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Science Friday

Science Friday and WNYC Studios

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Science Friday

Science Friday

Science Friday and WNYC Studios

1.0K
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2.4K
Plays
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Brain fun for curious people.

Latest Episodes

Polling Science, Gar-eat Lakes. Jan 17, 2020, Part 1

The Science Of Polling In 2020 And Beyond In today’s fast-paced digital culture, it is more difficult than ever to follow and trust political polls. Campaigns, pollsters, and media outlets each say that their numbers are right, but can report different results. Plus, the 2016 election is still fresh in the public’s mind, when the major story was how political polling got it wrong. But despite how people may feel about the practice, the numbers suggest that polls are still working. Even as telephone survey response rates have fallen to around 5%, polling accuracy has stayed consistent, according to anew report publishedby the Pew Research Center. But things get even trickier when talking about online polls. So how can polling adapt to the way people live now, with texting, social media, and connecting online? And will the public continue to trust the numbers? Ira talks withCourtney Kennedy, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center about the science of polling in 2020 ...

47 MIN1 d ago
Comments
Polling Science, Gar-eat Lakes. Jan 17, 2020, Part 1

Biorobots, The Math Of Life, Science Comics. Jan 17, 2020, Part 2

Living Robots, Designed By Computer Researchers have used artificial intelligence methods to design ‘living robots,’ made from two types of frog cells. The ‘xenobots,’ named for theXenopusgenus of frogs, can move, push objects, and potentially carry materials from one place to another—though the researchers acknowledge that much additional work would need to be done to make the xenobots into a practical tool. The research waspublished in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Josh Bongard, a professor of computer science at the University of Vermont and co-author of the report, joins Ira to talk about designing cell-based structures and next steps for the technology. The Math Behind Big Decision Making What does it mean for your health if a cancer screening is 90% accurate? Or when a lawyer says there’s a 99% chance a defendant is guilty? We encounter numbers in our everyday lives that can influence how we make big decisions, but what do these numbers really tell ...

47 MIN1 d ago
Comments
Biorobots, The Math Of Life, Science Comics. Jan 17, 2020, Part 2

Migraines, Galaxy Formation. Jan 10, 2020, Part 2

The Mysteries Of Migraines What do sensitivity to light, a craving for sweets and excessive yawning have in common? They’re all things that may let you know you’re about to have a migraine. Of course each person’s experience of this disease—which impacts an estimated 38 million people in the U.S.—can be very different. One person may be sensitive to light while another is sensitive to sound. Your pain may be sharp like a knife while your friend’s may be dull and pulsating. Or perhaps you don’t have any pain at all, but your vision gets temporarily hazy or wiggly. This week Ira is joined by two migraine experts, Elizabeth Loder, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Peter Goadsby, professor of neurology at the University of California San Francisco, who explain what’s going on in the brain of a migraineur to cause such disparate symptoms. Plus, why some treatments work for some and not others, from acupuncture and magnesium supplements, to a new FDA...

46 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Migraines, Galaxy Formation. Jan 10, 2020, Part 2

Australia Fires, Great Lakes Book Club. Jan 10, 2020, Part 1

How Climate Change Is Fanning Australia’s Flames All eyes have been on Australia in recent weeks as the country’s annual summer fire season has spun out of control with devastating damage to endangered wildlife, homes, farms, indigenous communities, and—as smoke drifts across unburned major metropolitan centers like Sidney and Canberra—air quality. Vox reporter Umair Irfanandfire scientist Crystal Koldenexplain why climate scientists are pointing the finger squarely at climate change for contributing to the fires’ unique size and intensity.Plus, Australian climate scientistSarah Perkins-Kirkpatrickexplains why climate change has heightened the country’s naturally volatile weather patterns to make this the worst fire season in living memory. Science Friday Book Club’s Winter Read Plunges Into The Great Lakes Even on a clear day, you can’t see across Lake Michigan. The same is true of the other Great Lakes: Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. At average widths of 50 to 160 fee...

46 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Australia Fires, Great Lakes Book Club. Jan 10, 2020, Part 1

Geoengineering Climate Change, Tasmanian Tiger, New Water Plan. Jan 3, 2020, Part 1

In the context of climate change, geoengineering refers to deliberate, large-scale manipulations of the planet to slow the effects of human-induced global warming—whether by removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it safely, or altering the atmosphere to reflect the amount of incoming sunlight that is absorbed as heat. But neither strategy is uncomplicated to deploy. Carbon capture is expensive and is often used to enhance fossil fuel extraction, not to actually reduce emissions. Meanwhile, altering our atmosphere would require maintenance indefinitely until we actually reduce emissions—that, or risk a whiplash of warming that plants could not adapt to. UCLA researcher Holly Buck is the author of a new book that examines these complexities. She explains to Ira why geoengineering could still be a valid strategy for buying time while we reduce emissions, and why any serious deployment of geoengineering technology would require a re-imagining of society as well. Welcome to th...

46 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Geoengineering Climate Change, Tasmanian Tiger, New Water Plan. Jan 3, 2020, Part 1

Christmas Bird Count. Jan 3, 2020, Part 2

For many, the new year means looking back on the past accomplishments and checking off your goals. For birders, it means tallying up your species list and recording all the birds you’ve spotted in the season. Birders Corina Newsome and Geoff LeBaron, director of the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, guide us through the feathered friends flying overhead—from nuthatches to ducks to merlins.

46 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Christmas Bird Count. Jan 3, 2020, Part 2

2019 Year In Review. Dec 27 2019, Part 1

In 2019 we experienced some painful and heartbreaking moments—like the burning of the Amazon rainforest, a worldwide resurgence of measles cases, and the first ever deaths linked to vaping. Ira talks with this year’s panel of science news experts, Wendy Zukerman, Rachel Feltman, and Umair Irfan, live on stage at Caveat in New York City. Plus, as we turn the corner into 2020,Science Friday listeners weigh in with their picksfor the best science moment of the decade.

48 MIN3 w ago
Comments
2019 Year In Review. Dec 27 2019, Part 1

Looking Back at the Pale Blue Dot. Dec 27, 2019, Part 2

Few people could put the cosmos in perspective better than astronomer Carl Sagan. And that’s why we’re taking this opportunity to take another listen to this classic conversation with Sagan, recorded December 16, 1994, twenty-five years ago this month. Ira and Sagan talk about US space policy, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, the place of humans in the universe, and humanity’s need to explore.

47 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Looking Back at the Pale Blue Dot. Dec 27, 2019, Part 2

Emerging Technologies, Pokémon In The Brain, Colds And Flu. Dec 20, 2019, Part 1

Back when Science Friday began in 1991, the Internet, as we know it, didn’t even exist. While ARPA-NET existed and the first web pages began to come online, social media, online shopping, streaming video and music were all a long ways away. In fact, one of our early callers in 1993had a genius idea: What if you could upload your credit card number, and download an album you were interested in listening to? A truly great idea—just slightly before its time. In this segment, we’ll be looking ahead at the next 5 to 10 years of emerging technologies that are about to bubble up and change the world. Think, “metalenses,” tiny, flat chips that behave just like a curved piece of glass, or battery farms, which could transform our energy future. Scientific Americantechnology editor Sophie Bushwick helped put together the magazine’s special report, theTop 10 Emerging Technologies of 2019. She will be our guide through this techie future. How does a child’s brain dedicate entire regions f...

46 MIN2019 DEC 21
Comments
Emerging Technologies, Pokémon In The Brain, Colds And Flu. Dec 20, 2019, Part 1

Space Junk, Chronobiology, Mistletoe. Dec 20, 2019, Part 2

As more commercial companies are getting into the satellite launching game, space is becoming a crowded place and all of these objects are creating space debris. Right now, there are approximately 2,000 satellites floating in low-Earth orbit.Space agencies have estimated that are over 100 million small particles floating in low-Earth orbit, but there are no large scale projects to clean up these pieces of space trash. Aerospace engineer Moriba Jah and space archeologist Alice Gorman talk about framing the idea of space as another ecosystem of Earth and what environmental, cultural and political issues come along with cleaning up our space junkyard. Saturday’s Winter Solstice, which marks not just the arbitrary beginning of a season, but also the slow return of daylight to the Northern hemisphere. Or the coming decade, as many reflect back on everything that’s happened since 2010, and prepare to mark the beginning of 2020—a completely human invention. But there’s also an invisibl...

46 MIN2019 DEC 21
Comments
Space Junk, Chronobiology, Mistletoe. Dec 20, 2019, Part 2

Latest Episodes

Polling Science, Gar-eat Lakes. Jan 17, 2020, Part 1

The Science Of Polling In 2020 And Beyond In today’s fast-paced digital culture, it is more difficult than ever to follow and trust political polls. Campaigns, pollsters, and media outlets each say that their numbers are right, but can report different results. Plus, the 2016 election is still fresh in the public’s mind, when the major story was how political polling got it wrong. But despite how people may feel about the practice, the numbers suggest that polls are still working. Even as telephone survey response rates have fallen to around 5%, polling accuracy has stayed consistent, according to anew report publishedby the Pew Research Center. But things get even trickier when talking about online polls. So how can polling adapt to the way people live now, with texting, social media, and connecting online? And will the public continue to trust the numbers? Ira talks withCourtney Kennedy, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center about the science of polling in 2020 ...

47 MIN1 d ago
Comments
Polling Science, Gar-eat Lakes. Jan 17, 2020, Part 1

Biorobots, The Math Of Life, Science Comics. Jan 17, 2020, Part 2

Living Robots, Designed By Computer Researchers have used artificial intelligence methods to design ‘living robots,’ made from two types of frog cells. The ‘xenobots,’ named for theXenopusgenus of frogs, can move, push objects, and potentially carry materials from one place to another—though the researchers acknowledge that much additional work would need to be done to make the xenobots into a practical tool. The research waspublished in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Josh Bongard, a professor of computer science at the University of Vermont and co-author of the report, joins Ira to talk about designing cell-based structures and next steps for the technology. The Math Behind Big Decision Making What does it mean for your health if a cancer screening is 90% accurate? Or when a lawyer says there’s a 99% chance a defendant is guilty? We encounter numbers in our everyday lives that can influence how we make big decisions, but what do these numbers really tell ...

47 MIN1 d ago
Comments
Biorobots, The Math Of Life, Science Comics. Jan 17, 2020, Part 2

Migraines, Galaxy Formation. Jan 10, 2020, Part 2

The Mysteries Of Migraines What do sensitivity to light, a craving for sweets and excessive yawning have in common? They’re all things that may let you know you’re about to have a migraine. Of course each person’s experience of this disease—which impacts an estimated 38 million people in the U.S.—can be very different. One person may be sensitive to light while another is sensitive to sound. Your pain may be sharp like a knife while your friend’s may be dull and pulsating. Or perhaps you don’t have any pain at all, but your vision gets temporarily hazy or wiggly. This week Ira is joined by two migraine experts, Elizabeth Loder, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Peter Goadsby, professor of neurology at the University of California San Francisco, who explain what’s going on in the brain of a migraineur to cause such disparate symptoms. Plus, why some treatments work for some and not others, from acupuncture and magnesium supplements, to a new FDA...

46 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Migraines, Galaxy Formation. Jan 10, 2020, Part 2

Australia Fires, Great Lakes Book Club. Jan 10, 2020, Part 1

How Climate Change Is Fanning Australia’s Flames All eyes have been on Australia in recent weeks as the country’s annual summer fire season has spun out of control with devastating damage to endangered wildlife, homes, farms, indigenous communities, and—as smoke drifts across unburned major metropolitan centers like Sidney and Canberra—air quality. Vox reporter Umair Irfanandfire scientist Crystal Koldenexplain why climate scientists are pointing the finger squarely at climate change for contributing to the fires’ unique size and intensity.Plus, Australian climate scientistSarah Perkins-Kirkpatrickexplains why climate change has heightened the country’s naturally volatile weather patterns to make this the worst fire season in living memory. Science Friday Book Club’s Winter Read Plunges Into The Great Lakes Even on a clear day, you can’t see across Lake Michigan. The same is true of the other Great Lakes: Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. At average widths of 50 to 160 fee...

46 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Australia Fires, Great Lakes Book Club. Jan 10, 2020, Part 1

Geoengineering Climate Change, Tasmanian Tiger, New Water Plan. Jan 3, 2020, Part 1

In the context of climate change, geoengineering refers to deliberate, large-scale manipulations of the planet to slow the effects of human-induced global warming—whether by removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it safely, or altering the atmosphere to reflect the amount of incoming sunlight that is absorbed as heat. But neither strategy is uncomplicated to deploy. Carbon capture is expensive and is often used to enhance fossil fuel extraction, not to actually reduce emissions. Meanwhile, altering our atmosphere would require maintenance indefinitely until we actually reduce emissions—that, or risk a whiplash of warming that plants could not adapt to. UCLA researcher Holly Buck is the author of a new book that examines these complexities. She explains to Ira why geoengineering could still be a valid strategy for buying time while we reduce emissions, and why any serious deployment of geoengineering technology would require a re-imagining of society as well. Welcome to th...

46 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Geoengineering Climate Change, Tasmanian Tiger, New Water Plan. Jan 3, 2020, Part 1

Christmas Bird Count. Jan 3, 2020, Part 2

For many, the new year means looking back on the past accomplishments and checking off your goals. For birders, it means tallying up your species list and recording all the birds you’ve spotted in the season. Birders Corina Newsome and Geoff LeBaron, director of the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, guide us through the feathered friends flying overhead—from nuthatches to ducks to merlins.

46 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Christmas Bird Count. Jan 3, 2020, Part 2

2019 Year In Review. Dec 27 2019, Part 1

In 2019 we experienced some painful and heartbreaking moments—like the burning of the Amazon rainforest, a worldwide resurgence of measles cases, and the first ever deaths linked to vaping. Ira talks with this year’s panel of science news experts, Wendy Zukerman, Rachel Feltman, and Umair Irfan, live on stage at Caveat in New York City. Plus, as we turn the corner into 2020,Science Friday listeners weigh in with their picksfor the best science moment of the decade.

48 MIN3 w ago
Comments
2019 Year In Review. Dec 27 2019, Part 1

Looking Back at the Pale Blue Dot. Dec 27, 2019, Part 2

Few people could put the cosmos in perspective better than astronomer Carl Sagan. And that’s why we’re taking this opportunity to take another listen to this classic conversation with Sagan, recorded December 16, 1994, twenty-five years ago this month. Ira and Sagan talk about US space policy, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, the place of humans in the universe, and humanity’s need to explore.

47 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Looking Back at the Pale Blue Dot. Dec 27, 2019, Part 2

Emerging Technologies, Pokémon In The Brain, Colds And Flu. Dec 20, 2019, Part 1

Back when Science Friday began in 1991, the Internet, as we know it, didn’t even exist. While ARPA-NET existed and the first web pages began to come online, social media, online shopping, streaming video and music were all a long ways away. In fact, one of our early callers in 1993had a genius idea: What if you could upload your credit card number, and download an album you were interested in listening to? A truly great idea—just slightly before its time. In this segment, we’ll be looking ahead at the next 5 to 10 years of emerging technologies that are about to bubble up and change the world. Think, “metalenses,” tiny, flat chips that behave just like a curved piece of glass, or battery farms, which could transform our energy future. Scientific Americantechnology editor Sophie Bushwick helped put together the magazine’s special report, theTop 10 Emerging Technologies of 2019. She will be our guide through this techie future. How does a child’s brain dedicate entire regions f...

46 MIN2019 DEC 21
Comments
Emerging Technologies, Pokémon In The Brain, Colds And Flu. Dec 20, 2019, Part 1

Space Junk, Chronobiology, Mistletoe. Dec 20, 2019, Part 2

As more commercial companies are getting into the satellite launching game, space is becoming a crowded place and all of these objects are creating space debris. Right now, there are approximately 2,000 satellites floating in low-Earth orbit.Space agencies have estimated that are over 100 million small particles floating in low-Earth orbit, but there are no large scale projects to clean up these pieces of space trash. Aerospace engineer Moriba Jah and space archeologist Alice Gorman talk about framing the idea of space as another ecosystem of Earth and what environmental, cultural and political issues come along with cleaning up our space junkyard. Saturday’s Winter Solstice, which marks not just the arbitrary beginning of a season, but also the slow return of daylight to the Northern hemisphere. Or the coming decade, as many reflect back on everything that’s happened since 2010, and prepare to mark the beginning of 2020—a completely human invention. But there’s also an invisibl...

46 MIN2019 DEC 21
Comments
Space Junk, Chronobiology, Mistletoe. Dec 20, 2019, Part 2

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