research

Orbital Mission
12:46 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Secret U.S. Space Plane To Land After 22 Months In Orbit

This photo released by Vandenberg Air Force Base on Monday shows the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, the Air Force's unmanned, reusable space plane, after it landed at Vandenberg from a previous orbital mission.
Paul Pinner AP

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 8:59 pm

This much we know: It's not a bird and it's not exactly a plane.

Beyond that, the U.S. Air Force holds all the answers. The mission of the unmanned X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, which is scheduled to touch down at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Tuesday after 22 months in orbit, has been described only vaguely as "to gather more test data."

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Medicinal Research
10:46 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Exploring Black Cohosh, Hot Peppers, in Breast Cancer Treatment

Dr. Erin Hofstatter.
Jenifer Frank C-HIT

Dr. Erin Hofstatter, a young research scientist and breast cancer specialist at Yale’s Smilow Cancer Hospital, often prescribes tamoxifen, raloxifene and similar drugs to her patients. The drugs “reduce your risk (of cancer recurring) by half … but they come with baggage,” she tells her patients, “hot flashes, night sweats, leg cramps, small risk of uterine cancer, small risk of blood clots, small risk of stroke, you have to get your liver tested.”

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Nobel Prize
9:53 am
Mon October 13, 2014

French Economist Wins Nobel For Work On Regulating Big Business

French economist Jean Tirole won the Nobel prize for economics Monday for research on market power and regulation in industries dominated by a few powerful companies. The undated photo was provided by the Toulouse School of Economics.
AP

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 1:15 pm

Saying that he "clarified how to understand and regulate industries with a few powerful firms," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Nobel Prize in economic sciences to Jean Tirole, who teaches at the Toulouse School of Economics. He studies oligopolies, markets that are controlled by a handful of powerful (and interdependent) companies.

"I was very surprised, I was incredibly surprised," Tirole said shortly after he received the phone call informing him of the win. "The honor... it took me half an hour to recoup from the call. I still haven't recouped yet."

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Nobel Prize
6:50 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Scientists Share Chemistry Nobel For Breakthrough In Microscopy

The three winners of the 2014 Nobel Prize for chemistry: Americans Eric Betzig and William Moerner, and German scientist Stefan Hell.
Bertil Ericson AP

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 8:18 am

Two Americans and a German will share the Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing a new type of microscopy that allows researchers, for the first time, to see individual molecules inside living cells.

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Bioscience Expansion
10:04 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Jackson Lab Readies for Farmington Debut

Construction workers putting finishing touches to Jackson Lab's Farmington premises
Harriet Jones WNPR

Jackson Laboratory is putting the finishing touches to its new facility in Farmington. The $100 million building opens for business next week, and the non-profit says there are already plans for further expansion. 

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Science
10:02 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Soil Doctors Hit Pay Dirt In Manhattan's Central Park

The Bronx may be up and the Battery down, but Central Park is where an amazing wealth of different sorts of microbes play.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 9:14 am

Manhattan's Central Park is surrounded by one of the densest cities on the planet. It's green enough, yet hardly the first place most people would think of as biologically rich.

But a team of scientists got a big surprise when they recently started digging there.

They were 10 soil ecologists — aka dirt doctors. Kelly Ramirez from Colorado State University was among them. "We met on the steps of the natural history museum at 7 a.m. with our collection gear, coolers and sunblock," she recalls.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue September 23, 2014

One for the Birds of Connecticut (Again)

Connecticut's state bird: the American robin.
Credit Ken Douglas / Creative Commons

It’s an hour for the birds! We are joined by bird lovers and experts to discuss the state of the bird population in our state and to answer your burning bird questions. We also check in with our environmental reporter Patrick Skahill about his recent bird-related reporting.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon September 22, 2014

The Future of American Think Tanks

Credit www.GlynLowe.com / Creative Commons

Founded in 1916, the Brookings Institution became America’s first think tank -- an organization that devoted itself to the study of national public policy. Today, Brookings is just one of some 1,800 think tanks operating across the United States. 

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Space
8:43 am
Mon September 22, 2014

NASA: MAVEN Spacecraft Safely Circling Mars

Artist concept of MAVEN spacecraft in orbit around Mars.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 10:44 am

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft conducted a 33-minute burn of its six main engines to ease into an orbit around Mars after a nearly yearlong, 442 million-mile voyage from Earth. The probe's mission is to study the red planet's atmosphere.

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Space
8:02 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Mission To Study Mars' Climate Enters Red Planet's Orbit

In this artist concept provided by NASA, the MAVEN spacecraft approaches Mars on a mission to study its upper atmosphere.
AP

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 10:41 pm

This Sunday night, we headed back to Mars: NASA's MAVEN spacecraft fired its six main engines, slowing down enough so it could be captured by the gravity of the red planet and go into orbit.

MAVEN, which stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, is a distinctly un-sexy name for a project as cool as a sojourn to Mars. But whatever it's called, the probe is on a mission that should be of interest to everyone who likes living on Earth.

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Wealth Gap
5:55 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

One in Seven Connecticut Children Living in Poverty

Credit Lance Neilson

The rate of child poverty in Connecticut held steady in 2013, from the year before. But that stabilization follows a huge rise in the last decade. One in seven children in the state lives in a poor family. 

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50 Shades of Cave
2:16 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Looking Beyond Notions Of Erotica In Prehistoric Art

This carved ivory figurine of a woman, found in a cave in southern Germany in 2008, is estimated to be at least 35,000 years old.
Daniel Maurer AP

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 3:10 pm

In the realm of prehistoric art, there's a type of small figurine made of stone, bone or ivory that is famous. It features exaggeratedly large breasts, hips and buttocks.

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Cities
12:09 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Yale's Rudd Center Plans Major Move to Downtown Hartford

Constitution Plaza in downtown Hartford, where the Rudd Center is moving January 1.
Henk Sijgers Creative Commons

A nationally recognized research center dedicated to food policy and issues of obesity will leave Yale University at the end of the year and partner with the University of Connecticut.

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Brain Science
1:32 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Some Things You Can Do In Your Sleep, Literally

After people learned to sort words while awake, their brains were able to do the same task while asleep.
Courtesy of Current Biology, Kouider et al.

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 11:23 am

For those who find themselves sleeping through work — you may one day find yourself working through sleep.

People who are fast asleep can correctly respond to simple verbal instructions, according to a study by researchers in France. They think this may help explain why you might wake if someone calls your name or why your alarm clock is more likely to rouse you than any other noise.

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WAMC News
11:57 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Bill Concerning Lyme Disease Research Passes U.S. House

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 7:46 pm

The House of Representatives has passed a bill authored by a New York Congressman for tick-borne disease research.

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Research Funding
5:13 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

When Scientists Give Up

Randen Patterson left a research career in physiology at U.C. Davis when funding got too tight. He now owns a grocery store in Guinda, Calif.
Max Whittaker/Prime for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 3:29 pm

Ian Glomski thought he was going to make a difference in the fight to protect people from deadly anthrax germs. He had done everything right — attended one top university, landed an assistant professorship at another.

But Glomski ran head-on into an unpleasant reality: These days, the scramble for money to conduct research has become stultifying.

So, he's giving up on science.

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Blue Whales
10:12 am
Sun September 7, 2014

U.S. Pacific Blue Whales Seen Rebounding Close To Historic Levels

Off the coast of Southern California, a crowd watches a blue whale rise to the surface earlier this summer. A new study says the population of blue whales off the West Coast is close to historic levels.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 11:16 pm

Decades after the threat of extinction led to them being protected from whalers, there are now about 2,200 blue whales off the West Coast, according to a new study. That's roughly 97 percent of historical levels, say researchers at the University of Washington who call their findings a conservation success story.

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Going Cold Turkey
9:00 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Meds to Alleviate Stress May Help Women Smokers Quit

Javier Ignacio Acuna Ditzel Creative Commons

For the last 50 years, men have consistently had an easier time quitting smoking than women. More men go cold turkey. More men stop on nicotine blockers like gum and patches. More men succeed on medications. Sherry McKee, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, thinks she may know why.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon September 1, 2014

The Modern Age of Science; Connecticut Bull Osborndale Ivanhoe

Horia Varlan Creative Commons

Back in March, a team of Harvard scientists claimed to have found the first direct evidence of gravity waves from the Big Bang. Within a matter of hours, their story had made its way around the Internet, spreading across blogs, news sites, and social media.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu August 28, 2014

The Future of American Think Tanks

K Street, Washington, D.C.
www.GlynLowe.com Creative Commons

Founded in 1916, the Brookings Institution became America’s first think tank -- an organization that devoted itself to the study of national public policy. Today, Brookings is just one of some 1,800 think tanks operating across the United States. 

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UConn Research
4:01 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

What's the Best Way to Manage a Pesticide-Free Athletic Field?

Julie Campbell and Jason Henderson stand in front of 24 managed grass plots. They're comparing how grass responds to different organic and non-organic treatments.
Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Researchers at UConn are investigating the feasibility of managing grade school athletic fields without pesticides. It's science that could one day inform state law. 

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Medical Research
3:25 am
Mon August 25, 2014

People With Down Syndrome Are Pioneers In Alzheimer's Research

Justin McCowan, 39, has Down syndrome and lives at home with his parents in Santa Monica, Calif.
Benjamin B. Morris for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 8:53 am

When researchers at the University of California, San Diego wanted to study an experimental Alzheimer's drug last year, they sought help from an unlikely group: people with Down syndrome.

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Extraterrestrial Smog
12:18 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Scientists Searching For Alien Air Pollution

In this artist's conception, the atmosphere of an Earthlike planet displays a brownish haze — the result of widespread pollution.
Christine Pulliam Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 3:18 pm

Air pollution is clogging the skies of our planet. Now one scientist thinks Earth may be just one of many polluted worlds — and that searching for extraterrestrial smog may actually be a good way to search for alien intelligence.

"People refer to 'little green men,' but ETs that are detected by this method should not be labeled as green," says Avi Loeb, an astronomer at Harvard University.

The idea of finding alien polluters may be a bit of a long shot, but Loeb says it's possible.

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Huge Piles of Compost
10:11 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Citizen Science Project at Trinity College Taps Trained Eyes of Veterans

A coyote checks out a compost pile in this infrared shot from Smedley's remote camera.
Scott Smedley Trinity College

Researchers at Trinity College are snapping pictures of animals at compost piles as part of an ongoing biology project. They've been getting lots of pictures, and they're now hoping a new group can help analyze them: veterans. 

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Crowdfunding Science
11:21 am
Tue August 19, 2014

To Stem Budget Cuts, UConn and Yale Scientists Turn to Crowdfunding

Andrea Suria, left, and Sarah McAnulty, are crowdfunding a project to continue their graduate work on the Hawaiian bobtail squid at the University of Connecticut.
Sarah McAnulty squidscientistas

For young scientists, finding money to support basic research can be difficult. Federal research budgets are shrinking, and grant applications can be a time sink, removing researchers from their lab or their graduate work.

Some young scientists are now forgoing traditional funding mechanisms, and turning to the power of the crowd.

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Energy
10:25 am
Mon August 18, 2014

New London Sub Base Links Navy, Energy to Aid Research

Credit Sean Phillips / U.S. Navy

The sub base in New London is hosting a meeting between the Navy and energy industry to exchange information about renewable energy, a mini-electric grid, and industry research. 

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Quantum Research
11:38 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Dartmouth Physics Professor Working To Solve Mystery Key To Quantum Computing

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 5:26 pm

Some of the biggest technology companies in the world are on a chase for what some consider the holy grail of the information age: Quantum computing. And some of that research is going on right there in New Hampshire. But one big challenge is to get the quantum bits to dance how we want them to. 

Before getting too high-tech, let's go back to 1938. A brilliant physicist, an Italian named Ettore Majorana, withdraws all his money from a bank and boards a boat. Then, somewhere between Palermo and Naples, he vanishes without a trace.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Live From Litchfield's White Memorial Conservation Center

The boardwalk at White Memorial.
claumoho Creative Commons

For 50 years, the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield has provided a hands-on look at the natural diversity of northwestern Connecticut. With workshops, educational programs -- even its own Nature Museum -- the center has been teaching visitors about the various species and habitats found on the surrounding land. 

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Lyme Disease
1:30 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Blumenthal Announces Grant for Lyme Disease Testing

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, at right, reviews an intake questionnaire in 2011 at the Western Connecticut Health Network Lyme Disease Registry, alongside Amber Butler and Ramin Ahmadi (file photo).
Credit WCHN / Facebook

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal announced on Wednesday a $600,000 federal grant to improve testing for Lyme disease.

The Connecticut Democrat made the announcement in Danbury alongside researchers from Western Connecticut Biomedical Research Institute and the Seattle-based RareCyte, Inc. 

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Brain Development
3:43 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Scientists Say Child's Play Helps Build A Better Brain

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 6:40 pm

This week, NPR Ed is focusing on questions about why people play and how play relates to learning.

When it comes to brain development, time in the classroom may be less important than time on the playground.

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