science

C'mon, admit it. You've wondered. You've mused. You've pondered. At some point in your life — probably after watching a science-fiction movie — you've found yourself asking that all-important question: What happens if you find yourself in space without a spacesuit?

After a decade of travel, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft arrived at a comet early this morning.

"Ten years we've been waiting in the car to get to scientific Disneyland," ESA's Mark McCaughrean said. "It's a wonderful moment."

Washington State University’s mascot is the cougar, but the university is also home to the nation’s only captive grizzly bear research center. A new study involving those bears yields insights into possible therapies for human obesity and diabetes.

This week, NPR Ed is focusing on questions about why people play and how play relates to learning.

When it comes to brain development, time in the classroom may be less important than time on the playground.

Flickr Photo/Paolo Marconi (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Jessica Sommerville, psychology professor at the University of Washington, about her recent study that explores how babies perceive justice.

Brains At Play

Aug 4, 2014

This week at NPR Ed, our series Playing To Learn will explore questions about why people play and how play relates to learning.

Flickr Photo/Giulia Forsythe

Human beings have wondered how our brains work for millennia. And we haven’t been afraid to knock about in there to find out. There is evidence that trepanation, the surgical practice of drilling a hole into the skull in order to cure headaches or mental disorders, was performed in Neolithic times, just at the tail end of the Stone Age. Ouch!

According to author Sam Kean, the stories of people who survived terrible brain disease and injury are at the heart of how modern neuroscience advanced. Kean spoke at Town Hall Seattle on May 20.

Flickr Photo/Chas Redmond (CC-BY-NC-ND)

California-based biotech firm Amgen announced on Tuesday that it would close its Seattle and Bothell campuses by 2015, resulting in the loss of 660 jobs locally. The closure is part of a company-wide layoff of an estimated 2,400 to 2,900.

KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Startup companies from the University of Washington showed off their innovative products to potential investors and industry advisors Tuesday.

The UW launched a record 18 startups last fiscal year with the support from the UW Center for Commercialization.

Courtesy of Susie Fitzhugh/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

After removing a tumor, surgeons are confronted with an unfortunate reality: They can’t be sure they got it all. It can be difficult to distinguish between normal tissue and cancerous cells while operating.

Dr. Jim Olson, a researcher at Fred Hutchinson Research Center and oncologist at the University of Washington, was inspired by his young patients to find a way to ensure that surgeons didn’t miss anything.

Dogs have an intuitive understanding of fair play and become resentful if they feel that another dog is getting a better deal, a new study has found.

The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at how dogs react when a buddy is rewarded for the same trick in an unequal way.

This week, All Things Considered is exploring how people interpret probability. What does it mean to us, for example, when a doctor says an operation has a 70 percent chance of success?

(July 24, 2014: See the editor's note at the bottom of this page for an explanation of the story's new headline.)

When 12-year-old Lauren Arrington heard about her sixth-grade science project, she knew she wanted to study lionfish. Growing up in Jupiter, Fla., she saw them in the ocean while snorkeling and fishing with her dad.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Infectious diseases may be spreading more quickly, thanks to global warming. Viruses that were kept in check by the polar ice box are being released. And as some animals move north to keep cool, they're bringing all sorts of parasites with them, from microbes to ticks. Christopher Solomon has written about this in the August issue of "Scientific American." And he joins me now from Montana Public Radio in Missoula. Welcome.

CHRISTOPHER SOLOMON: Good to be here, Arun.

Many young scientists dream of their first trip to a remote research site — who wouldn't want to hang out with chimps like Jane Goodall, or sail to the Galapagos like Charles Darwin, exploring the world and advancing science?

But for many scientists, field research can endanger their health and safety.

In a survey of scientists engaged in field research, the majority — 64 percent — said they had personally experienced sexual harassment while at a field site, and 22 percent reported being the victim of sexual assault.

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