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Science Friday

Science Friday and WNYC Studios

1.1K
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2.9K
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Science Friday

Science Friday

Science Friday and WNYC Studios

1.1K
Followers
2.9K
Plays
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Brain fun for curious people.

Latest Episodes

Building A Ghost Heart, The Effect Of Big Tech. Feb 14, 2020, Part 2

The human heart is one of the most complicated organs in our body. The heart is, in a way, like a machine—the muscular organ pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood in an adult human every day. But can we construct a heart in the lab? Some scientists are turning to engineering to find ways to preserve that constant lub dub when a heart stops working. One team of researchers created a biohybrid heart, which combines a pig heart and mechanical parts. The team could control the beating motion of the heart to test pacemakers and other devices. Their findings were published in the journal Science Advances in January. Mechanical engineering student Clara Park, an author on that study, talks about what it takes to engineer a biohybrid heart and how this model could be used in the future to develop implantable hearts and understand heart failure. At the Texas Heart Institute, Doris Taylor is developing a regenerative method for heart construction. She pioneered the creation of “ghost hearts...

46 MIN3 d ago
Comments
Building A Ghost Heart, The Effect Of Big Tech. Feb 14, 2020, Part 2

Great Lakes Book Club Wrap-Up, California Groundwater. Feb 14, 2020, Part 1

The Great Lakes hold 20% of the world’s surface drinking water, with Lake Superior holding half of that alone. The lakes stretch from New York to Minnesota, and cover a surface area of nearly 100,000 square miles—large enough to cover the entire state of Colorado. And they’re teeming with life. Fish, phytoplankton, birds, even butterflies call the lakes home for some portion of their lives. But not all is calm in the waters. In The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, journalist Dan Egan tells the story of the changes that have unbalanced these ecosystems since the St. Lawrence Seaway was first made navigable for cargo ships and, with them, invasive species, like sea lampreys, alewives, quagga mussels and, perhaps soon, Asian carp. The Science Friday Book Club has spent a month swimming in Great Lakes science. We’ve pondered the value of native fish to ecosystem resiliency, the threats facing people’s access to clean drinking water, and the influence of invasive species. SciFri p...

47 MIN3 d ago
Comments
Great Lakes Book Club Wrap-Up, California Groundwater. Feb 14, 2020, Part 1

SciFri Extra: The Marshall Islands Stare Down Rising Seas

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a country of 58,000 people spread across 29 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean. And in a world where seas are both rising and acidifying, the Marshall Islands are exceptionally vulnerable: Those atolls rise a mere two meters above the original ocean height on average, and rely on the health and continued growth of their coral foundations to exist. A 2018 study projects that by 2050, the Marshall Islands could be mostly uninhabitable due to salt-contaminated groundwater and inundation of large swaths of their small land masses during both storm events and more regular high tides. But the people of the Marshall Islands—who are already facing increasingly high king tides and more frequent droughts—are planning to adapt, not leave. They've already built sea walls and water catchments, while in February 2019, then-Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine announced an ambitious, expensive additional plan to raise the islands higher above the ocean. S...

15 MIN4 d ago
Comments
SciFri Extra: The Marshall Islands Stare Down Rising Seas

Tech And Empathy, The Ball Method. Feb 7, 2020, Part 2

How Tech Can Make Us More—And Less—Empathetic Much of technology was built on the promise of connecting people across the world, fostering a sense of community. But as much as technology gives us, it also may be taking away one of the things that makes us most human—empathy. Meet Alice Ball, Unsung Pioneer In Leprosy Treatment In 1915, an infection with leprosy (also called Hansen’s disease) often meant a death sentence. Patients were commonly sent into mandatory quarantine in “leper colonies,” never to return. Before the development of the drug Promin in the 1940s, one of the few somewhat-effective treatments for leprosy was use of an oil extracted from the chaulmoogra tree. However, that oil was not readily water soluble, making it difficult for the human body to absorb. A new short film, The Ball Method, tells the story of Alice Ball, a young African-American chemist.Ball was able to discover a method for extracting compounds from the oil and modifying them to become more s...

46 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Tech And Empathy, The Ball Method. Feb 7, 2020, Part 2

Degrees Of Change: How Native American Communities Are Addressing Climate Change. Feb 7, 2020, Part 1

How Native American Communities Are Addressing Climate Change Indigenous peoples are one of the most vulnerable communities when it comes to the effects of climate change. This is due to a mix of cultural, economic, policy and historical factors. Some Native American tribal governments and councils have put together their own climate risk assessment plans. Native American communities are very diverse—and the challenges and adaptations are just as varied. Professor Kyle Whyte, a tribal member of theCitizen Potawatomi Nation, says that many of the species and food resources that are affected by climate change are also important cultural pieces, which are integral to the identity and cohesion of tribes.Ryan Reed, a tribal member of the Karuk and Yurok Tribe and a sophomore undergrad student in Environmental Science at the University of Oregon, andJames Rattling Leaf, tribal member of the Rosebud Sioux, and Tribal Engagement Leader for the Great Plains Water Alliance,join Ira for this ...

47 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Degrees Of Change: How Native American Communities Are Addressing Climate Change. Feb 7, 2020, Part 1

Breast Cancer Cultural History, Butterfly Wings. Jan 31, 2020, Part 2

‘Radical’ Explores The Hidden History Of Breast Cancer Nearly270,000 women are diagnosedwith breast cancer every year, along with a couple thousand men. But the disease manifests in many different ways, meaning few patients have the same story to tell. Journalist Kate Pickert collects many of those stories in her bookRadical: The Science, Culture, and History of Breast Cancer in America. And one of those stories is her own. As she writes about her own journey with breast cancer, Pickert delves into the history of breast cancer treatment—first devised by a Scottish medical student studying sheep in the 1800s—and chronicles the huge clinical trials for blockbuster drugs in the 80s and 90s—one of which required armies of people to harvest timber from the evergreen forests of the Pacific Northwest. She joins Ira Flatow to tell her story, and the surprising cultural history of breast cancer. With Butterfly Wings, There’s More Than Meets The Eye Scientists are learning that butterfl...

46 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Breast Cancer Cultural History, Butterfly Wings. Jan 31, 2020, Part 2

Coronavirus Update, Invasive Species. Jan 31, 2020, Part 1

Tracking The Spread Of The Coronavirus Outbreak This week, the World Health Organizationdeclaredthat the coronavirus outbreak—which began in Wuhan, China—is a public health emergency of international concern. Nearly 8,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide. Chinese scientists sequenced the genome of the virus from some of the patients who were infected early on in the outbreak. Virologist Kristian Andersen discusses how the genetics of the virus can provide clues to how it is transmitted and may be used for diagnostic tests and vaccines. Plus,infectious disease specialistMichael Osterholm talks about the effectiveness of quarantines and what types of measures could be put in place to halt the spread of the pathogen. Putting Invasive Species On Trial When species that have existed in one place for a long time are transported to new ecosystems, there are a few possible outcomes. First, nothing could happen. That flower, fish, or flying insect could find the new environment too host...

47 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Coronavirus Update, Invasive Species. Jan 31, 2020, Part 1

SciFri Extra: Revisiting Unique Science Stories Of 2019

2020 has just begun, but we’re still celebrating all the amazing work done by science journalists in 2019. Thanks to them, we’ve been informed on stories like the new illnesses linked to vaping, the first image of a black hole, and the increase in youth-led climate change protests. At our year in review event at Caveat in NYC on December 18, 2019, three science storytellers—Arielle Duhaime-Ross, Sarah Zhang, and Ariel Zych—took the stage with a notable story they reported in 2019, including the untold and surprising facts that may not have made it to their final draft.

33 MIN3 w ago
Comments
SciFri Extra: Revisiting Unique Science Stories Of 2019

Coronavirus, Great Lakes Drinking Water. Jan 24, 2020, Part 1

A novel coronavirus—the type of virus that causes SARS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and common cold symptoms—has killed 18 people, and sickened more than 600. In response, Chinese officials have quarantined several huge cities, where some 20 million people live. In this segment, Ira talks with epidemiologists Saskia Popescu and Ian Lipkin about what we know about the virus, how it appears to spread, and whether efforts to contain it are effective—or ethical. Do you know where your drinking water comes from? For more than 40 million people in the Great Lakes Basin, the answer is the abundant waters of Lake Michigan, Ontario, Erie, Huron, or Superior. This winter, the Science Friday Book Club has been reading Dan Egan’s The Death And Life of the Great Lakes, and unpacking the drastic ecological changes facing these bodies of water in the last century and beyond. But what about the changes to the water that might affect people who drink it? And does everyone who lives ...

46 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Coronavirus, Great Lakes Drinking Water. Jan 24, 2020, Part 1

Feathered Dino, Clinical Trials, Coffee Extraction. Jan 24, 2020, Part 2

Before any new drug comes to market, it goes through a time-consuming process. Researchers have to recruit human subjects for a clinical trial, collect all the data, and analyze the results. All of that can take years to complete, but the end result could be worth it: a drug that treats a rare disease or improves patients lives with fewer side effects. Or the opposite could happen: The drug doesn’t have any effect or makes patients worse. So the question is, how is the public informed of the outcome? One answer isClinicalTrials.gov, a public-facing website where researchers are required by law to register all currently ongoing clinical trials and report their results. That way, the public is kept informed. However,two recentinvestigationsofClinicalTrials.govreporting practices show that many researchers aren’t posting their results online. In fact, up to 25% of studies never seem to have their results reported anywhere. And government agencies aren’t enforcing the rule in ways th...

47 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Feathered Dino, Clinical Trials, Coffee Extraction. Jan 24, 2020, Part 2

Latest Episodes

Building A Ghost Heart, The Effect Of Big Tech. Feb 14, 2020, Part 2

The human heart is one of the most complicated organs in our body. The heart is, in a way, like a machine—the muscular organ pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood in an adult human every day. But can we construct a heart in the lab? Some scientists are turning to engineering to find ways to preserve that constant lub dub when a heart stops working. One team of researchers created a biohybrid heart, which combines a pig heart and mechanical parts. The team could control the beating motion of the heart to test pacemakers and other devices. Their findings were published in the journal Science Advances in January. Mechanical engineering student Clara Park, an author on that study, talks about what it takes to engineer a biohybrid heart and how this model could be used in the future to develop implantable hearts and understand heart failure. At the Texas Heart Institute, Doris Taylor is developing a regenerative method for heart construction. She pioneered the creation of “ghost hearts...

46 MIN3 d ago
Comments
Building A Ghost Heart, The Effect Of Big Tech. Feb 14, 2020, Part 2

Great Lakes Book Club Wrap-Up, California Groundwater. Feb 14, 2020, Part 1

The Great Lakes hold 20% of the world’s surface drinking water, with Lake Superior holding half of that alone. The lakes stretch from New York to Minnesota, and cover a surface area of nearly 100,000 square miles—large enough to cover the entire state of Colorado. And they’re teeming with life. Fish, phytoplankton, birds, even butterflies call the lakes home for some portion of their lives. But not all is calm in the waters. In The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, journalist Dan Egan tells the story of the changes that have unbalanced these ecosystems since the St. Lawrence Seaway was first made navigable for cargo ships and, with them, invasive species, like sea lampreys, alewives, quagga mussels and, perhaps soon, Asian carp. The Science Friday Book Club has spent a month swimming in Great Lakes science. We’ve pondered the value of native fish to ecosystem resiliency, the threats facing people’s access to clean drinking water, and the influence of invasive species. SciFri p...

47 MIN3 d ago
Comments
Great Lakes Book Club Wrap-Up, California Groundwater. Feb 14, 2020, Part 1

SciFri Extra: The Marshall Islands Stare Down Rising Seas

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a country of 58,000 people spread across 29 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean. And in a world where seas are both rising and acidifying, the Marshall Islands are exceptionally vulnerable: Those atolls rise a mere two meters above the original ocean height on average, and rely on the health and continued growth of their coral foundations to exist. A 2018 study projects that by 2050, the Marshall Islands could be mostly uninhabitable due to salt-contaminated groundwater and inundation of large swaths of their small land masses during both storm events and more regular high tides. But the people of the Marshall Islands—who are already facing increasingly high king tides and more frequent droughts—are planning to adapt, not leave. They've already built sea walls and water catchments, while in February 2019, then-Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine announced an ambitious, expensive additional plan to raise the islands higher above the ocean. S...

15 MIN4 d ago
Comments
SciFri Extra: The Marshall Islands Stare Down Rising Seas

Tech And Empathy, The Ball Method. Feb 7, 2020, Part 2

How Tech Can Make Us More—And Less—Empathetic Much of technology was built on the promise of connecting people across the world, fostering a sense of community. But as much as technology gives us, it also may be taking away one of the things that makes us most human—empathy. Meet Alice Ball, Unsung Pioneer In Leprosy Treatment In 1915, an infection with leprosy (also called Hansen’s disease) often meant a death sentence. Patients were commonly sent into mandatory quarantine in “leper colonies,” never to return. Before the development of the drug Promin in the 1940s, one of the few somewhat-effective treatments for leprosy was use of an oil extracted from the chaulmoogra tree. However, that oil was not readily water soluble, making it difficult for the human body to absorb. A new short film, The Ball Method, tells the story of Alice Ball, a young African-American chemist.Ball was able to discover a method for extracting compounds from the oil and modifying them to become more s...

46 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Tech And Empathy, The Ball Method. Feb 7, 2020, Part 2

Degrees Of Change: How Native American Communities Are Addressing Climate Change. Feb 7, 2020, Part 1

How Native American Communities Are Addressing Climate Change Indigenous peoples are one of the most vulnerable communities when it comes to the effects of climate change. This is due to a mix of cultural, economic, policy and historical factors. Some Native American tribal governments and councils have put together their own climate risk assessment plans. Native American communities are very diverse—and the challenges and adaptations are just as varied. Professor Kyle Whyte, a tribal member of theCitizen Potawatomi Nation, says that many of the species and food resources that are affected by climate change are also important cultural pieces, which are integral to the identity and cohesion of tribes.Ryan Reed, a tribal member of the Karuk and Yurok Tribe and a sophomore undergrad student in Environmental Science at the University of Oregon, andJames Rattling Leaf, tribal member of the Rosebud Sioux, and Tribal Engagement Leader for the Great Plains Water Alliance,join Ira for this ...

47 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Degrees Of Change: How Native American Communities Are Addressing Climate Change. Feb 7, 2020, Part 1

Breast Cancer Cultural History, Butterfly Wings. Jan 31, 2020, Part 2

‘Radical’ Explores The Hidden History Of Breast Cancer Nearly270,000 women are diagnosedwith breast cancer every year, along with a couple thousand men. But the disease manifests in many different ways, meaning few patients have the same story to tell. Journalist Kate Pickert collects many of those stories in her bookRadical: The Science, Culture, and History of Breast Cancer in America. And one of those stories is her own. As she writes about her own journey with breast cancer, Pickert delves into the history of breast cancer treatment—first devised by a Scottish medical student studying sheep in the 1800s—and chronicles the huge clinical trials for blockbuster drugs in the 80s and 90s—one of which required armies of people to harvest timber from the evergreen forests of the Pacific Northwest. She joins Ira Flatow to tell her story, and the surprising cultural history of breast cancer. With Butterfly Wings, There’s More Than Meets The Eye Scientists are learning that butterfl...

46 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Breast Cancer Cultural History, Butterfly Wings. Jan 31, 2020, Part 2

Coronavirus Update, Invasive Species. Jan 31, 2020, Part 1

Tracking The Spread Of The Coronavirus Outbreak This week, the World Health Organizationdeclaredthat the coronavirus outbreak—which began in Wuhan, China—is a public health emergency of international concern. Nearly 8,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide. Chinese scientists sequenced the genome of the virus from some of the patients who were infected early on in the outbreak. Virologist Kristian Andersen discusses how the genetics of the virus can provide clues to how it is transmitted and may be used for diagnostic tests and vaccines. Plus,infectious disease specialistMichael Osterholm talks about the effectiveness of quarantines and what types of measures could be put in place to halt the spread of the pathogen. Putting Invasive Species On Trial When species that have existed in one place for a long time are transported to new ecosystems, there are a few possible outcomes. First, nothing could happen. That flower, fish, or flying insect could find the new environment too host...

47 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Coronavirus Update, Invasive Species. Jan 31, 2020, Part 1

SciFri Extra: Revisiting Unique Science Stories Of 2019

2020 has just begun, but we’re still celebrating all the amazing work done by science journalists in 2019. Thanks to them, we’ve been informed on stories like the new illnesses linked to vaping, the first image of a black hole, and the increase in youth-led climate change protests. At our year in review event at Caveat in NYC on December 18, 2019, three science storytellers—Arielle Duhaime-Ross, Sarah Zhang, and Ariel Zych—took the stage with a notable story they reported in 2019, including the untold and surprising facts that may not have made it to their final draft.

33 MIN3 w ago
Comments
SciFri Extra: Revisiting Unique Science Stories Of 2019

Coronavirus, Great Lakes Drinking Water. Jan 24, 2020, Part 1

A novel coronavirus—the type of virus that causes SARS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and common cold symptoms—has killed 18 people, and sickened more than 600. In response, Chinese officials have quarantined several huge cities, where some 20 million people live. In this segment, Ira talks with epidemiologists Saskia Popescu and Ian Lipkin about what we know about the virus, how it appears to spread, and whether efforts to contain it are effective—or ethical. Do you know where your drinking water comes from? For more than 40 million people in the Great Lakes Basin, the answer is the abundant waters of Lake Michigan, Ontario, Erie, Huron, or Superior. This winter, the Science Friday Book Club has been reading Dan Egan’s The Death And Life of the Great Lakes, and unpacking the drastic ecological changes facing these bodies of water in the last century and beyond. But what about the changes to the water that might affect people who drink it? And does everyone who lives ...

46 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Coronavirus, Great Lakes Drinking Water. Jan 24, 2020, Part 1

Feathered Dino, Clinical Trials, Coffee Extraction. Jan 24, 2020, Part 2

Before any new drug comes to market, it goes through a time-consuming process. Researchers have to recruit human subjects for a clinical trial, collect all the data, and analyze the results. All of that can take years to complete, but the end result could be worth it: a drug that treats a rare disease or improves patients lives with fewer side effects. Or the opposite could happen: The drug doesn’t have any effect or makes patients worse. So the question is, how is the public informed of the outcome? One answer isClinicalTrials.gov, a public-facing website where researchers are required by law to register all currently ongoing clinical trials and report their results. That way, the public is kept informed. However,two recentinvestigationsofClinicalTrials.govreporting practices show that many researchers aren’t posting their results online. In fact, up to 25% of studies never seem to have their results reported anywhere. And government agencies aren’t enforcing the rule in ways th...

47 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Feathered Dino, Clinical Trials, Coffee Extraction. Jan 24, 2020, Part 2
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