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Episodes

  • Rooting Out the Plant Microbiome

    Oct 16, 2014 | 12 min
    Scientists are uncovering the importance of the plant microbiome for fighting off pathogens and increasing crop yields.
  • More Than Cornflakes

    Oct 16, 2014 | 21 min
    John Harvey Kellogg and his brother, W.K., are known today for their most famous discovery—corn flakes—but invented many other health foods along the way.
  • The 'First' Battle of Gas Versus Electric

    Oct 16, 2014 | 12 min
    As plug-in electric vehicles struggle to carve out a slice of today's auto market, it's worth remembering the first such battle—at the turn of the 1900s.
  • Is Your ‘Priceless’ Painting a Fake? Better Ask a Scientist

    Oct 16, 2014 | 16 min
    Techniques from physics and chemistry can help scientists and art historians sniff out art forgeries.
  • Forensic Entomologists Hunt Down Insects to Help Catch Criminals

    Oct 16, 2014 | 17 min
    To help piece together a crime scene, forensic entomologists examine the insects found in the area.
  • Environmental Detectives Use Genetic Tools to Track Invasives

    Oct 16, 2014 | 11 min
    A recently developed technique called "environmental DNA" allows invasive species trackers to get a time-sensitive fingerprint of which species are living where—including underwater.
  • Is MSG Bad for Your Health?

    Oct 9, 2014 | 18 min
    Four decades of scientific studies suggest the food additive MSG may not deserve its toxic reputation.
  • Your Home, Your Bacteria

    Oct 9, 2014 | 11 min
    The surfaces in a home reflect the distinct blend of bacteria that inhabit the people that live there.
  • How to Make Quark Soup

    Oct 9, 2014 | 7 min
    Brookhaven National Laboratory cooks up tiny ephemeral batches of quark-gluon soup that are said to be the most "perfect" fluid ever discovered.
  • Atul Gawande: On Being Mortal

    Oct 9, 2014 | 28 min
    In his book Being Mortal, surgeon Atul Gawande argues that more medicine may not be better medicine in end-of-life care.
  • Taking the Temperature of Rising Seas

    Oct 9, 2014 | 12 min
    Researchers are trying to better understand ocean water temperatures, which is an important factor in rising sea levels.
  • How Did the Violin Get Its Shape?

    Oct 9, 2014 | 8 min
    From its role in biological systems to cultural products, “shape is information that can tell us a story,” says biologist Dan Chitwood.
  • The Race to Contain, Rather Than Cure, Ebola

    Oct 9, 2014 | 13 min
    With production of experimental treatments slow-going, rapid diagnostic testing could be the best bet for containing the ongoing Ebola outbreak.
  • Dance and Physics Collide in ‘Quantum’

    Oct 2, 2014 | 17 min
    Choreographer Gilles Jobin took inspiration from the movements of physics for his piece Quantum.
  • Do Chimps Have Culture?

    Oct 2, 2014 | 13 min
    Researchers say a real-world case of “monkey see, monkey do” might model the origins of human culture.
  • Catching a Glimpse of an Eclipse

    Oct 2, 2014 | 17 min
    This month, North America will be under the skies of a full lunar eclipse on October 8 and a partial solar eclipse on October 23.
  • A Whiff of What’s to Come: What Sense of Smell Says About Health

    Oct 2, 2014 | 8 min
    Older adults’ sense of smell might be a strong indicator of their risk of mortality within a five-year span.
  • Community Labs Practice Do-It-Yourself Biology

    Oct 2, 2014 | 23 min
    In DIY biology labs across the country, citizen scientists take the tools of synthetic biology into their own hands.
  • Mining the Internet for Clues to Chinese Censorship

    Oct 2, 2014 | 17 min
    Protests continue in Hong Kong, but only glimpses of the activity make it into mainland China due to censorship.
  • Plant Emissions: How Do Trees Interact With Pollution?

    Sep 25, 2014 | 12 min
    Certain tree species can add to pollution if they’re planted in certain locations.
  • ‘Internal Medicine’ Gives a Resident’s Eye View of the Hospital

    Sep 25, 2014 | 18 min
    A writer-doctor’s stories reveal the hospital through the eyes of a resident.
  • Stories to Make You Think BIG

    Sep 25, 2014 | 18 min
    With his new story about a 20-kilometer-high skyscraper, sci-fi author Neal Stephenson hopes to get engineers thinking big.
  • Science Friday Science Club: Observe Everything

    Sep 25, 2014 | 17 min
    The Science Club embarks on its next project and explores observation.
  • Sprouting a Forest in the City

    Sep 25, 2014 | 6 min
    Foresters are piecing together the complicated ecosystem of the urban forest.
  • MAVEN Maneuvers Into Mars’s Orbit

    Sep 25, 2014 | 13 min
    MAVEN makes into Mars’ orbit in time to meet a comet and begin unraveling mysteries of the Martian atmosphere.
  • Water on Earth Is a Million Years Older Than the Sun

    Sep 25, 2014 | 12 min
    The cloud of gas and dust that eventually condensed to form the Sun contained "thousands of oceans of water," says astronomer Ted Bergin.
  • Functional Features: The Evolution of the Human Face

    Sep 18, 2014 | 8 min
    Human social interaction may have been the reason faces evolved to be varied and unique.
  • Food Failures: How to Collect Mushrooms (and Eat Them, Too)

    Sep 18, 2014 | 17 min
    Eugenia Bone, president of the New York Mycological Society, talks about the dos and don'ts of wild mushroom foraging.
  • Artificial Sweeteners Might Sour Your Microbiome

    Sep 18, 2014 | 13 min
    Researchers say artificial sweeteners may alter the microbiome and the body’s ability to control glucose levels.
  • The People's March Against Climate Change

    Sep 18, 2014 | 13 min
    Ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, the People’s Climate March in New York City will bring a public voice to the climate change discussion.
  • Shake Your Silk-Maker: The Dance of the Peacock Spider

    Sep 18, 2014 | 9 min
    With their ornately colored bodies, rhythmic pulsations, and booty-shaking dance moves, male peacock spiders attract mates and researchers alike.
  • Dissecting the Politics and Money Behind Health Care

    Sep 18, 2014 | 18 min
    In The Cost of Cutting, private practice surgeon Paul Ruggieri delves into the shadowy ways money influences health care.
  • ‘Dr.Fill’ Vies for Crossword Solving Supremacy

    Sep 18, 2014 | 18 min
    A computer program named “Dr.Fill” competes against human solvers for crossword puzzle glory.
  • Keeping an Eye on Eruptions Around the World

    Sep 11, 2014 | 24 min
    At least 20 volcanoes are probably erupting as you read these words.
  • The Science of ‘Sameness’: Developing Generic Medications

    Sep 11, 2014 | 18 min
    As of 2010, generic drugs comprise almost 80 percent of the American pharmaceutical market, compared to 10 percent in 1960.
  • Can Conservation Efforts Save the Birds?

    Sep 11, 2014 | 23 min
    A look at the effects of conservation efforts and climate change on bird populations in North America.
  • A Jovian Moon With Earth-Like Tectonics

    Sep 11, 2014 | 6 min
    The icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa may undergo processes similar to plate tectonics on Earth.
  • Understanding the Urban Ecosystem

    Sep 11, 2014 | 17 min
    Researchers say road salt and dissolving concrete have contributed to increased salinization in urban streams.
  • After 40 Years, a Blue Whale Population Bounces Back

    Sep 11, 2014 | 7 min
    Blue whale populations are only a fraction of what they once were globally, but a California population has nearly made a comeback.
  • To Master Test Material, Give Your Brain a Break

    Sep 4, 2014 | 34 min
    Salvador Dalí and Thomas Edison took very brief naps when they were stuck on artistic and scientific problems.
  • Supermassive Dinosaur Would Have ‘Feared Nothing’

    Sep 4, 2014 | 12 min
    Scientists estimate the dinosaur Dreadnoughtus schrani would have weighed as much as a Boeing 737.
  • Randall Munroe Asks, ‘What If?’

    Sep 4, 2014 | 17 min
    In his new book What If?, xkcd comic artist Randall Munroe answers his reader’s hypothetical questions with math and science.
  • The Wilderness Act Turns 50

    Sep 4, 2014 | 12 min
    Fifty years ago this week, legislation set aside over nine million acres of official wilderness.
  • Hello, Stranger, Wanna Share a Cab?

    Sep 4, 2014 | 10 min
    Researchers found that potentially 95 percent of cab rides in New York City could have been shared.
  • From Exotic Garden to Eco-Haven

    Sep 4, 2014 | 8 min
    A former millionaire's estate is becoming an environmental haven and training ground.
  • Experimental Therapy Saves Monkeys From Deadly Dose of Ebola

    Aug 29, 2014 | 12 min
    ZMapp, the cocktail of antibodies used to treat two American aid workers infected with the Ebola virus, spared 18 severely ill monkeys from death.
  • From the Lab to the Silver Screen: The Birth of CGI

    Aug 28, 2014 | 13 min
    Animator Tom Sito explains how scientists and engineers kickstarted Hollywood’s digital animation revolution.
  • Unraveling the Mysteries of Black Holes

    Aug 28, 2014 | 9 min
    High energy x-rays provide a rare glimpse into the behavior of black holes.
  • Electric Bacteria Form Nanowires, Shoot Out Electrons

    Aug 28, 2014 | 9 min
    USC's Moh El-Naggar says engineers hope to harness bacterial energy using fuel cells.
  • Less Flashy Fossils Offer Paleoclimate Clues

    Aug 28, 2014 | 18 min
    Uncharismatic microfauna, such as insects and mollusks, are giving scientists at La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles a glimpse of the city's cool, humid past.
  • Making Hollywood’s Digital Doubles

    Aug 28, 2014 | 18 min
    Now that Hollywood’s visual effects wizards can create convincing “digital actors,” will we still need the real thing?
  • Science in the Writers’ Room

    Aug 28, 2014 | 18 min
    Hollywood T.V. and film writers explain how they balance scientific accuracy and storytelling.
  • The SciFri Book Club Talks ‘Dune’

    Aug 21, 2014 | 18 min
    The SciFri Book Club concludes its discussion of Frank Herbert’s ecological epic, Dune.
  • ‘Evolutionary Misfit’ Finds Its Way Into the Family Tree

    Aug 21, 2014 | 8 min
    Scientists piece together how a 14-legged Cambrian worm is related to modern animals.
  • Microbes Thrive in Antarctic Lake Buried Beneath Ice

    Aug 21, 2014 | 7 min
    Microbes have made a home in a lake trapped beneath an 800-meter-thick ice sheet in Antarctica.
  • Neanderthals and Modern Humans Mingled for Millennia

    Aug 21, 2014 | 10 min
    New, more accurate radiocarbon dating suggests the two cultures co-existed in Europe for nearly 5,000 years.
  • Tar Noir

    Aug 21, 2014 | 9 min
    Using paleoforensics, researchers recount the grim details of life and death at the the La Brea Tar Pits.
  • Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Send Messages to Your Brain?

    Aug 21, 2014 | 23 min
    Researchers discuss how the microbiome might play a role in anxiety, depression, and autism.
  • Oceans Act As the World's Thermostat

    Aug 21, 2014 | 13 min
    Global temperatures hit a plateau at the turn of the 21st century. Now researchers say they've discovered where that missing heat was hiding: in the oceans.
  • Making ‘Masstransiscope’

    Aug 21, 2014 | 8 min
    A filmmaker uses science to transform the New York City subway into a movie theater.
  • Is Healthy Soil the Low-Tech Solution to Climate Change?

    Aug 14, 2014 | 18 min
    In her book The Soil Will Save Us, writer Kristin Ohlson concludes that the low-cost, low-tech solution to climate change may be directly underfoot—in healthy soil.
  • Sylvia Earle’s ‘Mission Blue’

    Aug 14, 2014 | 19 min
    Oceanographer Sylvia Earle bears witness to troubling changes in our oceans in the documentary Mission Blue.
  • Close-Up With a Comet

    Aug 14, 2014 | 12 min
    The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft is the first probe to orbit a comet.
  • Food Failures: Concocting Condiments

    Aug 14, 2014 | 22 min
    Culinary scientist Ali Bouzari dips into the chemistry behind condiments, from hot sauce to mustard.
  • Decoding Secret Communication Between Plants

    Aug 14, 2014 | 6 min
    A new study in Science says that certain parasitic plants spy on their hosts through RNA exchanges.
  • Bridging the Rift: Oculus' Answer to Virtual Reality

    Aug 14, 2014 | 7 min
    Technological and design innovations inside the Oculus Rift make virtual reality poised for a mass-market debut.
  • App Chat: Being Social Without Leaving a Trace

    Aug 14, 2014 | 11 min
    A growing number of apps allow users to post ephemeral or anonymous messages—and they're catching on quickly with millennials.
  • Can An Experimental Therapy be Used to Treat Ebola?

    Aug 7, 2014 | 13 min
    A look at the experimental therapy used to treat two Americans who were infected with Ebola.
  • Can Science Build A Better Piano?

    Aug 7, 2014 | 9 min
    Scientists have created a 3D acoustical scan of the piano's resonance—and say it could help refine the art of piano-making.
  • "Lucy" Debunked

    Aug 7, 2014 | 4 min
    A neurobiologist reveals sci-fi thriller Lucy’s neuroscience bloopers.
  • Listening In on Elephant ‘Mating Pandemonium’

    Aug 7, 2014 | 9 min
    In a “mating pandemonium” event, a group of elephants roar after a pair of elephants mate.
  • Giving Viruses a License to Kill...Cancer

    Aug 7, 2014 | 17 min
    Scientists transform common viruses like measles and herpes into potential cancer treatments.
  • Close Your Eyes And Listen To The Night Sky

    Aug 7, 2014 | 12 min
    If the bright “supermoon” drowns out the Perseid meteor shower this year, why not listen for meteors instead?
  • Algorithm Turns Everyday Objects Into Microphones

    Aug 7, 2014 | 8 min
    Sound waves trigger tiny vibrations in objects. By studying the vibrations, researchers can recreate the sounds that caused them.
  • Behind the Scenes at the City Morgue

    Aug 7, 2014 | 22 min
    Forensic pathologist Judy Melinek’s memoir Working Stiff goes behind the scenes at the New York City morgue.
  • Can’t Stop Worrying? Blame It on Your Habenula

    Jul 31, 2014 | 7 min
    The habenula is a pea-sized part of the brain that tracks our expectations of negative events.
  • Tapping Into Musical Memory

    Jul 31, 2014 | 23 min
    A new documentary, Alive Inside, exposes the connections between music and memory.
  • Can Animals Go Mad?

    Jul 31, 2014 | 16 min
    From depressed dogs to anxious gorillas, author Laurel Braitman explores mental illness in animals.
  • How Ultramarathons Affect the Heart, Blood, and Brain

    Jul 31, 2014 | 18 min
    Exercise scientists Tamara Hew-Butler and Greg Whyte talk about how the body changes after dozens of hours in motion.
  • Ebola Outbreak Continues in West Africa

    Jul 31, 2014 | 13 min
    Ebola specialist Daniel Bausch provides an on-the-ground view of treating the disease in West Africa.
  • Will Big Data Answer Big Questions on Health?

    Jul 31, 2014 | 17 min
    Google's latest big idea is called "Baseline Study"—an effort to catalog the DNA of thousands of healthy people, along with their blood, urine, saliva, breath, and tears.
  • New Online Tracking Tool Evades Privacy Settings

    Jul 24, 2014 | 12 min
    A new online tracker is snooping on visitors to over 5,600 popular sites—and it's nearly impossible to block.
  • What’s the Real Cost of Your Steak?

    Jul 24, 2014 | 11 min
    Cattle require 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water than eggs or poultry.
  • The SciFri Book Club Introduces Dune

    Jul 24, 2014 | 18 min
    Sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson and astrobiologist Sara Imari Walker introduce the SciFri Book Club’s summer selection: Dune.
  • A Newly Discovered Virus That Lives in Our Gut

    Jul 24, 2014 | 7 min
    Researchers discovered a virus that lives in the gut of half of the world’s population.
  • ‘Moth-ers’ Celebrate Less-Loved Lepidopterans

    Jul 24, 2014 | 11 min
    Elena Tartaglia, a co-founder of National Moth Week, gives tips on spotting butterflies' neglected cousins.
  • Mosquito-Borne Viruses Raise Public Health Concern

    Jul 24, 2014 | 13 min
    This summer, two different and currently untreatable mosquito-borne viruses were identified on the East Coast.
  • Oarfish: The Ultimate Fish Tale

    Jul 24, 2014 | 7 min
    Little is known about the monstrously long oarfish, its life cycle, and how it navigates its deep sea environment.
  • HIV/AIDS Update

    Jul 24, 2014 | 18 min
    A round-up of the latest HIV/AIDS research news and an update from the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.
  • App Chat: Plugging In to the Outdoors

    Jul 17, 2014 | 17 min
    Reporter Bob Parks guides us through his favorite outdoor and camping apps.
  • Scientists Call Whales the ‘Engineers’ of the Ocean Ecosystem

    Jul 17, 2014 | 14 min
    Whales stabilize the ocean ecosystem through a mechanism scientists call the “whale pump,” or fecal plumes.
  • Smarty Pants: Testing the Quality of Textiles

    Jul 17, 2014 | 6 min
    Confidence in how well our garments suit us shouldn't be taken for granted—we owe much to textile quality assurance.
  • As California Dries Up, Locals Hope for El Niño

    Jul 17, 2014 | 23 min
    A third of California is now clenched by exceptional drought, and this week the state announced $500 fines for water-wasters. But many residents continue to hope for rain.
  • Frozen in Time, a Giant Virus

    Jul 17, 2014 | 7 min
    A virus large enough to be seen through a light microscope was recovered from the Siberian permafrost.
  • Pacemaker Researchers Swap Batteries for Biology

    Jul 17, 2014 | 8 min
    With gene therapy, scientists reprogram pig heart cells to improve heartbeat.
  • Fashioning the Future

    Jul 17, 2014 | 21 min
    A scientist and a designer imagine fashion’s high-tech future.
  • Keeping an Eye on Wayward Studies

    Jul 10, 2014 | 11 min
    Ivan Oransky, co-founder of the Retraction Watch blog, discusses what happens when scientific studies go bad.
  • Could Inducing Hypothermia Help Revive Trauma Patients?

    Jul 10, 2014 | 13 min
    In a procedure called “Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation,” doctors would replace the blood of patients with cold saline to help buy valuable operating time.
  • Concerns Rise Over Pesticide Use, Birds, and Bees

    Jul 10, 2014 | 17 min
    Neonicotinoid pesticides have been banned in the E.U. but are still approved for use in the U.S. while the EPA reviews them.
  • The Surprisingly Predictable Patterns of Random Choice

    Jul 10, 2014 | 24 min
    In his new book, Rock Breaks Scissors, author William Poundstone decodes the patterns in big data, sports, and human behaviors.
  • What’s So Bad About Being Alone With Your Thoughts?

    Jul 10, 2014 | 11 min
    A study finds that many people would rather shock themselves than be alone with their thoughts.
  • The ABCs of 3D

    Jul 10, 2014 | 20 min
    Makerbot’s Bre Pettis explains what you need to know to try your own 3D printing.
  • A Web of Doubt

    Jul 3, 2014 | 16 min
    Author Charles Seife spots the falsehoods and fakes that make their way onto the information super highway.
  • How New Rules and Smart Tech Are Reinventing the Grid

    Jul 3, 2014 | 18 min
    After Superstorm Sandy, there was a lot of talk of a more distributed smart grid—a more resilient system. But how far have we come?
  • Do Your Patriotic Duty: Learn Math

    Jul 3, 2014 | 18 min
    Mathematician Edward Frenkel says a well-educated public is essential to democracy—and that includes being knowledgeable about math.
  • Ben Franklin: Sonic Explorer

    Jul 3, 2014 | 12 min
    Ben Franklin’s sonic experiments included inventing a new musical instrument and testing the limits of the human voice.
  • Meet the Mohawk Behind NASA’s Curiosity Mission

    Jul 3, 2014 | 16 min
    NASA’s “Mohawk Man,” Bobak Ferdowsi, talks public and private space exploration, plans for Europa, and whether or not we’ll be putting a human on Mars.
  • Celebrating Nature’s Summer Light Show, Fireflies

    Jul 3, 2014 | 13 min
    The flashing of lightning bugs is a favorite part of a lazy summer evening, but there’s a lot of hidden nighttime drama.
  • SciFri: Food Failures: Avoiding Grilling and Barbecue Pitfalls

    Jun 26, 2014 | 21 min
    Marinade myths, charcoal chemistry, and the elusive “smoke ring”—the science behind barbecue and grilling.
  • SciFri: Making Art From the DNA You Leave Behind

    Jun 26, 2014 | 32 min
    Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg calls attention to genetic surveillance with artworks made from strangers’ DNA.
  • SciFri: Shedding Light on the Science of Sunscreen

    Jun 26, 2014 | 13 min
    How does sunscreen protect our skin from harmful radiation, and what is the meaning behind SPFs?
  • SciFri: Dr. Arnold Relman, Health System Critic, Dead at 91

    Jun 26, 2014 | 4 min
    Relman called the American health care system a "new medical-industrial complex." We remember him here with two archival clips.
  • SciFri: 3-D Mammography Detects More Cancers, But Will It Save Lives?

    Jun 26, 2014 | 13 min
    A new study suggests that 3-D mammography detects more cancers than traditional digital mammography. But the technology is expensive, and there's no indication yet that it catches more dangerous cancers, or is saving more lives.
  • SciFri: Getting a Grasp on the Clever Cephalopod

    Jun 26, 2014 | 14 min
    The nautilus, the “living fossil” of cephalopods, can uncover the origins of the complex brain of modern cephalopods.
  • SciFri: At Reed College, Nuclear Education That’s Really 'Hands-On'

    Jun 19, 2014 | 13 min
    At Reed College, undergraduates keep a nuclear reactor running.
  • SciFri: What Happens After the Robot Apocalypse?

    Jun 19, 2014 | 17 min
    In Robogenesis, sci-fi author Daniel H. Wilson imagines the world post-robot uprising.
  • SciFri: Reinventing How City Dwellers Get Around

    Jun 19, 2014 | 30 min
    Portland, Oregon, is a hotbed for transit innovation. Will other cities catch on?
  • SciFri: Untangling the Web of Spider Science

    Jun 19, 2014 | 18 min
    Arachnologist Greta Binford traces the evolution of spiders by examining their venom.
  • SciFri: Beer Science: Crafting the Perfect Pint

    Jun 16, 2014 | 17 min
    Two of Oregon’s craft brew experts pore over hops, yeast, malt, and the microbiology of beer.
  • SciFri: Your Summer Science Book List

    Jun 12, 2014 | 26 min
    Lee Billings and Maria Popova compile your perfect summer science book list.