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

Bio-Inspired Concrete, Nose Microbiome, Space News. May 29, 2020, Part 2

5/29/2020
The human microbiome—our own personalized bacteria profile—plays a part in our health. The different parts of our body, from our skin to our gut, each have their own microbial profile. A team of researchers decided to explore the bacteria living inside our nose, publishing this week in the journal Cell Reports. Microbiologist Sarah Lebeer, one of the authors of the study, discusses what beneficial bacteria reside in our nose—and how this could be used to create a probiotic for upper...

Duration:00:48:46

Vaccine Rate Decrease, Mind-Body Music. May 29, 2020, Part 1

5/29/2020
One unintended consequence of families sheltering at home is that children’s vaccination rates have gone way down. In New York City, for example, vaccine doses for kids older than two dropped by more than 90 percent. That could mean new outbreaks of measles and whooping cough, even while we’re struggling with COVID-19. Joining Ira to talk about decreasing vaccination rates are two pediatricians, James Campbell, professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in...

Duration:00:46:53

Ancient East Asian Genomes, COVID And Clotting, And Cassowary Plumage. May 22, 2020, Part 2

5/22/2020
The cassowary, a large flightless bird native to Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands, has a reputation for aggression and wickedly clawed feet that can cause serious injury. Indeed, they’ve been known to attack humans dozens of times, and even occasionally kill people. But they also have a beauty trick: Their glossy black body feathers have a structure for producing shine that’s never before been seen in birds. Where other black birds like crows are shiny because of structures in...

Duration:00:48:37

Degrees Of Change: Regulatory Rollbacks. May 22, 2020, Part 1

5/22/2020
The Trump administration is in the process of reversing nearly 100 environmental rules and regulations—threatening air, water, and public health. For example, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has relaxed enforcement for air pollution violations, allowing emissions to continue unchecked during the spread of a respiratory illness. “We’ve never seen anything like the systematic rollback of all things environmental the way we have in this...

Duration:00:46:19

Galileo, Home COVID Monitoring Tech, Origin Of The Feces. May 15, 2020, Part 2

5/15/2020
Galileo’s Battle Against Science Denial Galileo Galilei is known as the father of observational astronomy. His theories about the movement of the Earth around the sun and his experiments testing principles of physics are the basis of modern astronomy. But he’s just as well known for his battles against science skeptics, having to defend his evidence against the political and religious critics and institutions of his time. In his new book Galileo and the Science Deniers, astrophysicist Mario...

Duration:00:46:12

Global COVID Hotspots, Fact Check My Feed, Koji Fermenting. May 15, 2020, Part 1

5/15/2020
Fact Check My Feed: Finding The Falsehoods In ‘Plandemic’ Science Friday continues to weigh the truth and sift through the seemingly never-ending stream of misleading claims about the novel coronavirus. This week, virologist Angela Rasmussen joins Ira to help us decipher the uncertainties around this week’s COVID-19 headlines. While what we know and don’t know about COVID-19 changes daily, some things are certain: Rasmussen lays out some of the many falsehoods in the viral “Plandemic”...

Duration:00:46:41

Moon Maps, Brain Replay, Contact Tracing. May 8, 2020, Part 2

5/8/2020
Have you ever had to learn something new and repeat it over and over—until it feels like you’re doing it in your sleep? Maybe you are. In research published this week in the journal Cell Reports, scientists monitored the brain activity of two people implanted with fine grids of neural electrodes as part of a brain-computer interface study for tetraplegia: paralysis of all four limbs. With the implants and a computer model to process the signals, the study participants were able to use their...

Duration:00:49:50

COVID-19 Inequalities. May 8, 2020, Part 1

5/8/2020
Coronavirus is still hitting the U.S. hard. And breaking down infections by race shows a striking pattern: Black, Latino, and Native American people are hit much harder than other communities. National data shows black Americans account for nearly 30% of COVID-19 deaths, despite only being 13% of the population. In New York City, the epicenter of America’s epidemic, the death rate among black and Latino residents is more than double that of white and Asian residents. Coronavirus is...

Duration:00:46:25

Evolutionary Biologist Neil Shubin, Bee Virus Behavior, Search for Lost Apples. May 1, 2020, Part 2

5/1/2020
The Twists And Turns Of The Evolution Of Life On Earth In an evolutionary tree, neat branches link the paths of different species back through time. As you follow the forking paths, you can trace common ancestors, winding down the trunk to see the root organism in common. Evolution in the real world is a little messier—full of dead ends and changes happening beneath the surface, even before new traits and species appear. And the research and science that gave us a better picture about how...

Duration:00:47:14

COVID-19 By The Numbers, 1918 Flu. May 1, 2020, Part 1

5/1/2020
Navigating COVID-19 By The Numbers Ever since the first news about a new virus in China, we’ve been seeing projections, or models predicting how it might spread. But how are those models created? There’s a lot of math that goes into understanding what might come next. Ira turns to a group of scientists who make their living in crunching the numbers—the people who make mathematical models to approximate different scenarios, trying to minimize loss of life. Sarah Cobey from the University of...

Duration:00:49:11

Vaccine Process, Hubble Space Telescope Anniversary, Alchemy Of Us. April 24, 2020, Part 2

4/24/2020
Over 50 pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms around the world are now racing to develop vaccines for the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. Anthony Fauci has said that it might be possible to develop a vaccine in as quickly as 12 to 18 months—but so far, researchers still don’t know which of several approaches might be most safe and effective. Paul Offit, head of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says that usually, the standard time to develop a...

Duration:00:48:23

Valley Fever, Citizen Science Month Finale. April 24, 2020, Part 1

4/24/2020
When you think of fungal infections, you might think athlete’s foot or maybe ringworm—itchy, irritating reactions on the skin. But other fungal diseases can cause much more serious illness. One of them is Valley Fever, caused by the soil fungus Coccidioides. In 2018, over 15,000 people were diagnosed with coccidioidomycosis, commonly known as Valley Fever, in the United States, mainly in the American West, and in parts of Mexico, and Central and South America. But the numbers could be much...

Duration:00:48:58

COVID-19 Factcheck, Digital Earth Day, City Nature Challenge, Ancient Antarctic Forest. April 17, 2020, Part 2

4/17/2020
Can Coronavirus Reactivate In Patients After Recovery? These days, newsfeeds are overloaded with stories of the coronavirus, but Science Friday continues to explain the science behind COVID-19 headlines. Here, we learn about South Korea reports of 116 patients who recovered from the disease tested positive. Angela Rasmussen, associate research scientist and virologist at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, breaks down how reactivation works in viruses in diseases such as herpes....

Duration:00:48:11

Degrees of Change: Climate Anxiety and Depression. April 17, 2020, Part 1

4/17/2020
You Aren’t Alone In Grieving The Climate Crisis As the consequences of unchecked climate change come into sharper focus—wildfires in the Amazon and Australia, rising seas in low-lying Pacific Islands, mass coral bleaching around the world—what is to be done about the emotional devastation that people feel as a result? In 2007, Australian eco-philosopher Glenn Albrecht described this feeling as homesickness “for a home that no longer exists,” which he called “solastalgia.” Others have...

Duration:00:48:26

Spring Sounds, Luxury Ostrich Eggs, ISeeChange. April 10, 2020, Part 2

4/10/2020
Enjoying Spring From Quarantine You may be trapped inside, but outside, it’s bird migration season. Flowers are blooming from coast to coast, and even the bees are out getting ready for a year of productive buzzing around. Producer Christie Taylor talks to Atlanta birder and Birds of North America host Jason Ward, and Nature Conservancy land steward Kari Hagenow about the best ways to get started as a new birder under quarantine. Then, University of California entomology researcher Hollis...

Duration:00:47:34

Healthcare Ripple Effects, Resilient Flowers, Cancer Detection. April 10, 2020, Part 1

4/10/2020
Routine Healthcare Is Falling Through The COVID-19 Cracks Our healthcare system is straining under the weight of the coronavirus epidemic, with hospital emergency rooms and ICUs around the country facing shortages of masks, ventilators, hospital beds, and medical staff. But the epidemic is also upsetting parts of the healthcare system that aren’t directly treating COVID patients. How are you supposed to keep up with regular medical care when you’re not supposed to leave the house, or when...

Duration:00:49:22

SciFri Extra: Science Diction On The Word 'Quarantine'

4/7/2020
Quarantine has been on many of our minds lately. The phrases “shelter in place” and “self-quarantine” have filled up our news, social media, and conversations since the first inklings of the coronavirus pandemic. But this is far from the first time cities and countries have used the practice of physical separation to battle the spread of disease. You might think of Mary Mallon, who many know as “Typhoid Mary.” In the early 1900s, she spent nearly 30 years in a cottage on a small island in...

Duration:00:18:53

DIY Masks, Neanderthal Diet, Symbiotic Worms. April 3, 2020, Part 2

4/3/2020
During the global COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals across the country are running low on PPE—personal protective equipment. This includes masks, gowns, face shields, and other important gear to keep healthcare workers safe. These supplies are the first line of defense between healthcare workers and potentially sick patients. Cloth masks are usually only advised as a last resort for healthcare workers, but an increasing number of hospitals are seeking them out. Some hospitals, including...

Duration:00:46:51

COVID-19 Supplies Shortage, Citizen Science Month, Mercury Discovery. April 3, 2020, Part 1

4/3/2020
April is Citizen Science Month! It’s a chance for everyone to contribute to the scientific process—including collecting data, taking observations, or helping to analyze a set of big data. And best of all, a lot of these projects can be done wherever you happen to be personally isolating. Caren Cooper, an associate professor at North Carolina State University in Raleigh and co-author of the new book A Field Guide To Citizen Science: How You Can Contribute to Scientific Research and Make a...

Duration:00:46:36

SciFri Extra: Science Diction On The Word 'Cobalt'

3/31/2020
Cobalt has been hoodwinking people since the day it was pried from the earth. Named after a pesky spirit from German folklore, trickery is embedded in its name. In 1940s Netherlands, cobalt lived up to its name in a big way, playing a starring role in one of the most embarrassing art swindles of the 19th century. It’s a story of duped Nazis, a shocking court testimony, and one fateful mistake. Want more Science Diction? Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and sign up for our...

Duration:00:17:51