Science Friday

Science Friday


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Customizing Your Cryptocurrency With Altcoins

    May 22, 2014 | 11 min
    ZeroCash, Litecoin, and SolarCoin are digital currency alternatives to Bitcoin.
  • 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: The Debate Over Net Neutrality

    May 22, 2014 | 18 min
    What does the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality plan mean for consumers?
  • 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: Listening In on Seizures

    May 15, 2014 | 1 min
    A “brain stethoscope” turns seizure patients’ brainwaves into music.
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: Squarepusher Rocks with Bots

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

    May 1, 2014 | 8 min
    Sneezes and coughs generate gas clouds that can spread germs farther than previously imagined.
  • SciFri: Thoreau, Climate Scientist

    Apr 24, 2014 | 13 min
    Scientists use Henry David Thoreau’s notes to study climate change at Walden Pond.
  • SciFri: The Science Club Talks Art Machines

    Apr 24, 2014 | 18 min
    The Science Club meets to recap the month’s ‘Build an Art Machine’ project.
  • SciFri: Can We Game Our Way to Better Health?

    Apr 24, 2014 | 25 min
    Gamers and scientists join forces to develop “serious games” to improve health.
  • 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?
  • SciFri: Amir Aczel: 'Why Science Does Not Disprove God'

    Apr 17, 2014 | 17 min
    Aczel's latest book chronicles the New Atheist movement, taking aim at scientists like Richard Dawkins.
  • SciFri: How a Warming Planet Will Change What's on Your Plate

    Apr 17, 2014 | 22 min
    Climate change has already cut yields of wheat and corn, taking a bite out of gains achieved by better farming technology.
  • SciFri: Spotting Earth's Cousin in the Cosmos

    Apr 17, 2014 | 8 min
    Astronomers have found a planet about the size of Earth, far enough from its star to host liquid water.
  • SciFri: The Sticky Science Behind Maple Syrup

    Apr 17, 2014 | 13 min
    Plant physiologist Abby van den Berg traces how maple sap flows through trees and onto your plate.
  • SciFri: Discovering Your Inner Fish

    Apr 17, 2014 | 18 min
    Evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin takes us through the evolutionary story of how the human body evolved from our fish and reptilian ancestors.
  • SciFri: E.O. Wilson: ‘A Window on Eternity’

    Apr 17, 2014 | 18 min
    E.O. Wilson discusses the recovery and biodiversity of Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park.
  • SciFri: Scientists Study Vole Romance Under the Influence

    Apr 10, 2014 | 12 min
    To learn how alcohol affects relationships, scientists mix prairie voles a drink.
  • SciFri: Busting Bad Bacteria With Their Viral Enemies

    Apr 10, 2014 | 18 min
    Phages added to packaged beef or spinach could cut down on E. coli bacteria outbreaks.
  • SciFri: Up Close With the Lunar Eclipse

    Apr 10, 2014 | 17 min
    The lunar eclipse on Tuesday, April 15, will be visible from all over North and South America.
  • SciFri: With Her Kids' Help, Jean Craighead George’s ‘Ice Whale’ Sees Print

    Apr 10, 2014 | 17 min
    The final novel from My Side of the Mountain author Jean Craighead George takes children underneath the Arctic Ocean.
  • SciFri: Bill Nye Stops By

    Apr 10, 2014 | 13 min
    Bill Nye stops by to chat about teaching science, launching solar sails into space, and more.
  • SciFri: Reawakening Limbs After Years of Paralysis

    Apr 10, 2014 | 18 min
    Paraplegics were able to stand and move their legs again with the help of a spinal implant.
  • SciFri: The Origins of Violence

    Apr 3, 2014 | 35 min
    An anthropologist, a psychologist, and a crime writer ask: Are humans hard-wired for violence?
  • SciFri: How Will Russian-U.S. Politics Affect Our Relationship in Space?

    Apr 3, 2014 | 13 min
    NASA suspended a majority of its communications with Russia in response to the conflict in Crimea.
  • SciFri: Inside Insight: Clearing and Staining Fish

    Apr 3, 2014 | 7 min
    Clearing and staining gobies, stingrays, and sharks has revealed to scientist Adam Summers critical data, as well as the beauty of each fish’s unique form.
  • SciFri: Diving Into the Underground Ocean of One of Saturn’s Moons

    Apr 3, 2014 | 13 min
    Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons, may have an underground ocean the size of Lake Superior.
  • SciFri: Sir Roger Penrose: Cosmic Inflation Is ‘Fantasy’

    Apr 3, 2014 | 28 min
    What's wrong with modern physics—and could alternative theories explain our observations of the universe?
  • SciFri: Racing Towards Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars

    Mar 27, 2014 | 9 min
    Toyota plans to release a hydrogen fuel cell car in California by 2015.
  • SciFri: Engineering Life Through Synthetic Biology

    Mar 27, 2014 | 23 min
  • SciFri: Movie Night for Scientists

    Mar 27, 2014 | 12 min
    Movie theaters and scientists pair up to present a National Evening of Science on Screen.
  • SciFri: The Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plains—of Iowa

    Mar 27, 2014 | 9 min
    Texas and California dominate the U.S. in wind power generation—but Iowa isn't far behind.
  • SciFri: Robot Builders with Bugs for Brains

    Mar 27, 2014 | 18 min
    The bugs meet the bots in the world of swarm robotics.
  • SciFri: Dwarf Planet Found at the Edge of the Solar System

    Mar 27, 2014 | 12 min
    Dwarf planet 2012 VP-113 takes approximately 4,000 years to orbit the sun once.
  • SciFri: Join the Science Club: Build an Art Machine

    Mar 27, 2014 | 12 min
    Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Build a machine that can make art.
  • SciFri: A Bird-Like ‘Chicken From Hell’ Dino Discovery

    Mar 20, 2014 | 9 min
    Anzu wyliei was a toothless, bird-like dinosaur that weighed 500 pounds.
  • SciFri: Detecting the ‘Bang’ from the Big Bang

    Mar 20, 2014 | 30 min
    Researchers detected waves coming just after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago.
  • SciFri: Scientists Test What the Nose Knows

    Mar 20, 2014 | 10 min
    A new study claims the human nose can distinguish one trillion unique smells.
  • SciFri: Food Failures: Knead-to-Know Science Behind Bread

    Mar 20, 2014 | 23 min
    America's Test Kitchen editorial director Jack Bishop talks about the science behind a perfect loaf.
  • SciFri: Sculpting Science

    Mar 20, 2014 | 16 min
    Paleo-artist John Gurche and paleoanthropologist Rick Potts discuss the intersection between art and science.
  • SciFri: Digital Gets Physical

    Mar 20, 2014 | 9 min
    Students in MIT’s Tangible Media Group break down the barriers of graphic interfaces and allow users to touch and manipulate pixels in real life.
  • SciFri: SciFri’s Winter Nature Photo Contest Winner...Revealed!

    Mar 13, 2014 | 11 min
    Winter Nature Photo Contest judge John Weller discusses your top shots.
  • SciFri: Three Years After the Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown

    Mar 13, 2014 | 13 min
    Three out of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daichii nuclear power plant suffered a meltdown.
  • SciFri: Could a Blood Test Help Diagnose Alzheimer’s?

    Mar 13, 2014 | 11 min
    In a preliminary study, researchers identified 10 lipids in the blood that correlated with an increased risk for Alzheimer’s.
  • SciFri: Celebrating Irrational, Transcendental Pi

    Mar 13, 2014 | 27 min
    As we celebrate Pi Day, mathematician Steven Strogatz talks about how the ancients calculated pi—and how you can do it at home.
  • SciFri: EncROACHment: New York’s Invasive Cockroaches

    Mar 13, 2014 | 10 min
    Rutgers University entomologists unravel clues to identify a new invasive roach species in New York City.
  • SciFri: As the Web Turns 25, Where Is It Going Next?

    Mar 13, 2014 | 26 min
    We celebrate the web’s 25th birthday with an archival clip of Tim Berners-Lee, the web’s inventor, and take a look ahead with Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Center.
  • SciFri: ‘Particle Fever’ Captures the Excitement of the Higgs Discovery

    Mar 6, 2014 | 25 min
    Particle Fever takes filmgoers behind the scenes of physics’ big breakthrough: the discovery of the Higgs Boson.
  • SciFri: Delving Into the Security of an Internet of Things

    Mar 6, 2014 | 18 min
    As more devices come online, is enough attention being given to security and privacy?
  • SciFri: Battling HIV, Using a Body’s Own Immune Cells

    Mar 6, 2014 | 12 min
    Researchers are exploring a new approach to fighting HIV infection by genetically modifying a person’s own immune cells to be resistant to the virus.
  • SciFri: Where Do Sea Turtles Go During Their ‘Lost Years’?

    Mar 6, 2014 | 17 min
    Biologists crack the case of sea turtles’ “lost years” with a little help from a nail salon technician.
  • SciFri: Michio Kaku Imagines ‘The Future of the Mind’

    Mar 6, 2014 | 23 min
    In "The Future of the Mind," physicist Michio Kaku predicts big advances for our brains.
  • SciFri: A 10,000-Year Stopover En Route to the New World

    Feb 27, 2014 | 8 min
    The ancestors of Native Americans may have lived for millennia on the Bering land bridge before fanning out across the Americas.

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