Science Friday-logo

Science Friday

WNYC

Brain fun for curious people.

Brain fun for curious people.

Location:

New York, NY

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

Brain fun for curious people.

Twitter:

@scifri

Language:

English

Contact:

(800) 989-8255


Episodes

Squid Lighting, Tongue Microbiome, Invasive Herbivores. March 27, 2020, Part 2

3/27/2020
How Humboldt Squid Talk To Each Other In The Dark Cephalopods are masters of changing their bodies in response to their environments—from camouflaging to sending warning signals to predators. The art of their visual deception lies deep within their skin. They can change their skin to different colors, textures, and patterns to communicate with other animals and each other. But how does this play out in the darkness of the deep ocean? That’s the question a team of scientists studied in the...

Duration:00:47:49

COVID Near You Citizen Science, Fact-Check Your Feed. March 27, 2020, Part 1

3/27/2020
These days, our newsfeeds are overloaded with stories of the coronavirus. This week, Science Friday continues to dig into the facts behind the speculation—the peer-reviewed studies and reports published by scientists investigating the virus. But what we know—and don’t know—about the new virus is changing daily, making it hard to keep up. Everyone, for example, wants to know more about possible therapies for treating COVID-19 patients. After President Trump publicly speculated about the...

Duration:00:45:54

SciFri Extra: Science Diction On The Word 'Dinosaur'

3/24/2020
At the turn of the 19th century, Britons would stroll along the Yorkshire Coast, stumbling across unfathomably big bones. These mysterious fossils were all but tumbling out of the cliffside, but people had no idea what to call them. There wasn’t a name for this new class of creatures. Until Richard Owen came along. Owen was an exceptionally talented naturalist, with over 600 scientific books and papers. But perhaps his most lasting claim to fame is that he gave these fossils a name: the...

Duration:00:12:05

Coronavirus Fact-Check, Poetry of Science, Social Bats. March 20, 2020, Part 2

3/20/2020
As new cases of coronavirus pop up across the United States, and as millions of people must self-isolate from family and friends at home, one place many are turning to for comfort and information is their news feed. But our regular media diet of politics, sports, and entertainment has been replaced by 24/7 coverage of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Nearly every outlet is covering the pandemic in some way—celebrities live streaming their self-quarantine, restaurants rolling out new health...

Duration:00:47:47

Jane Goodall, Coronavirus Update, Science Diction. March 20, 2020, Part 1

3/20/2020
60 years ago this year, a young Jane Goodall entered the Gombe in Tanzania to begin observations of the chimpanzees living there. During her time there, Goodall observed wild chimpanzees in the Gombe making and using tools—a finding that changed our thinking about chimps, primates, and even humans. Now, Goodall travels the world as a conservationist, advocate for animals, and United Nations Messenger of Peace. She joins guest host John Dankosky to reflect on her years of experience in the...

Duration:00:49:20

SciFri Extra: Science Diction On The Word 'Vaccine'

3/17/2020
For centuries, smallpox seemed unbeatable. People had tried nearly everything to knock it out—from herbal remedies to tossing back 12 bottles of beer a day (yep, that was a real recommendation from a 17th century doctor), to intentionally infecting themselves with smallpox and hoping they didn’t get sick, all to no avail. And then, in the 18th century, an English doctor heard a rumor about a possible solution. It wasn’t a cure, but if it worked, it would stop smallpox before it started. So...

Duration:00:12:35

Farmers’ Stress, Tiny Dino-Bird Discovery. March 13, 2020, Part 2

3/13/2020
The Farm Crisis of the 1980s was a dark time for people working in food and agriculture. U.S. agricultural policies led to an oversupply of crops, price drops, and farms closures. At the same time, the rate of farmer suicide skyrocketed. The industry struggled, until organizations like Farm Aid and others popped up to give voice to the crisis. But farm advocates agree that farmers are in the middle of another period of hardship, one brought on by the same factors that caused the Farm Crisis...

Duration:00:47:14

Coronavirus: Washing and Sanitizing, Science Diction, New HIV PrEP Drugs. March 13, 2020, Part 1

3/13/2020
The number of people in the U.S. confirmed to be infected with the pandemic-level respiratory coronavirus continues to rise, even as testing and diagnosis capacity continues to lag behind other nations. In the meantime, epidemiologists are urging people all over the country to take actions that help “flatten the curve,” to slow the rate of infection so the number of cases don’t overwhelm the healthcare system and make the virus even more dangerous for those who get it. And the best methods...

Duration:00:48:42

SciFri Extra: Science Diction On The Word 'Meme'

3/10/2020
Remember that summer when the internet was one Distracted Boyfriend after another—that flannel-shirted dude rubbernecking at a passing woman, while his girlfriend glares at him? Everyone had their own take—the Boyfriend was you, staring directly at a solar eclipse, ignoring science. The Boyfriend was youth, seduced by socialism, spurning capitalism. The Boyfriend could be anyone you wanted him to be. We think of memes as a uniquely internet phenomenon. But the word meme originally had...

Duration:00:13:42

Astronaut Training, Marsquakes, Whale Migration. March 6, 2020, Part 2

3/6/2020
Do You Have The ‘Right Stuff’ To Be An Astronaut? If you’ve ever considered being an astronaut, this might be your chance to land that dream job. This week, NASA opened applications for a new class of astronaut candidates. It’s a full-time position based in Houston, Texas, paying over $104,000 per year. Job duties would include “conducting operations in space, including on the International Space Station (ISS) and in the development and testing of future spacecraft” and “performing...

Duration:00:49:55

Coronavirus Genetics, Prosthetic Hands. March 6, 2020, Part 1

3/6/2020
A New Trick For Dexterity In Prosthetic Hands Researchers working on the next generation of prosthetic limbs have a few fundamental engineering problems to overcome. For starters, how can people using prosthetic limbs effectively signal what motions they want to perform? A team of researchers may have a solution: A surgical technique that uses muscle tissue to amplify the nerve signals. Participants fitted with prosthetic hands after this surgery, described in Science Translational...

Duration:00:50:11

Coronavirus Preparedness, Facebook’s History. Feb 28, 2020, Part 2

2/28/2020
This week, the world’s attention has turned to the spread of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that was first detected in Wuhan, China, late in 2019. More countries are finding cases, and in the United States, a California patient has become the first known case of possible “community spread”—where the patient had not traveled to affected areas or had known exposure to someone who had been infected. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control said Americans should prepare for “significant...

Duration:00:49:09

Degrees of Change: Building Materials. Feb 28, 2020, Part 1

2/28/2020
In order to slow a warming planet on track to increase by 2 degrees celsius, nearly every industry will be forced to adapt: airlines, fashion, and even the unglamorous and often overlooked building materials sector. Just like the farm to table movement, consumers are increasingly thinking about where the raw materials for their homes and cities come from, and how they impact climate change. And in response to this concern, the materials sector is serving up an unusual menu option:...

Duration:00:47:10

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