Science Friday

Friday 2 p.m.
  • Hosted by Ira Flatow

Ira Flatow hosts a weekly talk show about science.

The kilogram is getting a new look

14 hours ago
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<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MassStandards_005.jpg">National Institute of Standards and Technology</a>

For over a century, we’ve been using the same object to define the kilogram: a pingpong-ball-size chunk of platinum-iridium kept in Paris under lock and key. That will soon change.

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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/7163119505/in/album-72157623343484405/">NASA/Kathryn Hansen</a>. <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>&nbsp;(image cropped)

It’s 2017. What does a scientist look like?

If the first image that popped into your head was an older man with frizzy hair and a white lab coat, surrounded by bubbling test tubes, you’re not wrong — the Einsteinlike “mad scientist” is still a prevailing image in popular culture.

Does your sunscreen make the grade?

Jul 22, 2017
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<a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/mNCFOaaLu5o">David Lezcano</a> via <a href="https://unsplash.com/license">Unsplash</a>.&nbsp;

In the United States, sunscreen use is on the rise — but so are skin cancer cases. What’s going on?

As it turns out, it could come down to the types of sunscreen we’re using. In a recent test of nearly 1,500 sunscreens, moisturizers and lip balms that advertised sun protection, scientists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that 73 percent of the products don’t provide the protection consumers think they’re getting, or they contain questionable ingredients.

Particles Behaving Badly

Jul 22, 2017

Can We Pay People To Save The Rainforest?

Jul 22, 2017

Tired of sweating over the stove? Try cooking with science this summer.

Jul 21, 2017

It’s the height of summer, and nothing sounds less appetizing than sweating over the stove to cook a meal. No one would blame you for turning to a diet of ice cream, salad and sandwiches — but with the help of science, you can expand your culinary horizons even further.

As Jeff Potter, author of "Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food," explains, there are plenty of ways to dehydrate, acid bathe and salt preserve your way to a delicious meal, sans oven.

In California, solar power is booming: The state leads the nation in solar production, and for a brief period on March 11, California pulled nearly 40 percent of its electricity from the sun.

Instead of heading to the doctor for a painful flu shot, what if you could someday vaccinate yourself at home — just by applying a patch to your skin?

Researchers at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology are working to make that a reality. They’ve developed a small, bandagelike patch that can dispense a flu vaccine into your skin using a hundred or so microneedles. Its creators described the first human trials recently in The Lancet.

Are We Facing Electrical Gridlock?

Jul 15, 2017

A Peek Into The Sex Lives Of Algae

Jul 15, 2017

Creating The Perfect Ice Cube

Jul 15, 2017

Buzz over the Chukchi Sea in a helicopter in early spring, and there’s little to see but sky and ice. That is, until your eye catches the maze of polar bear tracks threading across the ice in some areas. The sea, which stretches between northwestern Alaska and northeastern Russia, is home to one of the Arctic’s 19 distinct polar bear populations.

Kepler turns up a trove of new exoplanets

Jul 10, 2017
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NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists behind NASA's Kepler K2 mission recently unveiled hundreds of new planet candidates for NASA’s exoplanet catalog, including 10 that could be rocky planets in the "just right" Goldilocks zone of their stars.

Is marijuana a secret weapon against the opioid epidemic?

Jul 9, 2017
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Blair Gable/Reuters

As US Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a crowd of federal, state and local law enforcement in March, the country “is in the throes of a heroin and opioid epidemic.” According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription opioid and heroin overdoses kill 91 Americans each day.

A Mathy Makeover For The Kilogram

Jul 8, 2017

Climate change is coming to your coffee cup

Jul 6, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mmmavocado/11488151544/">Malcom Manners</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>

When it comes to coffee, Ethiopia is sacred ground.

It’s the home of Coffea arabica — one of the most popular species of coffee bean. And in Ethiopia, coffee is a major part of the economy: It makes up about a quarter of the country’s export earnings, and around 15 million farmers make a living farming the crop.

The key to eating more veggies? Trick your brain.

Jul 2, 2017
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<a href="https://pixabay.com/en/tomatoes-tomato-harvest-healthy-1569280/">hansbenn</a>/<a href="https://pixabay.com/en/service/terms/#usage">CC</a><a href="http://pixabay.com/en/service/terms/#usage">&nbsp;BY 2.0 (image cropped)</a>

If you’ve ever scanned a restaurant menu and found yourself torn between the “sizzling grilled sirloin” and the healthy option, “8-oz sirloin steak,” you’re not alone. The healthier one doesn’t sound nearly as mouthwatering, does it?

What theoretical physics says about the future of our government

Jul 2, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/djc/15870725062/">Diego Cambiaso</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>&nbsp;(image cropped)

We’ve all heard campaigning politicians — especially those who want to be president of the United States — say that if elected, they’ll fix what’s wrong in Washington. But what if the tangle of issues faced by our government is just too complex for one person to manage?

Take a dazzling new peek at Jupiter

Jul 1, 2017
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<a href="https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam/processing?id=1380">NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran &copy;&nbsp;PUBLIC DOMAIN</a>

Jupiter may be one of the planets we can spot with the naked eye, but scientists have long puzzled over what lies beneath its swirling clouds — or inside its stormy Great Red Spot.

Could an Amazon pharmacy be a prescription for industry change?

Jul 1, 2017
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<a href="http://freestocks.org/photo/medications-2/">Joanna Malinowska</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/">CC</a><a href="http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/">&nbsp;BY 2.0 (image cropped)</a>

These days, you can find just about anything on Amazon — from toilet paper to textbooks and even groceries. For now, though, there’s still something you won’t find on the site: prescription drugs.

Flu? There’s A Patch For That

Jul 1, 2017

Curiosity Gets An AI Upgrade

Jul 1, 2017

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