science

Author Sherman Alexie in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Arwen Nicks gets book recommendations from authors Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter.

Alexie has recently become an unofficial ant expert after reading Mark W. Moffett's "Adventures Among Ants," saying that they are the only other species to go to war.

Walter's pick is a novel by Jenny Offil called "Dept. of Speculation."

Everyone points to the Wright Brothers as the inventors of human flight. But centuries earlier, it was Leonardo da Vinci who imagined human flight, recognizing how birds used concepts like lift and wing shape to glide high above us.

Buzzworthy Breeding To Bring Back Bumble Bees

Aug 10, 2014

Some scientists are going to great lengths to help the agreeable Western bumble bee make a comeback.

Doctors and health workers in West Africa are especially vulnerable as they continue to battle to control the spread of Ebola, and dozens of them are dying.

The low for Sierra Leone came with the death of the country's campaigning "Ebola doctor," Dr. Sheik Humar Khan. Khan cared for dozens of patients before testing positive for Ebola and dying of the lethal virus late last month.

Flickr Photo/NASA Goddard Photo (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with astrophysics professor Adam Frank about what a plasma cloud is, the chances of one hitting Earth and what that means for our civilization. Spoiler: All the answers are scary. 

Ross Reynolds talks to biotech reporter, Luke Timmerman, about what types of treatments biologist are studying for Ebola.

Sure, money can't buy you love, but it's hard to imagine that winning rewards won't make us happy.

It does, researchers say, but only if our immediate expectations aren't bigger than the size of the payoff. Disappointment squelches happiness.

"Your happiness increases only if you do better than you expected," says Robb Rutledge, a neuroscientist and senior research associate at University College London. "Just having a bigger salary isn't enough to make you happy."

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

More and more research suggests that healthy playtime leads to healthy adulthood.

Childhood play is essential for brain development. As we've reported this week, time on the playground may be more important than time in the classroom.

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.

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