Science Friday-logo

Science Friday

WNYC

Brain fun for curious people.

Brain fun for curious people.

Location:

New York, NY

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

Brain fun for curious people.

Twitter:

@scifri

Language:

English

Contact:

(800) 989-8255


Episodes

Orange Bat, Greenland Bacteria, COVID Anniversary, Alien Argument. Jan 22, 2021, Part 2

1/22/2021
Orange Is The New Black—For Bats For a newly-described bat from West Africa, dubbed Myotis nimbaensis (mouse-eared bat from the Nimba Mountains), scientists are reaching for a different part of the color wheel. While Myotis does have some black on its body, the overwhelming majority of the bat’s fur is bright orange. A team of scientists from the American Museum of Natural History and Bat Conservation International stumbled on the new species while surveying populations of another...

Duration:00:47:28

Finding Lead Pipes Through Algorithm, How Soil Could Save The Planet. Jan 22, 2021, Part 1

1/22/2021
After Flint’s Crisis, An Algorithm Helps Citizens Find Lead Pipes It’s been nearly seven years since the beginning of Flint, Michigan’s water crisis, when high levels of lead from corroded lead pipes led to water shortages and health issues for city residents. Since then, many other cities around the country have had their own problems with lead. Researchers estimate that millions of Americans are living with pipes that need to be replaced. As Wired reported earlier this month, Toledo,...

Duration:00:48:20

Valley Fever And COVID-19, Structure of Conspiracy Theories, New Climate Wars. Jan 15, 2021, Part 2

1/15/2021
How The West Is Battling COVID-19 And Valley Fever For the past year, the COVID-19 crisis has taken up much of our attention. But the pandemic can come with complications: Some states face an onslaught of pre-existing diseases. In the American West, doctors, scientists, and patients continue to battle valley fever, a respiratory illness caused by breathing in the fungus Coccidioides. In desert hot spots, communities are now facing what doctors at Kern Medical’s Valley Fever Institute in...

Duration:00:47:27

How The COVID-19 Vaccine Was Developed And Is Being Distributed. Jan 15, 2021, Part 1

1/15/2021
How Did A Vaccine Get Developed In Less Than A Year? From the first discovery of a strange new respiratory virus in Wuhan, China, in January of 2020, it took less than a year to get a vaccine into the arms of frontline healthcare workers. More than two dozen vaccine candidates have made it from basic safety trials to Phase 3, where efficacy against COVID-19 is tested. That’s particularly remarkable as before the pandemic, it was rare for a vaccine to take fewer than 5 years from start to...

Duration:00:47:34

COVID Fact Check, Aging Cells, News Roundup. Jan 8, 2021, Part 1

1/8/2021
Fact Check My Feed: What’s Up With These COVID-19 Mutations? It’s a new year, and that means there’s a whole slew of new COVID-19 news to dive into, including an overwhelming amount of new information about vaccines and mutations. The U.S. has now administered roughly five million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, far behind the nation’s goal of vaccinating 20 million by the end of 2020. The two approved COVID-19 vaccines, one from Pfizer and one from Moderna, are intended to be given over the...

Duration:00:48:32

Fundamentals of Physics, Giant Ancient Birds, 2021 Space Outlook. Jan 8, 2021, Part 2

1/8/2021
Finding New Particles On The Frontier of Physics As a theoretical physicist, Frank Wilczek has made a career out of dreaming up new ways to understand our physical universe—and he’s usually right. In the early 1980’s, he predicted the existence of a new quasiparticle, called the anyon—which was confirmed in experiments last summer. In 2004, Wilczek was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution decades earlier to the theory of quantum chromodynamics. And in addition to the...

Duration:00:47:47

They Might Be Giants, Animal Sounds Quiz, Luxury Ostrich Eggs. Jan 1, 2021, Part 2

1/1/2021
They Might Be Giants With A Timely Reminder: “Science Is Real” Fans of the band They Might Be Giants are likely to be familiar with the band’s version of the 1959 Tom Glazer song “Why Does The Sun Shine?” As they sing, “The sun is a mass / of incandescent gas / a gigantic nuclear furnace.” In their album “Here Comes Science,” the band revisits that song, and follows it with a fact-checking track titled “Why Does the Sun Really Shine?” In the lyrics, they describe the science of plasma. The...

Duration:00:46:28

Christmas Bird Count, Black Birders Week, Science Diction: Vaccine. Jan 1, 2021, Part 1

1/1/2021
Where Did The Word ‘Vaccine’ Come From? As we head into 2021, there’s one word on all of our minds: Vaccine. It may be in headlines right and left these days, but the word was actually coined more than a century ago. In the 1700s, smallpox seemed unbeatable. People tried all sorts of things to protect themselves, from taking herbal remedies to tossing back 12 bottles of beer a day. Nothing worked. Then Edward Jenner, an English doctor, heard a rumor about a possible solution. It wasn’t a...

Duration:00:47:10

Indigenous Astronomy, Auroras, Inclusive Science. Dec 25, 2020, Part 2

12/25/2020
Nature’s Own Holiday Light Show The spectacular glowing green of the Northern Lights is caused by charged particles from the solar wind interacting with gas molecules, atoms, and ions in the atmosphere. Protons and electrons streaming from the sun follow the Earth’s magnetic field lines, accelerating down towards the poles. The aurora process is similar to a neon sign—the charged particles excite atmospheric gas, causing it to emit light. Don Hampton, research associate professor in the...

Duration:00:50:05

2020 In Review, Charismatic Tubeworms, Dog Evolution. Dec 25, 2020, Part 1

12/25/2020
2020: The Year In Science, With Wendy Zukerman It’s the end of the year, and time to reflect. While there’s no doubt the coronavirus and efforts to combat it led the science pages this year, there was more to this year than masks and hand sanitizer. Wendy Zukerman, host and executive producer of the Gimlet podcast Science Vs, joins Ira to talk about this very strange year, and recap some of the best science—from the rise of COVID-19, to climate change and wildfires, to the discovery of...

Duration:00:52:15

Black Holes, Scallop Die-off, River Sound Map. Dec 18, 2020, Part 2

12/18/2020
What Would Happen If You Fell Into A Black Hole? A new book, Black Hole Survival Guide, explores different theories of what would happen if you jumped into a black hole. Most of them are grizzly. As the reader traverses one of the great mysteries of the universe, they meet different fates. Author Janna Levin, a physics and astronomy professor at Barnard College at Columbia University in New York, makes a convincing argument that black holes are unfairly maligned—and are actually perfect in...

Duration:00:52:26

Future Of Climate Change, Tongue Microbiome. Dec 18, 2020, Part 1

12/18/2020
How The Past Hints About Our Climate’s Future Ask a climate scientist how much the earth will warm as a result of the carbon dioxide we’re emitting right now, and the answer will be a range of temperatures: likely anywhere from 1 to 5 degrees Celsius. But all the models we have to predict the future are based on data from the past, most of it collected in the last 140 years. As carbon dioxide rises further past the unprecedented-in-human-history 400 parts per million (ppm), we are...

Duration:00:48:42

Science Books of 2020, ANWR Drilling, Science Diction. Dec 11, 2020, Part 2

12/11/2020
Trump Administration Rushes To Sell Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Land For Drilling In a last-minute push, the Trump administration announced Thursday that it plans to auction off drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in just over a month, setting up a final showdown with opponents before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. The sale, which is set for Jan. 6, could cap a bitter, decades-long battle over whether to drill in the refuge’s coastal plain, and it would seal...

Duration:00:50:19

Vaccination Logistics, Europe’s Green Deal. Dec 11, 2020, Part 1

12/11/2020
COVID-19 Vaccinations Begin In The U.K. This week, the U.K. began its vaccination effort against COVID-19 with Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old woman from Coventry, becoming the first U.K. resident to receive the shot. She received a first dose of the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech, and will require a second dose in several weeks to achieve the full effect. Nations around the world are racing to implement vaccination programs. The clinical use of the vaccine in the U.K. came just six...

Duration:00:51:24

Virtual Worlds And Wildfire Health Effects. Dec 4, 2020, Part 2

12/4/2020
Science Friday’s Second Life: The Voyage Home Do you remember Second Life? That online virtual world where you can create an avatar, build whatever you want, and meet people? It was a hit in the late 2000s, quickly becoming a pop culture phenomenon. Within the first few years, an average of 38,000 users were logged in at any given time. Second Life was so big that Science Friday created a community there in 2007. We livestreamed our show in-world every Friday, and a huge community of...

Duration:00:50:57

David Attenborough, China’s Moon Mission, COVID Approved In U.K. Dec 4, 2020, Part 1

12/4/2020
David Attenborough Observes A Natural World In Crisis If you were to make a list of celebrities of the natural world, Sir David Attenborough would most likely make the cut. You probably know him from television series such as Life on Earth, The Secret Life of Plants, Living Planet, and so many more. Now, at age 94, he’s written a new book, A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and Vision for the Future, and filmed an accompanying Netflix documentary. The book and film talk about the...

Duration:00:50:04

Ig Nobel Prizes, Koji Alchemy. Nov 27, 2020, Part 2

11/27/2020
Laugh Along At Home With The Ig Nobel Awards We know traditions are different this year. Maybe you’re having a small family dinner instead of a huge gathering. Maybe you’re just hopping on a video call instead of going over the river and through the woods. At Science Friday, our holiday tradition of broadcasting highlights from the annual Ig Nobel Awards ceremony is different this year too. Rather than being recorded live in front of a cheering crowd at Harvard’s Sanders Theater, the...

Duration:00:50:14

Your Cheese’s Microbiome, COVID Reinfection Questions, Future Of Meat. Nov 27, 2020, Part 1

11/27/2020
Can You Get COVID-19 More Than Once? SciFri producer Elah Feder’s friend tested positive for antibodies a few months ago—but last month, she developed COVID-19 symptoms again. So far, only a handful of cases of COVID reinfection have been confirmed, but we don’t yet know the true rates. Cases could be missed if the first or second infection is asymptomatic, and sometimes, what looks like a case of reinfection is something else entirely. Over the past few months, we’ve seen both concerns...

Duration:00:49:48

Roman Mars, Disinformation, Ancient Female Big Game Hunters. Nov 20, 2020, Part 2

11/20/2020
Exploring The Invisible Architecture Of Cities With Roman Mars On a walk through your city or town, there are all sorts of sights and sounds to take in—big buildings, parks and patches of green space, roaring vehicles, and people strolling around. But according to Roman Mars, host of the 99% Invisible podcast, you need to look at the smaller, often unseen details to decode what’s really going on in the city. In the new book The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of...

Duration:00:53:03

Famous Arecibo Observatory Decommissioned, Biden’s Climate Change Plan. Nov 20, 2020, Part 1

11/20/2020
Puerto Rico's Famous Arecibo Observatory Decommissioned The astronomical observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, has been standing since 1963. It has weathered hurricanes, earthquakes, and time itself. But in August, a large cable—holding up one of three towers that help suspend the telescope’s 900-ton receiver platform above the collecting dish—slipped out of its socket. It fell into the dish below, leaving a trail of broken panels. One broken cable seemed like a fixable problem, but in...

Duration:00:48:18