Science Friday

Friday 2 p.m.
  • Hosted by Ira Flatow

Ira Flatow hosts a weekly talk show about science.

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<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
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<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.

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Danielle Dana

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
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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
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<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.”

Sensing Steps, And Perhaps Your PIN

Apr 15, 2017

Here are a few ways to make the most of wildflower season

Apr 8, 2017

Despite winter’s scattered protests (like the blizzard that hit the Northeast in mid-March), spring has finally arrived in most parts of the United States. And with it: “The party is beginning,” says Andrea DeLong-Amaya, the director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.

Controlling The Lyme Disease Epidemic

Apr 8, 2017

The Anatomy Of A Splash

Apr 8, 2017

Giant Viruses Beefed Up On Host Genomes

Apr 8, 2017

How do tiny little bee brains do so much?

Apr 4, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/32801121041">USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab</a>

Recently, researchers at Queen Mary University of London trained a group of buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) to get little balls into goals — in a soccer-like game — in exchange for sweet treats.

Climate change might leave a bad taste in your mouth. Literally.

Apr 3, 2017

The conversation about food and climate change often centers on how a warming climate will affect the quantity of food we can harvest. But as it turns out, a warmer world could change the quality, even the flavor, of our favorite foods, too — from the maple syrup that we slather on our pancakes to the tea that we brew before work.

“Tea is similar to maple syrup, in that it needs specific environmental conditions for an ideal harvest,” says Selena Ahmed, an assistant professor of sustainable food and bioenergy systems at Montana State University.

Does the idea of a self-driving ambulance freak you out?

Apr 2, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/pasa/14180432046/">Paul Sableman</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>&nbsp;(image cropped)

Would you want a ride to the hospital in a self-driving ambulance?

If you caught yourself hesitating, you’re not alone. Researchers from the Florida Institute of Technology and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University recently found that many people are less willing to be transported in a driverless ambulance than a regular one — significantly less willing, as it turns out.

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