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Science Friday

WNYC

Brain fun for curious people.

Brain fun for curious people.

Location:

New York, NY

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WNYC

Description:

Brain fun for curious people.

Twitter:

@scifri

Language:

English

Contact:

(800) 989-8255


Episodes

COVID In Prisons, How Sperm Swim. July 31, 2020, Part 2

7/31/2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread, it’s become clear certain populations are particularly at risk—including those serving sentences in prisons and jails. The virus has torn through correctional and detention centers across the U.S., with more than 78,000 incarcerated people testing positive for COVID-19 as of July 28, according to the Marshall Project’s data report. “Prisons are just the worst possible environment if we are trying to reduce infectious disease,” Zinzi Bailey told SciFri...

Duration:00:48:31

Science In Space, Sports and COVID, Science Diction. July 31, 2020, Part 1

7/31/2020
Astronauts have conducted all sorts of experiments in the International Space Station—from observations of microgravity on the human to body to growing space lettuce. But recently, cosmonauts bioengineered human cartilage cells into 3D structures aboard the station, using a device that utilizes magnetic levitation. The results were recently published in the journal Science Advances. Electrical engineer Utkan Demirci and stem cell biologist Alysson Muotri what removing gravity can reveal...

Duration:00:48:41

SciFri Extra: The Origin Of The Word 'Ketchup'

7/28/2020
Science Diction is back! This time around, the team is investigating the science, language, and history of food. First up: Digging into America's favorite condiment, ketchup! At the turn of the 20th century, 12 young men sat in the basement of the Department of Agriculture, eating meals with a side of borax, salicylic acid, or formaldehyde. They were called the Poison Squad, and they were part of a government experiment to figure out whether popular food additives were safe. (Spoiler: Many...

Duration:00:19:10

Three Missions To Mars, COVID Fact Check, Solar Probes. July 24, 2020, Part 1

7/24/2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, your news feed is likely still overflowing with both breaking research and rumors. Virologist Angela Rasmussen of Columbia University joins Ira once again to Fact Check Your Feed, discussing everything from two vaccine trials’ hopeful early results to what antibody production might mean for long-term protection against the COVID-19 virus. They also discuss kids’ response to SARS-CoV-2—a topic of great interest to parents and educators trying to make plans...

Duration:00:50:54

Long-Term COVID Effects, Dicamba and Agriculture, Mosquitoes. July 24, 2020, Part 2

7/24/2020
Since the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals have been treating and triaging an influx of COVID-19 patients. Hundreds of thousands of seriously ill patients have been hospitalized, with some having to stay and receive care for months at a time. But now as some of those patients return home, hospitals are opening post-COVID clinics to help with their transition. Health care professionals are monitoring the recovery process and taking note of persisting health issues from the...

Duration:00:47:27

How Brains Organize Smells, Plant Evolution In Art, New Hearing Aids. July 17, 2020, Part 2

7/17/2020
How we smell has been a bit of a mystery to scientists. Other senses are easier to understand: For example, it’s possible to predict what a color will look like based on its wavelength. But predicting what a new molecule will smell like is more difficult. Our sense of smell can be quite complex. Take the delicious smell of morning coffee—that aroma is made up of more than 800 individual molecules. How does our brain keep track of the millions of scents that we sniff? To find out, a group...

Duration:00:48:07

Coronavirus And Schools, New Mars Rover. July 17, 2020, Part 1

7/17/2020
As we approach August, many of our young listeners and their parents are starting to think about going back to school. Usually, that might mean getting new notebooks and pencils, and the excitement of seeing classmates after a summer apart. But COVID-19 makes this upcoming school year different. Big districts, including Los Angeles and San Diego public schools, will be completely remote this fall. Other districts are looking at hybrid programs, with some time in the classroom and some at...

Duration:00:48:32

Great Indoors, Science Museums, Who Owns The Sky. July 10, 2020, Part 2

7/10/2020
A whole lot of folks’ summer plans have been cut short this season. Maybe you were planning a family road trip to visit a national park. Or your local science museum. Now, you can watch from home, as Emily Graslie, executive producer, host, and writer for the PBS series “Prehistoric Road Trip,” takes us along for the ride to some of the big geologic sites across the country. She talks about the future of museums and science communication. “Prehistoric Road Trip” is currently streaming on...

Duration:00:46:47

Degrees of Change: Changing Behavior. July 10, 2020, Part 1

7/10/2020
Over the past months, our Degrees of Change series has looked at some of the many ways our actions affect the climate, and how our changing climate is affecting us—from the impact of the fashion industry on global emissions to the ways in which coastal communities are adapting to rising tides. But beyond the graphs and figures, how do you get people to actually take action? And are small changes in behavior enough—or is a reshaping of society needed to deal with the climate crisis? Climate...

Duration:00:46:05

Summer Science Books, Naked Mole Rats. July 3, 2020, Part 2

7/3/2020
The pandemic has nixed many summer vacation plans, but our summer science book list will help you still escape. While staying socially distant, you can take a trip to the great outdoors to unlock the mysteries of bird behaviors. Or instead of trekking to a museum, you can learn about the little-known history of lightbulbs, clocks, and other inventions. Our guests Stephanie Sendaula and Sarah Olson Michel talk with Ira about their favorite science book picks for summer reading. Naked mole...

Duration:00:47:35

Making The Outdoors Great For Everyone. July 3, 2020, Part 1

7/3/2020
It’s the start to a holiday weekend, which often means spending time outdoors, whether that’s going to the beach, on a hike, or grilling in a park. But not everyone feels safe enjoying the great outdoors—and we’re not talking about getting mosquito bites or sunburns. In late May, a white woman, Amy Cooper, called the police on a Black bird watcher who asked her to leash her dog. This incident felt familiar to many other Black outdoor enthusiasts, many of whom had encountered similar...

Duration:00:48:19

Honeybee Health, Assessing COVID Risk, Seeing Numbers. June 26, 2020, Part 2

6/26/2020
This past year was a strange one for beekeepers. According to a survey from the nonprofit Bee Informed Partnership, U.S. beekeepers lost more than 40% of their honey bee colonies between April of 2019 and April of 2020. That’s significantly more than normal. The Bee Informed Partnership has surveyed professional and amateur beekeepers for the past 14 years to monitor how their colonies are doing. They reach more than 10% of beekeepers in the U.S., so their survey is thought to be a pretty...

Duration:00:46:35

Checking In On Kids’ Mental Health During the Pandemic. June 26, 2020, Part 1

6/26/2020
In the U.S., we’re heading into the fourth month of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing and lockdowns have taken a toll on everyone’s mental and emotional well-being—including children and teens, many of whom may be having trouble processing what’s going on. Psychologists Archana Basu and Robin Gurwitch discuss the unique issues the pandemic brings up for children and teens. They talk about how parents and caregivers can support the mental health of the kids and teens in their lives,...

Duration:00:46:35

SciFri Extra: A Pragmatic Wishlist For AI Ethics

6/24/2020
Earlier this month, three major tech companies publicly distanced themselves from the facial recognition tools used by police: IBM said they would stop all such research, while Amazon and Microsoft said they would push pause on any plans to give facial recognition technology to domestic law enforcement. And just this week, the city of Boston banned facial surveillance technology entirely. Why? Facial recognition algorithms built by companies like Amazon have been found to misidentify people...

Duration:00:16:44

Facial Recognition, Hummingbird Vision, Moon Lander. June 19, 2020, Part 2

6/19/2020
Protests Shine Light On Facial Recognition Tech Problems Earlier this month, three major tech companies publicly distanced themselves from the facial recognition tools used by police. IBM CEO Arvind Krishna explained their company's move was because of facial recognition’s use in racial profiling and mass surveillance. Facial recognition algorithms built by companies like Amazon have been found to misidentify people of color, especially women of color, at higher rates—meaning when police...

Duration:00:47:10

Doctor Burnout, International Doctors. June 19, 2020, Part 1

6/19/2020
A Crisis Of Health In Healthcare Workers Content Warning: This segment contains talk of suicide. For help for people considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 Depression and anxiety are extremely common in healthcare workers, and they have higher rates of suicide than the general public—doctors in particular are twice as likely to die by suicide. That’s when the world is operating normally. Now, healthcare workers are also dealing with a devastating...

Duration:00:48:04

Proactive Policing, The Social Brain. June 12, 2020, Part 2

6/12/2020
In the 1980s and 1990s, in the midst of rising crime rates and a nationally waning confidence in policing, law enforcement around the country adopted a different approach to addressing crime. Instead of just reacting to crime when it happened, officers decided they’d try to prevent it from happening in the first place, employing things like “hot spots” policing and “stop and frisk,” or “terry stops.” The strategy is what criminologists call proactive policing, and it’s now become widely used...

Duration:00:49:38

Anthony Fauci On The Pandemic’s Future. June 12, 2020, Part 1

6/12/2020
During the pandemic, immunologist Anthony Fauci has gained fame as “America’s doctor.” He’s a leading scientist in the government’s response to COVID-19, and a celebrated teller of truths—uncomfortable as they may be—like how long the world may have to wait for a vaccine, or the lack of evidence for using the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients. He’s also not new to public health crises created by new pathogens. If history is any indicator, it is not a matter of if, but...

Duration:00:49:19

Breast Cancer Cultural History, Butterfly Wings. June 5, 2020, Part 2

6/5/2020
‘Radical’ Explores The Hidden History Of Breast Cancer Nearly 270,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, along with a couple thousand men. But the disease manifests in many different ways, meaning few patients have the same story to tell. Journalist Kate Pickert collects many of those stories in her book Radical: The Science, Culture, and History of Breast Cancer in America. And one of those stories is her own. As she writes about her own journey with breast cancer, Pickert...

Duration:00:46:33

Police Behavior Research, Dermatology In Skin Of Color, Coffee Extraction. June 5, 2020, Part 1

6/5/2020
This week, the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black Americans by police brutality and racial inequality continue to fuel demonstrations around the nation. In many cities, police are using tear gas, rubber bullets, and other control tactics on protesters. A history of 50 years of research reveals what makes a protest safe for participants and police alike. The findings show that police response is what makes the biggest difference: de-escalating and building trust...

Duration:00:49:46