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Science Friday

Friday 12:00 - 1:00pm


Science Friday is a weekly science talk show, broadcast live over public radio stations nationwide. Each week, we focus on science topics that are in the news and try to bring an educated, balanced discussion to bear on the scientific issues at hand. Panels of expert guests join Science Friday’s host, Ira Flatow, a veteran science journalist, to discuss science – and to take questions from listeners during the call-in portion of the program.

Scientists Call Whales the ‘Engineers’ of the Ocean Ecosystem

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Whales stabilize the ocean ecosystem through a mechanism scientists call the “whale pump,” or fecal plumes.

Pacemaker Researchers Swap Batteries for Biology

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With gene therapy, scientists reprogram pig heart cells to improve heartbeat.

Frozen in Time, a Giant Virus

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A virus large enough to be seen through a light microscope was recovered from the Siberian permafrost.

App Chat: Plugging In to the Outdoors

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Reporter Bob Parks guides us through his favorite outdoor and camping apps.

As California Dries Up, Locals Hope for El Niño

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A third of California is now clenched by exceptional drought, and this week the state announced $500 fines for water-wasters. But many residents continue to hope for rain.

Fashioning the Future

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A scientist and a designer imagine fashion’s high-tech future.

Smarty Pants: Testing the Quality of Textiles

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Confidence in how well our garments suit us shouldn't be taken for granted—we owe much to textile quality assurance.

The ABCs of 3D

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Makerbot’s Bre Pettis explains what you need to know to try your own 3D printing.

Keeping an Eye on Wayward Studies

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Ivan Oransky, co-founder of the Retraction Watch blog, discusses what happens when scientific studies go bad.

Concerns Rise Over Pesticide Use, Birds, and Bees

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Neonicotinoid pesticides have been banned in the E.U. but are still approved for use in the U.S. while the EPA reviews them.

Could Inducing Hypothermia Help Revive Trauma Patients?

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In a procedure called “Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation,” doctors would replace the blood of patients with cold saline to help buy valuable operating time.

What’s So Bad About Being Alone With Your Thoughts?

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A study finds that many people would rather shock themselves than be alone with their thoughts.

The Surprisingly Predictable Patterns of Random Choice

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In his new book, Rock Breaks Scissors, author William Poundstone decodes the patterns in big data, sports, and human behaviors.

Ben Franklin: Sonic Explorer

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Ben Franklin’s sonic experiments included inventing a new musical instrument and testing the limits of the human voice.

Do Your Patriotic Duty: Learn Math

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Mathematician Edward Frenkel says a well-educated public is essential to democracy—and that includes being knowledgeable about math.

Meet the Mohawk Behind NASA’s Curiosity Mission

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NASA’s “Mohawk Man,” Bobak Ferdowsi, talks public and private space exploration, plans for Europa, and whether or not we’ll be putting a human on Mars.

Celebrating Nature’s Summer Light Show, Fireflies

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The flashing of lightning bugs is a favorite part of a lazy summer evening, but there’s a lot of hidden nighttime drama.

How New Rules and Smart Tech Are Reinventing the Grid

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After Superstorm Sandy, there was a lot of talk of a more distributed smart grid—a more resilient system. But how far have we come?

A Web of Doubt

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Author Charles Seife spots the falsehoods and fakes that make their way onto the information super highway.

Shedding Light on the Science of Sunscreen

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How does sunscreen protect our skin from harmful radiation, and what is the meaning behind SPFs?