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Science Friday

WNYC

Brain fun for curious people.

Brain fun for curious people.

Location:

New York, NY

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WNYC

Description:

Brain fun for curious people.

Twitter:

@scifri

Language:

English

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(800) 989-8255


Episodes

Coronavirus Update, Genuine Fakes, Neanderthal News. Feb. 21, 2020, Part 2

2/21/2020
What Is Real And Fake? There are two ways to grow a diamond. You can dig one up from the Earth—a product of billions of years of pressure and heat placed on carbon. Or you can make one in a lab—by applying lots of that same heat and pressure to tiny starter crystals—and get it made much faster. Put these two objects under a microscope and they look exactly the same. But is the lab-grown diamond real or fake? The answer lies somewhere in between. The same goes for many other things, like...

Duration:00:49:28

Ask A Dentist. Feb. 21, 2020, Part 1

2/21/2020
Brushing Up On Tooth Science Most of us spend our time at the dentist holding our mouths open, saying “ahhh,” and occasionally sticking out our tongues. But if you could ask a dentist anything, what would you want to know? Ira asks University of Utah researcher Rena D’Souza and UPenn’s Mark Wolff about cavity formation, the oral microbiome, gum disease, and the future of stem cells in teeth restoration. Plus, NYU researcher Rodrigo Lacruz explains new research on how excessive fluoride can...

Duration:00:49:05

Building A Ghost Heart, The Effect Of Big Tech. Feb 14, 2020, Part 2

2/14/2020
The human heart is one of the most complicated organs in our body. The heart is, in a way, like a machine—the muscular organ pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood in an adult human every day. But can we construct a heart in the lab? Some scientists are turning to engineering to find ways to preserve that constant lub dub when a heart stops working. One team of researchers created a biohybrid heart, which combines a pig heart and mechanical parts. The team could control the beating motion of...

Duration:00:47:40

Great Lakes Book Club Wrap-Up, California Groundwater. Feb 14, 2020, Part 1

2/14/2020
The Great Lakes hold 20% of the world’s surface drinking water, with Lake Superior holding half of that alone. The lakes stretch from New York to Minnesota, and cover a surface area of nearly 100,000 square miles—large enough to cover the entire state of Colorado. And they’re teeming with life. Fish, phytoplankton, birds, even butterflies call the lakes home for some portion of their lives. But not all is calm in the waters. In The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, journalist Dan Egan...

Duration:00:48:24

SciFri Extra: The Marshall Islands Stare Down Rising Seas

2/13/2020
The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a country of 58,000 people spread across 29 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean. And in a world where seas are both rising and acidifying, the Marshall Islands are exceptionally vulnerable: Those atolls rise a mere two meters above the original ocean height on average, and rely on the health and continued growth of their coral foundations to exist. A 2018 study projects that by 2050, the Marshall Islands could be mostly uninhabitable due to...

Duration:00:15:07

Tech And Empathy, The Ball Method. Feb 7, 2020, Part 2

2/7/2020
How Tech Can Make Us More—And Less—Empathetic Much of technology was built on the promise of connecting people across the world, fostering a sense of community. But as much as technology gives us, it also may be taking away one of the things that makes us most human—empathy. Meet Alice Ball, Unsung Pioneer In Leprosy Treatment In 1915, an infection with leprosy (also called Hansen’s disease) often meant a death sentence. Patients were commonly sent into mandatory quarantine in “leper...

Duration:00:46:57

Degrees Of Change: How Native American Communities Are Addressing Climate Change. Feb 7, 2020, Part 1

2/7/2020
How Native American Communities Are Addressing Climate Change Indigenous peoples are one of the most vulnerable communities when it comes to the effects of climate change. This is due to a mix of cultural, economic, policy and historical factors. Some Native American tribal governments and councils have put together their own climate risk assessment plans. Native American communities are very diverse—and the challenges and adaptations are just as varied. Professor Kyle Whyte, a tribal...

Duration:00:51:10

Breast Cancer Cultural History, Butterfly Wings. Jan 31, 2020, Part 2

1/31/2020
‘Radical’ Explores The Hidden History Of Breast Cancer Nearly 270,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, along with a couple thousand men. But the disease manifests in many different ways, meaning few patients have the same story to tell. Journalist Kate Pickert collects many of those stories in her book Radical: The Science, Culture, and History of Breast Cancer in America. And one of those stories is her own. As she writes about her own journey with breast cancer, Pickert...

Duration:00:50:03

Coronavirus Update, Invasive Species. Jan 31, 2020, Part 1

1/31/2020
Tracking The Spread Of The Coronavirus Outbreak This week, the World Health Organization declared that the coronavirus outbreak—which began in Wuhan, China—is a public health emergency of international concern. Nearly 8,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide. Chinese scientists sequenced the genome of the virus from some of the patients who were infected early on in the outbreak. Virologist Kristian Andersen discusses how the genetics of the virus can provide clues to how it is transmitted...

Duration:00:47:19

SciFri Extra: Revisiting Unique Science Stories Of 2019

1/27/2020
2020 has just begun, but we’re still celebrating all the amazing work done by science journalists in 2019. Thanks to them, we’ve been informed on stories like the new illnesses linked to vaping, the first image of a black hole, and the increase in youth-led climate change protests. At our year in review event at Caveat in NYC on December 18, 2019, three science storytellers—Arielle Duhaime-Ross, Sarah Zhang, and Ariel Zych—took the stage with a notable story they reported in 2019, including...

Duration:00:36:14

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

1/24/2020
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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