Science Friday-logo

Science Friday

WNYC

Brain fun for curious people.

Brain fun for curious people.
More Information

Location:

New York, NY

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

Brain fun for curious people.

Twitter:

@scifri

Language:

English

Contact:

(800) 989-8255


Episodes

Coronavirus, Great Lakes Drinking Water. Jan 24, 2020, Part 1

1/24/2020
More
A novel coronavirus—the type of virus that causes SARS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and common cold symptoms—has killed 18 people, and sickened more than 600. In response, Chinese officials have quarantined several huge cities, where some 20 million people live. In this segment, Ira talks with epidemiologists Saskia Popescu and Ian Lipkin about what we know about the virus, how it appears to spread, and whether efforts to contain it are effective—or ethical. Do you know where...

Duration:00:46:59

Feathered Dino, Clinical Trials, Coffee Extraction. Jan 24, 2020, Part 2

1/24/2020
More
Before any new drug comes to market, it goes through a time-consuming process. Researchers have to recruit human subjects for a clinical trial, collect all the data, and analyze the results. All of that can take years to complete, but the end result could be worth it: a drug that treats a rare disease or improves patients lives with fewer side effects. Or the opposite could happen: The drug doesn’t have any effect or makes patients worse. So the question is, how is the public informed of...

Duration:00:51:00

Polling Science, Gar-eat Lakes. Jan 17, 2020, Part 1

1/17/2020
More
The Science Of Polling In 2020 And Beyond In today’s fast-paced digital culture, it is more difficult than ever to follow and trust political polls. Campaigns, pollsters, and media outlets each say that their numbers are right, but can report different results. Plus, the 2016 election is still fresh in the public’s mind, when the major story was how political polling got it wrong. But despite how people may feel about the practice, the numbers suggest that polls are still working. Even as...

Duration:00:51:00

Biorobots, The Math Of Life, Science Comics. Jan 17, 2020, Part 2

1/17/2020
More
Living Robots, Designed By Computer Researchers have used artificial intelligence methods to design ‘living robots,’ made from two types of frog cells. The ‘xenobots,’ named for the Xenopus genus of frogs, can move, push objects, and potentially carry materials from one place to another—though the researchers acknowledge that much additional work would need to be done to make the xenobots into a practical tool. The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of...

Duration:00:47:57

Migraines, Galaxy Formation. Jan 10, 2020, Part 2

1/10/2020
More
The Mysteries Of Migraines What do sensitivity to light, a craving for sweets and excessive yawning have in common? They’re all things that may let you know you’re about to have a migraine. Of course each person’s experience of this disease—which impacts an estimated 38 million people in the U.S.—can be very different. One person may be sensitive to light while another is sensitive to sound. Your pain may be sharp like a knife while your friend’s may be dull and pulsating. Or perhaps you...

Duration:00:46:34

Australia Fires, Great Lakes Book Club. Jan 10, 2020, Part 1

1/10/2020
More
How Climate Change Is Fanning Australia’s Flames All eyes have been on Australia in recent weeks as the country’s annual summer fire season has spun out of control with devastating damage to endangered wildlife, homes, farms, indigenous communities, and—as smoke drifts across unburned major metropolitan centers like Sidney and Canberra—air quality. Vox reporter Umair Irfan and fire scientist Crystal Kolden explain why climate scientists are pointing the finger squarely at climate change...

Duration:00:46:41

Geoengineering Climate Change, Tasmanian Tiger, New Water Plan. Jan 3, 2020, Part 1

1/3/2020
More
In the context of climate change, geoengineering refers to deliberate, large-scale manipulations of the planet to slow the effects of human-induced global warming—whether by removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it safely, or altering the atmosphere to reflect the amount of incoming sunlight that is absorbed as heat. But neither strategy is uncomplicated to deploy. Carbon capture is expensive and is often used to enhance fossil fuel extraction, not to actually reduce emissions....

Duration:00:46:25

Christmas Bird Count. Jan 3, 2020, Part 2

1/3/2020
More
For many, the new year means looking back on the past accomplishments and checking off your goals. For birders, it means tallying up your species list and recording all the birds you’ve spotted in the season. Birders Corina Newsome and Geoff LeBaron, director of the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, guide us through the feathered friends flying overhead—from nuthatches to ducks to merlins.

Duration:00:46:55

2019 Year In Review. Dec 27 2019, Part 1

12/27/2019
More
In 2019 we experienced some painful and heartbreaking moments—like the burning of the Amazon rainforest, a worldwide resurgence of measles cases, and the first ever deaths linked to vaping. Ira talks with this year’s panel of science news experts, Wendy Zukerman, Rachel Feltman, and Umair Irfan, live on stage at Caveat in New York City. Plus, as we turn the corner into 2020, Science Friday listeners weigh in with their picks for the best science moment of the decade.

Duration:00:49:41

Looking Back at the Pale Blue Dot. Dec 27, 2019, Part 2

12/27/2019
More
Few people could put the cosmos in perspective better than astronomer Carl Sagan. And that’s why we’re taking this opportunity to take another listen to this classic conversation with Sagan, recorded December 16, 1994, twenty-five years ago this month. Ira and Sagan talk about US space policy, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, the place of humans in the universe, and humanity’s need to explore.

Duration:00:47:30

Emerging Technologies, Pokémon In The Brain, Colds And Flu. Dec 20, 2019, Part 1

12/20/2019
More
Back when Science Friday began in 1991, the Internet, as we know it, didn’t even exist. While ARPA-NET existed and the first web pages began to come online, social media, online shopping, streaming video and music were all a long ways away. In fact, one of our early callers in 1993 had a genius idea: What if you could upload your credit card number, and download an album you were interested in listening to? A truly great idea—just slightly before its time. In this segment, we’ll be looking...

Duration:00:47:59

Space Junk, Chronobiology, Mistletoe. Dec 20, 2019, Part 2

12/20/2019
More
As more commercial companies are getting into the satellite launching game, space is becoming a crowded place and all of these objects are creating space debris. Right now, there are approximately 2,000 satellites floating in low-Earth orbit. Space agencies have estimated that are over 100 million small particles floating in low-Earth orbit, but there are no large scale projects to clean up these pieces of space trash. Aerospace engineer Moriba Jah and space archeologist Alice Gorman talk...

Duration:00:46:50

Degrees of Change: Transportation. December 13, 2019, Part 1

12/13/2019
More
Transportation—whether it be your car, aircraft, cargo ships, or the heavy trucks carrying all those holiday packages—makes a big contribution to the world’s CO emissions. In the U.S., the transportation sector accounts for some 29% of the country’s emissions, according to Environmental Protection Agency data. And despite the Paris Agreement mission to decrease global emissions, demand for transportation around the world is on the rise—and with that increased demand comes increased energy...

Duration:00:50:10

Insulin Marketplace, Hair, Whale Size. December 13, 2019, Part 2

12/13/2019
More
Why Diabetes Patients Are Getting Insulin From Facebook Almost one in ten Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, according to the most recent statistics from the CDC. With those odds, you likely know someone with the disease. And you may also know that most diabetes patients need to be treated with insulin therapy—frequent injections of a hormone that helps regulate their blood sugar—or face serious complications, like blindness, nerve damage, or kidney failure. Unfortunately, a good...

Duration:00:46:58

Undiscovered Presents: Spontaneous Generation

12/11/2019
More
These days, biologists believe all living things come from other living things. But for a long time, people believed that life would, from time to time, spontaneously pop into existence more often—and not just that one time at the base of the evolutionary tree. Even the likes of Aristotle believed in the “spontaneous generation” of life, until Louis Pasteur debunked the theory—or so the story goes. In a famous set of experiments, Pasteur showed that when you take a broth, boil it to kill...

Duration:00:20:47

Best Science Books and Board Games of 2019. Dec 6, 2019, Part 2

12/6/2019
More
In a year jam-packed with fast-moving science news and groundbreaking research, books can provide a more slower-paced, reflective look at the world around us—and a precious chance to dive deep on big ideas. But how do you decide which scientific page-turner to pick up first? Science Friday staff pawed through the piles all year long. Listen to Ira round up his top picks, along with Valerie Thompson, Science Magazine senior editor and book reviewer, and Deborah Blum, a Pulitzer Prize-winning...

Duration:00:50:37

Parker Solar Probe, Slime Molds. Dec 6, 2019, Part 1

12/6/2019
More
In August 2018, NASA sent the Parker Solar Probe off on its anticipated seven-year-long mission to study the sun. Already, it has completed three of its 24 scheduled orbits, and data from two of those orbits are already telling us things we didn’t know about the star at the center of our solar system. The probe has collected information on the factors that influence the speed of solar wind, the amount of dust in the sun’s bubble-like region—the heliosphere—and also where scientists’ models...

Duration:00:50:08

SciFri Extra: Bringing Environmental Justice To The Classroom

11/30/2019
More
Laura Diaz, a Bay Area science teacher, grew up in Pittsburg, California near chemical plants and refineries. That experience, combined with watching her mother’s home go up in flames in last year’s Camp Fire, transformed her into an “environmental justice activist.” Now, she’s bringing those experiences into the classroom to inspire young people to solve the world’s injustices through science. Diaz joined Ira onstage at San Francisco’s Sydney Goldstein Theater, alongside a few former...

Duration:00:16:22

Science Awards Of The Sillier Sort. Nov 29, 2019, Part 2

11/29/2019
More
The 2019 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony is a tribute to offbeat and quirky scientific studies. Here's some examples: Does pizza have a protective effect against cancer? What’s the physics behind the wombat’s unusual cubic-shaped droppings? And can dog-training clickers be used to help the medical education of orthopedic surgeons? These projects were among 10 that were recognized at this year’s 29th first annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremonies. The prizes, selected by the editors of the Annals of...

Duration:00:46:31

Imagining The Future Of AI / Face Mites. Nov 29, 2019, Part 1

11/29/2019
More
What can science fiction and social science contribute to how we think about our algorithmic present and future? Science fiction writers and Hugo-winning podcast hosts Annalee Newitz (author of The Future Of Another Timeline) and Charlie Jane Anders (author of The City In The Middle Of The Night) talk about their work imagining future worlds and new kinds of technology—plus how all of this fiction traces back to the present. Then, AI ethicist Rumman Chowdhury joins to discuss how social...

Duration:00:48:13