary And Bird Book Club. July 19, 2019, Part 1

7/19/2019
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Celebrating Apollo's 'Giant Leap' July 20, 1969 was a day that changed us forever—the first time humans left footprints on another world. In this segment, Ira Flatow and space historian Andy Chaikin celebrate that history and examine the legacy of the Apollo program. Apollo ushered in a new age of scientific discovery, with lunar samples that unlocked the history of how the moon and the solar system formed. It accelerated the development of new technologies, like the integrated circuit....

Duration:00:47:37

Mosquitos and Smell, Fermentation, Model Rocket Launch. July 12, 2019, Part 2

7/12/2019
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If you’ve ever tried brewing your own beer or raising your own sourdough, then you know that the process of fermentation isn't easy to get right. How do you control the growth of mold, yeast, or bacteria such that it creates a savory and delicious new flavor, and not a putrid mess on your kitchen counter? David Zilber is Director of Fermentation at the restaurant Noma, and he tells his fermentation secrets. The human scent is made up of a combination of 100 odor compounds. Other mammals...

Duration:00:49:41

Degrees of Change: Food and Climate. July 12, 2019, Part 1

7/12/2019
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A quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from putting food on the table. From the fossil fuels used to produce fertilizers, to the methane burps of cows, to the jet fuel used to deliver your fresh asparagus, eating is one of the most planet-warming things we do. In our latest chapter of Degrees of Change, we're looking at how to eat smarter in a warming world. Plus, we’ve launched a new way for you to add your voice to the show: the SciFri VoxPop app. Download now for iPhone...

Duration:00:50:00

The Bastard Brigade, Spontaneous Generation. July 5, 2019, Part 2

7/5/2019
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Much has been written about the Manhattan Project, the American-led project to develop the atomic bomb. Less well known is Nazi Germany’s “Uranium Club”—a similar project started a full two years before the Manhattan Project. The Nazis had some of the greatest chemists and physicists in the world on their side, including Werner Heisenberg, and the Allies were terrified that the Nazis would beat them to the bomb—meaning the Allies were willing to try anything from espionage to assassination...

Duration:01:01:51

Science Road Trips, Archaeology From Space. July 5, 2019, Part 1

7/5/2019
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Summer is here—and that means it’s time for a road trip! Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton, co-authors of Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the Hidden Wonders of the World, join Ira to share some suggestions for sciencey things to see and do around the country, from unusual museum exhibits to outstanding natural wonders. Plus, we asked you for YOUR travel ideas—and did you deliver! We’ll share tourist tips from some regular Science Friday guests, and highlight some of your many...

Duration:00:48:30

Paternity, Musical Proteins, Microbiome In Runners. June 28, 2019, Part 2

6/28/2019
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These days, a scientific paternity test is easily acquired, and its results are seen as almost indisputable. But what about the days before so-called foolproof DNA analysis? For most of human history, people considered the identity of a child’s father to be more or less “unknowable.” Then in the 20th century, when a flurry of events sparked the idea that science could help clarify the question of fatherhood, and an era of “modern paternity” was born. The new science of paternity, which...

Duration:00:50:30

Cephalopod Week Wrap-Up, USDA Climate Change, Sinking Louisiana. June 28, 2019, Part 1

6/28/2019
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The eight-day squid-and-kin appreciation extravaganza of Cephalopod Week is nearly over, but there’s still plenty to learn and love about these tentacled “aliens” of the deep. After a rare video sighting of a giant squid—the first in North American waters—last week, NOAA zoologist Mike Vecchione talks about his role identifying the squid from a mere 25 seconds of video, and why ocean exploration is the best way to learn about the behavior and ecology of deep-sea cephalopods. Then, Marine...

Duration:00:51:30

SciFri Extra: About Time

6/25/2019
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The official U.S. time is kept on a cesium fountain clock named NIST-F1, located in Boulder, Colorado. On a recent trip to Boulder, Ira took a trip to see the clock. He spoke with Elizabeth Donley, acting head of the Time and Frequency Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, about keeping the official U.S. time on track—and how NIST is using advanced physics to develop ever more precise and stable ways to measure time.

Duration:00:15:27

Smoke Chasers, Colorado Apples, Pikas. June 21, 2019, Part 2

6/21/2019
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When wildfires rage in the West, Colorado State University atmospheric scientist Emily Fischer hops into a plane, and flies straight into the smoke. The plane is a flying chemistry lab, studded with instruments, and Fischer’s goal is to uncover the chemical reactions happening in smoke plumes, to determine how wildfire smoke may affect ecosystems and human health. Pikas—those cute little animals that look like rodents but are actually more closely related to rabbits—used to roam high...

Duration:00:50:46

Cephalopod Week 2019, Climate and Microbes, Puppy Eyes, Wave Energy. June 21, 2019, Part 1

6/21/2019
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For eight glorious days during the end of June, Science Friday honors the mighty mollusks of the ocean—Cephalopod Week returns for the sixth year! And we’re cephalo-brating with a tidal wave of ways for you to participate. This year, we want to know your favorite cephalopod. Is it the charismatic giant Pacific octopus or the long-lived chambered nautilus? Science Friday digital producer Lauren Young and biologist Diana Li add their own favorite cephalopods to the ultimate undersea...

Duration:00:50:07

Degrees Of Change: Urban Heat Islands. June 14, 2019, Part 1

6/14/2019
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We’ve known for more than 200 years that cities are hotter than surrounding rural areas. All that concrete and brick soaks up the sun’s rays, then re-emits them as heat long after night has fallen. On top of that, waste heat from the energy we use to power our buildings, vehicle emissions, and even air conditioning units can cause some cities to be as many as 20 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than their rural surroundings—creating “urban heat islands.” Between the toll that heat takes on the...

Duration:00:47:21

The Best Summer Science Books. June 14, 2019, Part 2

6/14/2019
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The Best Science Books To Read This Summer They say a vacation is only as good as the book you bring with you. And these days it feels like there are as many ways to consume science writing as there are fields of science. Whether you’re a fan of historical nonfiction, graphic novels, poetry or short essays, this year’s panel of summer science books experts has the one you’re looking for to take with you on your journey. Alison Gilchrist is a graduate student researcher at CU Boulder and...

Duration:00:48:42

Quantum Leaps, Cancer Drugs, Cat Cameras. June 7, 2019, Part 2

6/7/2019
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The “spooky physics” of the quantum world has long been marked by two key ideas: The idea of superposition, meaning that a quantum particle can exist in multiple states simultaneously, and the idea of randomness, meaning that it’s impossible to predict when certain quantum transitions will take place. Writing in the journal Nature, Zlatko Minev and colleagues report that they may be able to make the quantum behavior slightly less mysterious. Minev joins Ira to talk about the finding, and...

Duration:00:48:49

Gender Bias In Research Trials, Antarctica, Tornado Engineering. June 7, 2019, Part 1

6/7/2019
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For half a century, most neuroscience experiments have had one glaring flaw: They've ignored female study subjects. The reason? Researchers claimed, for example, that female rats and mice would skew their data, due to hormonal cycling. Writing in the journal Science, neuroscientist Rebecca Shansky says that view is out of date—and it's been harming science too. She and Radiolab producer and co-host Molly Webster join Ira to talk about the past, present, and future of laboratory research,...

Duration:00:49:09

SciFri Extra: Remembering Murray Gell-Mann

6/4/2019
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Physicist Murray Gell-Mann died recently at the age of 89. He received the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the theory of elementary particles, and is credited with giving quarks their name. But he was known for more than just physics—he was a co-founder of the Santa Fe Institute, and a champion of creativity and interdisciplinary research. One of his biggest interests was exploring the “chain of relationships” that connects basic physical laws and the subatomic world to the...

Duration:00:46:01

Climate Politics, Football and Math, Ether. May 31, 2019, Part 2

5/31/2019
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A green wave is sweeping through Washington, and it’s picking up Republicans who are eager to share their ideas on clean energy and climate change. But even as Republican lawmakers turn to shaping climate policy, the White House is doubling down on climate denial, forming a “climate review panel” to vet and discredit the already peer-reviewed science on climate change. So where will climate science end up? Ira’s joined by marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and climate scientist Michael...

Duration:00:48:36

Spoiler Alert, Glyphosate, Unisexual Salamanders. May 31, 2019, Part 1

5/31/2019
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How many times has this happened to you? You’re standing in front of an open freezer, wondering what type of mystery meat has been left in there, when you purchased it, and if it’s still safe to eat? If you’re puzzled by sell-by dates, freezer burn, and just how long food can remain edible, you’re not alone. Studies show that more than 80 percent of Americans misinterpret date labels and throw food away prematurely to protect their families’ health. That adds up to $218 billion worth of food...

Duration:00:50:03

SciFri Extra: A Relatively Important Eclipse

5/28/2019
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This week marks the 100th anniversary of an eclipse that forever changed physics and our understanding of the universe. In May 1919, scientists set out for Sobral, Brazil, and Príncipe, an island off the west coast of Africa, to photograph the momentarily starry sky during a total eclipse. Their scientific aim was to test whether the sun’s gravity would indeed bend light rays from faraway stars, as predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. After analyzing the data from the brief...

Duration:00:15:37

Bees! May 24, 2019, Part 2

5/24/2019
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For the hobby beekeeper, there’s much to consider when homing your first domestic honey bee colonies—what kind of hive to get, where to put them, where to get your bees, and how to help them survive the winter. But when left to their own devices, what do the bees themselves prefer? From smaller nests to higher openings, wild honey bees seem to prefer very different conditions from the closely clustered square boxes of traditional beekeeping. But there are ways to adapt! Seeley joins Ira to...

Duration:00:48:02