science

Science Education
9:00 am
Wed March 20, 2013

NPR's Ira Flatow: Science Is Sexy

NPR science correspondent Ira Flatow.
Credit Courtesy Ira Flatow

Is science sexy? Public radio and TV journalist Ira Flatow thinks so. Every week, he turns scientific discoveries into conversation pieces on his radio program Science Friday. In his talk “Science is Sexy,” he argues that museums, zoos, TV shows and films have overtaken formal education as the main ways people learn about science. Whether it’s the Mars rover or the Large Hadron Collider, scientific research is a hot commodity. Is popular science good for science as a whole?

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Food Science
10:30 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Synesthetes Really Can Taste The Rainbow

A select group of synesthetes can truly "taste the rainbow."
Photo illustration by Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 8:23 am

Plenty of us got our fill of green-colored food on St. Patrick's Day. (Green beer, anyone?) But for some people, associating taste with color is more than just a once-a-year experience.

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Biotech
12:07 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Bionic Bulldogs And Spider Goats: The Future Of Biotech's New Beasts

Artistic interpretation of the future of pets, the Genpet by Adam Brendejs.
Flickr Photo/Adam Brandejs

How is biotechnology changing our pets, our livestock and other wild things? Ross Reynolds talks with Emily Anthes, the author of "Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts," about how biotech will change our pets and livestock.

Scientific Discoveries
2:04 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

If Caffeine Can Boost The Memory Of Bees, Can It Help Us, Too?

Adam Cole/NPR iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 3:13 pm

Who knew that the flower nectar of citrus plants — including some varieties of grapefruit, lemon and oranges — contains caffeine? As does the nectar of coffee plant flowers.

And when honeybees feed on caffeine-containing nectar, it turns out, the caffeine buzz seems to improve their memories — or their motivations for going back for more.

"It is surprising," says Geraldine Wright at Newcastle University in the the U.K., the lead researcher of a new honeybee study published in the journal Science.

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Natural History
2:29 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Fossils Suggest Giant Relatives Of Modern Camels Roamed The Canadian Arctic

Illustration of the High Arctic camel on Ellesmere Island during the Pliocene warm period, aboutthree-and-a-half million years ago. The camels lived in a boreal-type forest. The habitat includeslarch trees and the depiction is based on records of plant fossils found at nearby fossil deposits.
Julius Csotonyi

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 8:49 am

Camels belong in the desert. That's what we've learned since grade school.

Today, NPR's Melissa Block talked to Natalia Rybczynski, a paleobiologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, who tells Melissa that fossils she has unearthed tell a different story.

The fossils, found on a frigid ridge in Canada's High Arctic, show that modern camels actually come from giant relatives that roamed the forests of Ellesmere Island 3.5 million years ago.

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Science & Space
9:00 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Let's Think Big About Space

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Credit Courtesy/Neil deGrasse Tyson Facebook Page

What does the future hold for America’s space program? Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson argues that space exploration is vital for our economy, our security — and our morale. "Audacious visions... have the power to change assumptions about what is possible," he says. In his most recent book, "Space Chronicles," Tyson challenges lawmakers to invest in NASA and once again put a priority on the nation's space program. Neil deGrasse Tyson joins us to talk meteors, aliens and thinking big about exploring the universe.

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Competition
11:41 am
Tue March 5, 2013

The Science Of Winning And Losing

Do you perform better when a trophy is on the line?
Flickr Photo/David Biesack

Does competition make us perform better? What does the science say? Ross Reynolds sits down with New York Times best-selling authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman to discuss the science of winning and losing, and what it takes to become the "Top Dog."

Food Policy
10:00 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Should GMO Foods Be Labeled?

A GMO ingredients label from a box of Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal.
Credit AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Later this year, Washington state voters may get the chance to weigh in on whether genetically modified foods should be labeled as such. Supporters of proposed Initiative 522 say consumers are owed the information about what's in their food. I-522's opponents say there are no known risks to GMOs, so why label them? We look at the science of genetically modified organisms and how I-522 would affect consumers with professor Toby Bradshaw of the University of Washington and Dr. Michael Hansen of Consumers Union.

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Politics & Government
9:00 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Gavin Newsom: Taking The Town Square Digital

Gavin Newsom at the Web 2.0 Summit in 2008.
Credit Flickr Photo/JD Lasica

It’s not news that government can get bogged down by layers of bureaucracy. The solution to cutting the red tape, says California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, is technology. He joins us to talk about his new book "Citizenville," and how to put technology to use to take citizens from observers to collaborators.

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Technology
1:43 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Street Lights, Security Systems And Sewers? They're Hackable, Too

An analyst works at a federal cybersecurity center in Idaho in 2011. Experts say Internet-connected infrastructure is a possible target of cyberwarfare.
Mark J. Terrill AP

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 3:05 pm

Allegations that the Chinese military has been hacking U.S. corporations are raising tensions. But in the case of a full-fledged cyberwar, things would look very different.

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Neurological Advancements
9:00 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Mapping The Human Brain

MRI scans of a brain.
Credit Flickr Photo/David Foltz

In his State of the Union address, President Obama proposed a massive scientific endeavor to map the human brain. It's a multi-billion dollar, multi-year project that's meant to do for neuroscience what the Human Genome Project did for DNA. How will scientists actually achieve it? We talk with Dr. Christof Koch from the Allen Institute for Brain Science and Dr. Patricia Kuhl from the UW Institute for Learning and Brain Science.

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Science
2:41 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Attack By Chondrite: Scientists ID Russian Meteor

Researchers who studied pieces of the meteor collected near Lake Cherbarkul say it was a common chondrite meteor. The largest of the 53 fragments was one centimeter in diameter. Photo provided by the Urals Federal University Press Service.
Alexander Khlopotov AP

The meteor that caused at least 1,000 injuries in Russia after a startling and powerful daytime explosion one week ago has been identified as a chondrite. Russian scientists who analyzed fragments of the meteor, whose large size and well-documented impact made it a rarity, say that its composition makes it the most common type of meteor we encounter here on Earth.

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Science
12:27 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Honey, It's Electric: Bees Sense Charge On Flowers

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:47 am

Flowers are nature's ad men. They'll do anything to attract the attention of the pollinators that help them reproduce. That means spending precious energy on bright pigments, enticing fragrances and dazzling patterns.

Now, scientists have found another element that contributes to flowers' brand: their distinct electric field.

Anne Leonard, who studies bees at the University of Nevada, says our understanding of pollinator-flower communication has been expanding for decades.

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Physics
1:34 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

If Higgs Boson Calculations Are Right, A Catastrophic 'Bubble' Could End Universe

An undated handout graphic distributed on July 4, 2012 by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva shows a representation of traces of traces of a proton-proton collision measured in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experience in the search for the Higgs boson.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:00 pm

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Environment
12:21 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

The State Of The Union In Solving Climate Change

The United States doesn't currently have a plan for dealing with the problem of climate change. But President Obama is expected to bring it up in his State of the Union address tomorrow night. What is he expected to say? What’s he likely to do? David S. Roberts of the Seattle-based environmental magazine Grist talks with David Hyde about his predictions on how the president will attempt to tackle climate change.

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