Science Friday

Fridays 1-3 p.m.
  • Hosted by Ira Flatow

Covering the outer reaches of space to the tiniest microbes in our bodies, Science Friday is the trusted source for news about science, technology, and other cool stuff. Each week host Ira Flatow mixes it up with people in the know and those who want to be. It's brain fun, for curious people.

www.sciencefriday.com

This week a handful of scientists got the wakeup call of a lifetime: news they had won the Nobel Prize. This year's recipients predicted the existence of the Higgs boson, figured out how cells transport materials, and used computer programming to map chemical reactions. Winners and experts discuss the research behind this year's awards, and what comes next.

Baseball Postseason Predictions

Oct 11, 2013

Many baseball fans have a love affair with two things: their favorite team and statistics. Bruce Bukiet, an associate professor of mathematical sciences, shares his predictions and mathematical models for this year's Major League Baseball playoff standings.

Radio Rewind: Leon Lederman

Oct 4, 2013

Twenty years ago, physicist and Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman discussed the "malignancy" of the Standard Model of particle physics and how supercolliders could help refine the theory.

DIY Halloween Hacks

Oct 4, 2013

Trying to liven up your ghosts and goblins this Halloween? Windell Oskay, cofounder of Mad Evil Scientist, shares homemade hack ideas for a festive fright fest, from LED jack-o'-lanterns, to 3D printed candy, to spooky specimen jars.

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. According to the population institute, it took only 14 years, from 1999 to today, for the global population to increase by one billion people, just 14 years. Every four and a half days we add another million people. That's adding a city the size of Dallas. Is this sustainable? Can the population of the Earth continue to grow and still supply the people on it with the raw essentials they need, like food, housing, shelter?

Cracking Open Encryption Standards

Oct 4, 2013

Recent revelations about the extent of NSA surveillance have put even the standards by which encryption systems are designed into question. Encryption experts Matthew Green, Phillip Zimmerman, and Martin Hellman discuss what makes a code secure and the limits of privacy in the modern age.

Soil collected last year by the Mars rover Curiosity may contain two percent water, researchers report. Laurie Leshin of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute describes what else the rover is finding in the soil, and what that information might mean for future expeditions to Mars.

Les Paul: Inventor and Innovator

Sep 27, 2013

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow, broadcasting today from Madison, Wisconsin, with a question for our audience, Wisconsinites, Wisconsinians(ph), whatever you prefer.

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. We're here at the Wisconsin Science Festival at the Institute for Discovery in Madison and talking about a trip to America's dairy land, of course. Inevitably you're going to talk about food and fermentation. In the form of Wisconsin, it's famous for fermentation, one of the oldest ways of preserving food. It's also a way to get really unique flavors.

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. We're broadcasting from the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery in Madison, home this week of the Wisconsin Science Festival. Astronomers and astrophysicists have traditionally, for centuries, looked upwards to the sky to learn more about the universe. We've launched telescopes into space. We have sent probes beyond our solar system to study dark matter, colliding galaxies, how the planets formed.

Saving Wild Places in the 'Anthropocene'

Sep 27, 2013

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

We've been talking about the Stone Age but now we're living in what some scientists are calling the anthropocene. Maybe you've never heard of that word. It's a time where everything on the planet is touched by humans in some way, whether it's directly, like clear cutting forests or suppressing fires, or indirectly by the effects of climate change. Is this, as the environmentalist Bill McKibben wrote, oh, 20 years ago, is this the end of nature?

Transcript

JOHN DANKOSKY, HOST:

Now you've probably seen a cutaway section of a tree trunk, those rings inside? Well, they tell a story about the conditions the tree faced year after year. It turns out that whales contain a similar record inside their ears. Joining me now to talk about it are two researchers looking into this record. Stephen Trumble is an assistant professor of biology. Sascha Usenko is an assistant professor of environmental science. They're both at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Welcome to SCIENCE FRIDAY.

Birding the Fall Migration

Sep 20, 2013

September is peak season for the fall bird migration. Hummingbirds have already made the trip south while songbirds have been slow to move this year. Naturalist and author Kenn Kaufman shares tips on spotting different species and making your yard bird-friendly.

Science Fairs 2.0

Sep 20, 2013

The science fair is a nearly century-old right of passage for students. What role does the traditional science fair play in the digital age? How can these competitions be reworked to include broader participation and encourage students, and teachers, to explore hands-on learning?

Food Failures: When Home Canning Goes Wrong

Sep 13, 2013

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow.

(SOUNDBITE OF POP)

BILL: Ooh, there it goes. Cool.

(SOUNDBITE OF POP)

LINDA: Ooh, I love it.

(LAUGHTER)

LINDA: It makes me giggle every time.

FLATOW: Oh, they're happy people. They're Bill and Linda, two home cantors on YouTube. If you can your own pickles and salsas and jams, I'm sure you, too, know that satisfying popping sound as your jars cool.

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. I don't have to tell you that the southwest is in the midst of a record drought, some 14 years in the making, which means the water supply for many Western states - California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada - is drying up. Last month the Bureau of Reclamation announced they're cutting the flow of water into Lake Mead, which has already lost 100 feet of water since the drought began.

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. It's one of the most enduring questions in modern space exploration, a puzzle scientists have been trying to solve for years. Are we there yet? Where is the Voyager 1 spacecraft? Where is it right now in relationship to where we are?

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED SHOW)

FLATOW: Well, it's 11 billion miles out...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Voyager 1 will be leaving the region called the Helio...

FLATOW: Tell us where it is? How do you know that it's at the edge of our solar...

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