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

Undersea Rovers, Swimming Sperm, Teen Inventor, Soil Judging. Sep 23, 2022, Part 2

9/23/2022
Sperm Swim Together To Help Each Other Reach The Egg New research is complicating our understanding of how, exactly, sperm are able to reach eggs. The predominant theory is that sperm compete against each other, with the strongest swimmer fertilizing the egg. But a new study, using cow sperm, suggests that sperm might actually swim together, forming clusters to help each other swim upstream to reach the egg. Researchers created a device that has some of the features of a female...

Duration:00:49:01

Big Ideas In Physics, Saturn’s Rings, Soylent Green. Sep 23, 2022, Part 1

9/23/2022
Biden Declares The COVID-19 Pandemic Over. Is It? During an interview with 60 minutes last weekend, President Joe Biden said “the pandemic is over.” “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with covid, we’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one is wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape, “ Biden said at the Detroit auto show. This comment has prompted some dismay from the public health community. The World Health...

Duration:00:49:26

Artemis Update, Stellar Art, AI for Mammography, Smoky Grapes, Harvesting Water From Air. Sept 16, 2022, Part 2

9/16/2022
Pulling Water From Thin Air? It’s Materials Science, Not Magic. You’ve probably seen a magic trick in which a performer makes a playing card, coin, or even a rabbit appear out of thin air. Writing in the journal Nature Communications, researchers at UT Austin describe an experiment where they seem to pull water out of dry air—but it’s not magic, and it’s not a trick. Carefully applied materials science and engineering allows the team to extract as much as six liters of water per day from...

Duration:00:48:17

How Do Antidepressants Work, Genetic Testing For Depression. Sept 16, 2022, Part 1

9/16/2022
Why The Owner of Patagonia Gave Away The Whole Company Earlier this week, the founder and owner of Patagonia Yvon Chouinard—the company known for their famous puffer jackets and outdoor gear—gave away the whole company. Who’d he give it to? The Earth. “Hopefully this will influence a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end up with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people,” Chouinard told David Gelles for The New York Times. “We are going to give away the maximum amount of money to...

Duration:00:48:15

Fish Kills, Potential Sulfuric Acid Shortage, Goats for Invasives Control. Sep 9, 2022, Part 1

9/9/2022
COVID-19’s Lingering Toll On The Heart As new omicron-specific boosters against COVID-19 unroll in cities around the US, research is revealing more about the longterm consequences of even one infection with the SARS-CoV2 virus. Writing this week in Nature Medicine, a team of researchers from Germany describe finding long-lasting signs of heart disorders in the majority of recovered patients in their study group–even up to nearly a year later. FiveThirtyEight’s Maggie Koerth joins Ira to...

Duration:00:49:32

Remembering Frank Drake, History of Air Conditioning. Sep 9, 2022, Part 2

9/9/2022
The Hot And Cold Past Of The Air Conditioner In the Northeast, the leaves have started changing colors, heralding the season of pumpkins, sweaters, and the smell of woodsmoke. But in some parts of the country, the heat hasn’t let up. In cities like Dallas, Phoenix, and Miami, temperatures were up in the high 80s and low 90s this week—and with climate change, the U.S. is only getting hotter. But humans have come up with an ingenious way to keep the heat at bay: air conditioning. Widely...

Duration:00:58:09

New COVID Vaccines, “Nope” Creature, NJ Toxic Site, Germicidal Coating. Sep 2, 2022, Part 1

9/2/2022
New, Extra Protective COVID Vaccines Are On The Way Earlier this week, the FDA approved brand new COVID-19 vaccines from both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech that are designed to better protect people from the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants. At the same time, the U.S. is scaling back free testing and precautionary measures, putting more pressure on vaccines. Casey Crownhart, a climate and technology reporter at MIT Technology Review, joins Ira to talk about COVID updates and other science...

Duration:00:48:34

When Life Begins, Open Access Research, Wasps. Sep 2, 2022, Part 2

9/2/2022
Why Is It So Hard To Agree On When Human Life Starts? After decades of deliberations involving physicians, bioethicists, attorneys, and theologians, a U.S. presidential commission in 1981 settled on a scientifically derived dividing line between life and death that has endured, more or less, ever since: A person was considered dead when the entire brain—including the brainstem, its most primitive portion—was no longer functioning, even if other vital functions could be maintained...

Duration:00:48:37

Autistic Researchers Studying Autism, Canned Salmon Insights, Medieval Friars’ Parasites. August 26, 2022, Part 1

8/26/2022
California Accelerates Its Push For Electric Cars This week, air pollution regulators in California voted to phase out sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles, with a complete ban on gas car sales by 2035. The decision could have a larger impact on the automobile industry, however, as many states choose to follow California’s lead with regard to air quality and emissions decisions. Sophie Bushwick, technology editor at Scientific American, joins guest host Roxanne Khamsi to help unpack the...

Duration:00:48:24

Endangered Birds, Urban Wildlife, Lyme Disease Test, Rodent Social Behavior. August 26, 2022, Part 2

8/26/2022
Attracting Birds To Prime Habitat By Playing Recordings Of Their Calls How do you know a restaurant is good? If the parking lot is full of cars, that’s a pretty good indication. If it’s empty, you probably won’t bother stopping. In this case, the restaurant is a newly restored wetland in Michigan and the customers are rails. The birds migrate at night, so if they don’t hear other rail calls in an area, they’re not likely to stop. Researcher Dustin Brewer is broadcasting recorded rail calls...

Duration:00:48:21

How Viruses Shaped Our World, A Seagrass Oasis For Manatees. Aug 19, 2022, Part 1

8/19/2022
Will A Colorado River Drought Dry Up Energy Supplies? This week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, a federal agency that manages water in the Western U.S., started the process of cutting water use allotments along the Colorado River after seven states missed a deadline for coming up with their own reduction plan. The area has been under a long-running drought—and with water in demand for everything from drinking to agriculture to industry, and with the population of the area on the rise,...

Duration:00:48:51

Back-To-School Health Concerns, Artemis Moon Mission, Designing A Better Lanternfly Trap. August 19, 2022, Part 2

8/19/2022
Teen Innovator’s New AI Tool Helps Create Affordable Drugs The U.S. has some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world, which can push patients into bankruptcy over medications they cannot afford. More than three in four American adults think the prices of prescription drugs are unaffordable, prompting the Senate to recently pass a bill intended to help lower prescription drug costs for seniors. One young innovator set out to find his own solution. 17 year-old Rishab Jain...

Duration:00:48:31

New Prosthetic Arm, CAR T Cell Therapy, Climate Games. August 12, 2022, Part 2

8/12/2022
Some Grasses Can Stop Lead From Spreading In Soil Lead left behind in soil from mining and smelting poses a major health risk to people who live nearby. Researchers in Nebraska and Kansas believe plant life and organic material can limit lead’s spread. In parts of the Midwest where lead mining and smelting lasted for over a century, communities are still dealing with toxic waste left behind by the industry. Lead, a dangerous neurotoxin, persists in the environment, including in water and...

Duration:00:48:10

Insulin Price Plan, Monkeypox Facts, Milky Way Memoir. August 12, 2022, Part 1

8/12/2022
A Plan to Cap Insulin Prices May Not Be Helpful 30 million people in the U.S. live with diabetes, and access to insulin can be expensive. More than 1 in 5 people with private insurance pay more than $35 a month for this necessary medication. The U.S. Senate has a plan to cap insulin prices for certain diabetics, but critics say this plan would not help make insulin affordable for a majority of people. Plus, many people have been following the discoveries of the James Webb Space Telescope,...

Duration:00:48:59

Clean Energy Bill, Heatwave Infrastructure, Etana Teen Innovator. August 5th, 2022, Part 2

8/5/2022
What’s Inside A Sudden, Second Chance At A Climate Bill Last week, climate activists received a surprise gift from Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin. It turns out they had been in secret negotiations to put out a spending package that might tackle some of the same climate mitigation projects as last year’s failed Build Back Better initiative. The $369 billion dollars for climate mitigation in the Inflation Reduction Act covers tax credits for renewable energy, methane leak...

Cancer Vaccines, Planting Wildflowers, Eating Copi Fish. August 5th, 2022, Part 1

8/5/2022
White House Declares Monkeypox Outbreak A Public Health Emergency The Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency on Thursday. Earlier in the week the White House appointed Robert Fenton, regional administrator at FEMA to direct the federal government’s response to the monkeypox outbreak, along with a deputy director from the CDC. This comes after criticism from activists and public health experts, who have said that the federal government has been...

Alzheimer’s Research Fraud, Extreme Heat Health, Piping Plovers, Octaglove. July 29, 2022, Part 1

7/29/2022
Decades Of Alzheimer’s Research Could Be Based On Fraudulent Data Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating brain disorder that slowly affects memory and thinking skills. For many people who worry that loved ones may succumb to this disorder, the possibility of research in the field of Alzheimer’s is a balm of hope. However, a massive report from Science Magazine highlights a startling discovery: that decades of Alzheimer’s research are likely based on faulty data. Alzheimer's researchers are...

Duration:00:46:03

Fire Of Love Film, Accessible Tech, Vagina Book. July 29, 2022, Part 2

7/29/2022
For The Love Of Volcanoes A new documentary, “Fire of Love,” tells the story of French volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft. The married couple spent two decades chasing volcanic eruptions across the world. Katia was a geochemist and Maurice a geologist. Together, they studied the science of volcanoes and produced films showcasing their power. That is, until their deaths in 1991, when they were killed by the very thing they loved so much. Guest host Sophie Bushwick talks with Sara Dosa,...

Duration:00:50:18

Kahneman on ‘Noise,’ CHIPS Act, Great Salt Lake Dryness, Hybrid Toads. July 22, 2022, Part 2

7/22/2022
When Times Get Tough, These Toads Make Hybrid Babies Scientists have long thought that when two animals from two different species mate, it’s a colossal error and the end of the road for the mismatched couple. It’s called interspecies breeding, and many hybrid offspring often end up sterile, such as zonkeys —a cross between a zebra and donkey. Or they can develop serious health problems, like ligers and tigons. One biologist even went as far to call interspecies breeding “the grossest...

Duration:00:49:06

Global Heat Wave, Indigenous Peoples Genetic History, Heat-Adaptive Plants. July 22, 2022, Part 1

7/22/2022
Earth Faces A Global Heat Wave Temperatures are higher than normal for much of the planet this week—and while the heat wave in Europe has had much of the attention, over 100 million Americans in 28 states were under extreme heat advisories this week. Yasmin Tayag, a freelance science editor and writer based in New York, joins Ira to talk about the global heat wave and other stories from the week in science—including the president’s COVID diagnosis, an uptick in drug-resistant infections,...

Duration:00:48:08