Science Friday

Fridays from 2pm to 4pm
  • Hosted by Ira Flatow

Science Friday is a weekly science talk show, broadcast live over public radio stations nationwide. Each week is focused on science topics that are in the news. The show is dedicated to bringing an educated, balanced discussion to bear on the scientific issues at hand. Call 1-800-989-8255 to join the conversation.

This pressurized, skirt-like machine helps keep astronauts fit

2 hours ago
Courtesy of NASA 

Many engineers spend their entire careers focused on a single area of research — say, the design of airplane components. Then there's Christine Dailey: Put simply, she's not your average engineer. 

Dailey has explored everything from fluids to electronics and has built an exercise machine for astronauts. She has designed autonomous vehicles and much more (some of which she's not allowed to talk about), all while finishing her PhD at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and working as a mechanical engineer for the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC.

<a href="https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-white-smartphone-141362/">kote baeza</a>/<a href="https://www.pexels.com/photo-license/">CC BY 2.0 </a>(Image cropped).

Modern smartphones are full of sensors that can make the devices more intuitive — counting your steps, for example, or detecting when you’ve tilted your screen. But according to a new study published in the International Journal of Information Security, those features could come at a price: your security.

Sculpting The Unending Bloom

5 hours ago

Bringing ‘Genius’ To Television

5 hours ago
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/myfwcmedia/6871113503/">Tim Donovan/FWC</a>&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">CC BY-ND 2.0</a>&nbsp;(image cropped)

It's been seven years this month since a drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico (April 20, 2010), releasing millions of barrels of oil into the ocean from its damaged wellhead. It’s thought to be the worst offshore oil spill in US history; even months later, hot oil continued to gush from the well, while oil-covered birds and tar balls washed up on beaches. 

How to hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence

Apr 23, 2017
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/jiuguangw/8129557462/">Jiuguang Wang</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>&nbsp;(image cropped)

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence — known as SETI — got a boost in 2015, when philanthropist Yuri Milner announced plans to inject up to $100 million into the field over the next decade.

It was a rainy day in Washington, DC — but that didn’t stop thousands from gathering on the National Mall to voice their support for science.

The March for Science in Washington was one of nearly 500 marches around the world scheduled on April 22, 2017—Earth Day. Science Friday‘s Danielle Dana, Otherhood's Catherine Whelan and Lauren Owens Lambert from the GroundTruth Project were all on the ground to get a sense of what it was like.

Here are a few of their photos:

Studying splashes to learn more about how disease spreads

Apr 22, 2017

Lydia Bourouiba, an applied mathematician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studies sneezes at a level of detail most of us have never imagined — under bright lights, using advanced imaging technology.

“When you zoom in, parts of the clouds look like snowflakes,” she explains in Science Friday’s new video, “Breakthrough: Connecting the Drops.”

“It’s really beautiful.”

Tick season has begun. How much do you know about Lyme disease?

Apr 22, 2017
James Gathany/CDC

Spring is here, so here’s a quick test: How much do you know about Lyme disease, that tick-borne scourge?

Transmitted in the United States by tiny blacklegged ticks, Lyme can initially cause fatigue and flulike symptoms — and later on, even arthritis or short-term memory loss. But if you think that Lyme always arrives with a bull's-eye rash, read on.

“Actually, the majority of the skin lesions are uniformly round and red,” says John Aucott, director of the Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Bringing Rigor Back To Health Research

Apr 22, 2017

The noise of cities can harm our health but it can also make us more creative

Apr 19, 2017
<a href="http://www.lifeofpix.com/photo/traffic-jam/">Nabeel Syed</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/">Public Domain</a>

In March, the Department of Transportation created a visual showing the levels of airplane and traffic noise that blankets much of the US. According to the map, 97 percent of Americans could be exposed to transportation noise measuring around 35 to 50 decibels — about the loudness of a humming refrigerator.

(How loud is it where you live?)

The mathematician who’s using geometry to fight gerrymandering

Apr 16, 2017

After every new US census, states have to redraw their congressional districts to divide up their populations fairly. But in practice, these districts don’t always end up equal: Federal judges recently ordered Wisconsin lawmakers to redraw maps of the state’s legislative districts, after finding the districts had been shaped to favor Republican candidates.

The dinosaur family tree isn't quite what we thought it was

Apr 15, 2017

Since the 1880s, we’ve classified dinosaurs into two major groups, based on the shapes of their hips — the Saurischia are “lizard-hipped,” and the Ornithischia, “bird-hipped.”

Physics Is Untying Your Shoelaces

Apr 15, 2017

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