science

In a darkened lab in the north of England, a research associate is intensely focused on the microscope in front of her. She carefully maneuvers a long glass tube that she uses to manipulate early human embryos.

"It's like microsurgery," says Laura Irving of Newcastle University.

Irving is part of a team of scientists trying to replace defective DNA with healthy DNA. They hope this procedure could one day help women who are carrying genetic disorders have healthy children.

The hunt to find genes that cause autism has been a long slog, one hampered by a lack of technology and families willing to be tested.

But the effort is starting to pay off. On Tuesday, researchers at more than 50 laboratories said they had identified more than 100 genes that are mutated in children with autism, dozens more than were known before.

A careful examination of frozen caribou poop has turned up two never-before-seen viruses.

The viruses are hundreds of years old: One of them probably infected plants the caribous ate. The other may have infected insects that buzzed around the animals.

The findings prove viruses can survive for surprisingly long periods of time in a cold environment, according to Eric Delwart, a researcher at Blood Systems Research Institute in San Francisco.

Mary Guiden / UW

Marcie Sillman speaks with graduate student Elle O'Brien, who recently represented the University of Washington's Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering at the National Science Foundation's Perfect Pitch Competition, about making science comprehensible to everyone.

Flickr Photo/Lisa Parker (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Dr. Parveen Bhatti, environmental epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, about how researchers determine causality.

Flickr Photo/Teresa Boardman (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Marcie Sillman talks with Steven Johnson, author of "How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World," about the technological innovations that led to widespread clean water in America, despite the E. coli in Mercer Island's drinking water this month.

A trio of scientists, two from Japan and one from the U.S., will share the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which led to a new, environmentally friendly light source.

Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and U.S. scientist Shuji Nakamura were selected by the committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to share the 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million) prize.

Nobelprize.org says:

Flickr Photo/Kris Krug (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Jab Abumrad, creator and co-host of Radiolababout his work and creativity.

Steven Pinker's book "The Sense of Style."

Ross Reynolds speaks with cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, who is both a fan and critic of writing style guides. He’s now written his own: “The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century!” He says many authors of style guides don’t understand the cognitive biases that lead to us write poorly.

Everyone loves dolphins. They're adorable, playful and super-intelligent, often called the geniuses of the ocean.

But recently some researchers have begun to question that last notion. When it comes to brainpower, dolphins might not be as special as you might think.

In a recent piece for New Scientist, Caroline Williams rounds up some of the dissenting opinions.

A group in the Boise area is in the midst of fundraising for a new attraction in the Northwest. It'll be called the Northwest Science Museum.

Marcie Sillman talks to biotech writer Luke Timmerman about the influx of money to cancer immunotherapy companies like VentriRx, which just received $50 million to increase their research efforts.

Courtesy of Che-Wei Wang

Jeannie Yandel talks to Beth Kolko, a professor at the University of Washington and co-founder of Shift Labs, about MIT's "Make The Breast Pump Not Suck" hack-a-thon.

KUOW Photo/Jimmy Lovaas

Tonight is the first night in the new moon’s cycle, which means the moon is almost completely dark.

That’s great news if you want to look at the night sky through a telescope.

”Full moons are really disastrous for observing because they light up all the atmosphere, they’re very bright. It’s one of the worst light polluters,” said Jonathan Fay.

Four years ago, Angela Stimpson agreed to donate a kidney to a complete stranger.

"The only thing I knew about my recipient was that she was a female and she lived in Bakersfield, Calif.," Stimpson says.

It was a true act of altruism — Stimpson risked pain and suffering to help another. So why did she do it? It involved major surgery, her donation was anonymous, and she wasn't paid.

"At that time in my life, I was 42 years old. I was single, I had no children," Stimpson says. "I loved my life, but I would often question what my purpose is."

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