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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.

Rooting Out the Plant Microbiome

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Scientists are uncovering the importance of the plant microbiome for fighting off pathogens and increasing crop yields.

More Than Cornflakes

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John Harvey Kellogg and his brother, W.K., are known today for their most famous discovery—corn flakes—but invented many other health foods along the way.

Forensic Entomologists Hunt Down Insects to Help Catch Criminals

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To help piece together a crime scene, forensic entomologists examine the insects found in the area.

Environmental Detectives Use Genetic Tools to Track Invasives

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A recently developed technique called "environmental DNA" allows invasive species trackers to get a time-sensitive fingerprint of which species are living where—including underwater.

The 'First' Battle of Gas Versus Electric

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As plug-in electric vehicles struggle to carve out a slice of today's auto market, it's worth remembering the first such battle—at the turn of the 1900s.

Is Your ‘Priceless’ Painting a Fake? Better Ask a Scientist

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Techniques from physics and chemistry can help scientists and art historians sniff out art forgeries.

Taking the Temperature of Rising Seas

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Researchers are trying to better understand ocean water temperatures, which is an important factor in rising sea levels.

Atul Gawande: On Being Mortal

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In his book Being Mortal, surgeon Atul Gawande argues that more medicine may not be better medicine in end-of-life care.

How to Make Quark Soup

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Brookhaven National Laboratory cooks up tiny ephemeral batches of quark-gluon soup that are said to be the most "perfect" fluid ever discovered.

The Race to Contain, Rather Than Cure, Ebola

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With production of experimental treatments slow-going, rapid diagnostic testing could be the best bet for containing the ongoing Ebola outbreak.

How Did the Violin Get Its Shape?

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From its role in biological systems to cultural products, “shape is information that can tell us a story,” says biologist Dan Chitwood.

Your Home, Your Bacteria

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The surfaces in a home reflect the distinct blend of bacteria that inhabit the people that live there.

Is MSG Bad for Your Health?

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Four decades of scientific studies suggest the food additive MSG may not deserve its toxic reputation.

Do Chimps Have Culture?

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Researchers say a real-world case of “monkey see, monkey do” might model the origins of human culture.

Mining the Internet for Clues to Chinese Censorship

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Protests continue in Hong Kong, but only glimpses of the activity make it into mainland China due to censorship.

Dance and Physics Collide in ‘Quantum’

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Choreographer Gilles Jobin took inspiration from the movements of physics for his piece Quantum.

A Whiff of What’s to Come: What Sense of Smell Says About Health

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Older adults’ sense of smell might be a strong indicator of their risk of mortality within a five-year span.

Community Labs Practice Do-It-Yourself Biology

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In DIY biology labs across the country, citizen scientists take the tools of synthetic biology into their own hands.

Catching a Glimpse of an Eclipse

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This month, North America will be under the skies of a full lunar eclipse on October 8 and a partial solar eclipse on October 23.

MAVEN Maneuvers Into Mars’s Orbit

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MAVEN makes into Mars’ orbit in time to meet a comet and begin unraveling mysteries of the Martian atmosphere.