Science Friday

Science Friday


  • 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: ‘Do Fathers Matter?’ Explores Dad's Influence

    Jun 12, 2014 | 17 min
    In his new book, Paul Raeburn writes of the surprising biological and genetic connections fathers have with their children.
  • SciFri: The Science of the ‘Brazuca’

    Jun 12, 2014 | 9 min
    How will the “Brazuca” fly? Scientists put the World Cup soccer ball through its paces.
  • SciFri: Pre-Surgery Routine Needs an Update, Says Doc

    Jun 12, 2014 | 13 min
    Robert Cima of the Mayo Clinic says science doesn't back up pre-surgical practices like fasting and colon cleanses.
  • SciFri: Rep. Rush Holt: Science and Congress

    Jun 12, 2014 | 13 min
    Representative Rush Holt talks about how “thinking like a scientist” can help the political process.
  • SciFri: Is NASA Ready to Make the Leap to a Manned Mission to Mars?

    Jun 12, 2014 | 18 min
    What technologies, budget, and partners would NASA needed for a successful manned mission to Mars?
  • SciFri: Your Summer Science Book List

    Jun 12, 2014 | 26 min
    Lee Billings and Maria Popova compile your perfect summer science book list.
  • SciFri: The EPA's New Proposal to Curb Carbon Emissions

    Jun 5, 2014 | 12 min
    The EPA's proposal sets a 30 percent decrease in power plant carbon emissions by 2030.
  • SciFri: It's a Material World

    Jun 5, 2014 | 31 min
    In his book Stuff Matters, Mark Miodownik explains why the everyday materials around us are truly extraordinary.
  • SciFri: Making Summer Travel Plans With Climate Change in Mind

    Jun 5, 2014 | 23 min
    With projections of warmer temperatures and rising sea levels, which tourist destinations should you plan to visit sooner rather than later?
  • SciFri: The Goat Brigade

    Jun 5, 2014 | 4 min
    A herd of “elite” brush-clearing goats demonstrate why they are a versatile tool to shield against wildfires in Southern California.
  • SciFri: Documenting the Oldest Living Things in the World

    Jun 5, 2014 | 23 min
    In her new book of photography, The Oldest Living Things in the World, artist Rachel Sussman documents the oldest continuously living organisms on the planet.
  • SciFri: The Lineup of Cancer Threats Is Changing

    May 29, 2014 | 9 min
    A recent study projects that by 2030, pancreatic cancer will become the second most deadly type of cancer in the U.S. after only to lung cancer.
  • SciFri: How Can Airline Tracking Improve?

    May 29, 2014 | 12 min
    How can a commercial airliner go missing, and what can we do to improve tracking technology?
  • SciFri: What’s ‘I,’ and Why?

    May 29, 2014 | 23 min
    In Me, Myself, and Why, science writer Jennifer Ouellette probes the science of self.
  • SciFri: Why Do Some Songs Stick in Our Heads?

    May 29, 2014 | 17 min
    “Earworms” are song fragments that get stuck in our mind.
  • SciFri: Laser Blast Can Regrow Teeth, in Rats

    May 29, 2014 | 9 min
    Zapping dental stem cells with lasers appears to switch on production of new dentin, the hard stuff under tooth enamel.
  • SciFri: How Touch Helps Us Emotionally Experience the World

    May 29, 2014 | 13 min
    Researchers describe a type of nerve that helps us understand social interactions.
  • SciFri: A Decade After the Genome, Scientists Map the 'Proteome'

    May 29, 2014 | 12 min
    Nearly all the body's cells contain identical DNA. So why does a neuron grow up so differently than a liver cell? Proteins, says Akhilesh Pandey, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University.
  • SciFri: New Meteor Shower May Offer Skygazers a Treat...Or Not

    May 22, 2014 | 7 min
    Late Friday night, Earth will sail through debris left by the comet 209P/LINEAR. Scientists are calling the shower the Camelopardalids.
  • SciFri: Why Science and the Humanities Are Better Together

    May 22, 2014 | 18 min
    Biographer Walter Isaacson explains why the future belongs to those who can merge the arts and the sciences.
  • SciFri: Is It Possible to Make Matter From Light?

    May 22, 2014 | 12 min
    Scientists mapped out the plan for a potential “photon-photon collider” that could convert light into matter.
  • SciFri: Customizing Your Cryptocurrency With Altcoins

    May 22, 2014 | 11 min
    ZeroCash, Litecoin, and SolarCoin are digital currency alternatives to Bitcoin.
  • SciFri: Are Microbes Winning the Antibiotic Arms Race?

    May 22, 2014 | 30 min
    We're running out of antibiotics, and drug companies have little incentive to develop new ones. Can we save the ones we already have?
  • SciFri: The Debate Over Net Neutrality

    May 22, 2014 | 18 min
    What does the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality plan mean for consumers?
  • SciFri: Antarctic Ice Sheet Slipping Into the Sea

    May 15, 2014 | 13 min
    Scientists confirmed a West Antarctic ice sheet the size of the Dakotas is melting.
  • SciFri: Listening In on Seizures

    May 15, 2014 | 1 min
    A “brain stethoscope” turns seizure patients’ brainwaves into music.
  • SciFri: Is Graphene the New 'Wonder' Material?

    May 15, 2014 | 25 min
    Graphene is stronger than steel and more conductive than copper—a look at the applications and limitations of this ‘wonder’ material.
  • SciFri: Can’t Read This Headline? It’s Written in Invisible Ink

    May 15, 2014 | 24 min
    Prisoners, Lovers, & Spies tells the story of invisible writing, from lemon juice to microdots.
  • SciFri: Remembering Nereus, Explorer of Ocean Depths

    May 15, 2014 | 10 min
    The robotic deep-sea submersible Nereus was destroyed while diving over six miles beneath the surface in the Kermadec Trench.
  • SciFri: Should the Last Samples of Smallpox Virus Be Saved?

    May 15, 2014 | 12 min
    World health experts will meet to discuss whether or not to destroy the last live samples of smallpox virus.
  • SciFri: Science Goes to the Movies: 'Transcendence'

    May 8, 2014 | 27 min
    SciFri’s scientist-film critics weigh in on the science behind the Hollywood techno-thriller Transcendence.
  • SciFri: The Serious Science of Humor

    May 8, 2014 | 18 min
    Author Scott Weems lets us in on the jokes and uncovers the science of humor.
  • SciFri: What’s Shaking Up Oklahoma?

    May 8, 2014 | 8 min
    Earthquakes have increased by 50 percent in Oklahoma since 2013 and may be linked to drilling disposal wells.
  • SciFri: Young Blood Sharpens Memory in Old Mice

    May 8, 2014 | 13 min
    The blood of young mice seems to rejuvenate older mice, both strengthening their muscles and improving their ability to learn and remember.
  • SciFri: Another Climate Report, But Who's Listening?

    May 8, 2014 | 30 min
    The White House released its latest climate report this week, with much the same message as recent IPCC findings—climate change is real, and it's happening fast.
  • SciFri: Food Failures: Foraging Dos and Don'ts

    May 1, 2014 | 18 min
    Professional forager Tama Matsuoka Wong gives tips for picking wild plants safely and sustainably.
  • SciFri: App Chat: Apps to Mind Your Money

    May 1, 2014 | 18 min
    Forget balancing a checkbook. Today there are better ways for the budget-minded to keep track of bank balances.
  • SciFri: Forty Years of Mindbending Success with the Rubik’s Cube

    May 1, 2014 | 13 min
    The Rubik’s Cube has over 43 quintillion different starting combinations.
  • SciFri: Elephants Use Different 'Words' to Signal Danger

    May 1, 2014 | 12 min
    African elephants use different types of rumbles to signal danger from bees or humans.
  • SciFri: Male Researchers May Increase Stress in Lab Mice

    May 1, 2014 | 10 min
    The gender of a researcher might influence the stress levels of laboratory mice.
  • SciFri: Squarepusher Rocks with Bots

    May 1, 2014 | 18 min
    Electronic musician Squarepusher talks about writing Music for Robots.
  • SciFri: Nothing to Sneeze At

    May 1, 2014 | 8 min
    Sneezes and coughs generate gas clouds that can spread germs farther than previously imagined.
  • SciFri: Recording the Global Soundscape

    Apr 24, 2014 | 11 min
    Ecologist Bryan Pijanowski hopes to create a soundscape of every ecosystem on the planet.
  • SciFri: Serving Up the Origins of the Chicken and Chili Pepper

    Apr 24, 2014 | 18 min
    Scientists are combining genetics and linguistics to trace the origins of these staples of the modern-day menu.
  • SciFri: Is Aereo the Latest TV Technology Disruptor?

    Apr 24, 2014 | 13 min
    Is Aereo a high-tech TV game changer or a clever way to get around broadcast copyright law?

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