Science & Technology

Science news

Aminatou Sow

Note: This program is a rebroadcast.

About five years ago, Aminatou Sow was working for a technology company in Washington D.C. and came across an article detailing how few women work in tech. The statistic did not match her personal experience as she knew of a number of women working in tech-related fields, from NASA to the National Security Agency.

Try these backyard science projects with your kids this summer

Jun 20, 2016
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Albert Gea/Reuters

School might be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean the science fun needs to stop. There are experiments that kids can try in the backyard all summer long.

Inside the minds of zoo animals

Jun 19, 2016
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Steve Harris/Flickr

Among the many reactions to this month's killing of Harambe, the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, is a question: Can animals, especially smart ones like gorillas, ever be truly happy in zoos?

Terry Maple, a professor of comparative psychobiology at Florida Atlantic University, and the former director of the Atlanta and Palm Beach zoos, has built a career on trying to understand animals and improve their environments. 

When he saw the video of Harambe with a toddler at the Cincinnati Zoo, he says he thought he could tell what Harambe might have been thinking. 

The Ant Man

Jun 14, 2016
photo of Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith

The trail of ants across the kitchen counter may be a nuisance to some, but to biologist Adrian Smith, it is a fascinating phenomenon full of mystery. Smith studies the evolution of different ants and their social patterns. He also films the insects to document their intriguing characteristics.

How we react to vocal fry in music depends on the gender of the singer

Jun 13, 2016
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Alessia Pierdomenico/Reuters

Vocal fry, a speech pattern that is characterized by a throaty, low register, has become an increasingly popular topic of conversation. That creaky sound can be heard in pop music from artists like Britney Spears and Enrique Iglesias. Unsure of how to create vocal fry? 

“You just have to try talking like a Kardashian and see what comes out of that,” says vocalogy researcher at the University of Texas San Antonio Mackenzie Parrott. 

Still not sure what it sounds like? 

Could brain infection set the stage for Alzheimer’s?

Jun 13, 2016
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Doctor Jana/Creative Commons

One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is the buildup of the protein amyloid-beta in the brain. Several years ago neurobiologist Rob Moir began wondering about the function of amyloid-beta. Surely it couldn’t just be junk, gumming up the brain? His studies on this protein may be overturning some 30 years of assumptions about what causes Alzheimer’s. 

Moir first began wondering about amyloid-beta over Friday night drinks at a bar. 

How your phone could help scientists detect and measure an earthquake

Jun 12, 2016
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David Moir/Reuters

Developers are creating apps that can tap into the sensors in your smart device to measure different aspects of your environment, such as your number of footsteps or your heartbeat. And now there’s an app to measure your surrounding seismic activity.

Seismologist Richard Allen, who worked to develop MyShake, says the app uses the sensing abilities already built into smartphones. 

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