science

Sky-Watching
11:24 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Geminid Meteor Showers Light Up Both Hemispheres

The Geminid meteor shower above Skopje, Macedonia, on Saturday.
Robert AtanasovskiI AFP/Getty Images

The annual Geminid meteor shower dazzled Earthlings around the world late Saturday and early Sunday.

Pieces of gravel and dust from a "rock comet" called 3200 Phaethon shot across the sky and lit up discussion boards from NASA.gov to Twitter — for those who could tear their eyes away long enough to type.

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Bioprinting
12:55 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

How Yale's 3D Printing Venture Could Solve the Organ Donor Problem

A 3D bioprinted blood vessel.
Organovo Yale University

Worldwide, the number and quality of vital organ donors has decreased. Yale University has announced a new venture with a 3D biology company to develop 3D-printed tissue and organs.

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Epilepsy
9:21 am
Wed December 10, 2014

A Crowd Of Scientists Finds A Better Way To Predict Seizures

Mathematician Phillip Adkins (left) and Drew Abbot, a software engineer at AiLive. They were members of the winning team.
Courtesy of Phillip Adkins

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 8:12 am

An online contest for data scientists has produced a great leap forward in efforts to predict when someone with epilepsy is going to have a seizure. The winning team used data on electrical activity in the brain to develop an algorithm that predicted seizures 82 percent of the time.

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Science Publishing
1:40 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Is Nature’s Move to "Free" Publishing a Step Toward Open Access?

Annthea Lewis
Nature

The journal Nature announced last week it will offer free access to a number of its articles online.

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Climate Change
6:09 am
Tue December 9, 2014

How 3.6 Degrees Became a Global Warming Tipping Point

A team of scientists in 2012 from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island, explores the waters near the Helheim Glacier in Greenland before using an autonomous undersea vehicle to study glacial ice melt.
U.S. Navy

As the United Nations climate change talks in Lima enter into their second week, one measurement that's coming up a lot is 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. 

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Curiosity Rover
10:17 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

NASA Photos Show New Signs Of A Lake On Mars

NASA says "cross-bedding" in the layers of this Martian rock is proof that water moved on Mars, leaving waves or ripples of loose sediment. The image is from a site at Mount Sharp that NASA calls "Whale Rock."
NASA

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 12:41 pm

Signs of water currents and sediments are seen in the latest photos NASA's Curiosity rover sent home from Mars, the space agency said Monday. The images suggest "ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes," NASA says.

In the huge Gale Crater where Curiosity has been exploring, the water and sediment flow might have been massive enough to build a mountain — the 3-mile-high Mount Sharp — NASA researchers say. But they acknowledge that they're still working to solve the mystery of how the mountain formed in a crater.

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The Faith Middleton Show
1:27 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Dr. Raphael Kellman's Microbiome Diet

Credit Skånska Matupplevelser/flickr creative commons

Repair and boost the bacteria in the gut with the right food, prebiotics and probiotics, and you'll feel better and lose weight. That's the theory of Dr. Raphael Kellman of New York, author of The Microbiome Diet.

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Treating Cancer
11:20 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Doctors Are Slow To Adopt Changes In Breast Cancer Treatment

New evidence on the effectiveness of medical treatments can take a long time to influence medical practice.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 4:58 pm

Cancer doctors want the best, most effective treatment for their patients. But it turns out many aren't paying attention to evidence that older women with early stage breast cancer may be enduring the pain, fatigue and cost of radiation treatment although it doesn't increase life expectancy.

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Particle Man
3:50 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

At Yale Lab, an Era of Particle Research Comes to an End

Yale University

Over the next year, the giant blue particle accelerator that for years has been at the center of Yale University's Wright Lab, will be scrapped. 

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Unmanned Test, Take Two
7:14 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Orion Spacecraft Splashes Down After High-Orbit Test

The Orion spacecraft awaits its launch in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
NASA

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 1:00 pm

NASA's unmanned Orion spacecraft has successfully splashed down about 400 miles west of La Paz, Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean after a liftoff, two orbits and re-entry that lasted just under 4 1/2 hours.

Orion, which could one day take astronauts to Mars, made a "bull's-eye splashdown" at 11:29 a.m. ET, mission control said, after the spacecraft endured a searing 4,000-degree Fahrenheit re-entry and was carried to the ocean surface under four giant red-and-white parachutes.

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Unmanned Test Orbit
9:35 am
Thu December 4, 2014

NASA Scrubs Launch Of Orion Spacecraft

NASA's Orion spaceship early Thursday in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 2:38 pm

Update at 9:35 a.m. ET

NASA's Orion spacecraft, which could one day send astronauts to Mars, is stuck on terra firma for at least another day after the space agency's mission control was unable to satisfactorily resolve a number of issues before a 9:45 a.m. ET launch window closed.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
8:21 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Inflammation Can Kill You

Vishwa-Deep Dixit is Professor of Comparative Medicine and of Immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine
Chion Wolf

I got interested in this topic last year when the Yale Medical School got a $10 million Blavatnik grant for more work in the specific area of  Immunobiology.

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Searching Space
3:14 am
Thu December 4, 2014

To Search For A New Supernova, Build A New Camera

A blast from the past: Using data from four telescopes, NASA created this image of the first documented sighting of a supernova, made by Chinese astronomers in 185 A.D.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/B. Williams

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 2:03 pm

The search for the massive star explosions called supernovae is about to get a big boost. Astronomers at Caltech in Pasadena are building a new camera that will let them survey the entire night sky in three nights.

The problem with looking for supernovae is you can't really be sure when and where to look for them. Most telescope cameras can only capture a small patch of sky at a time. But the new camera, to be mounted on a telescope at the Palomar Observatory, has a much larger field of view.

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Bottles, Bottles, Everywhere
8:25 am
Tue December 2, 2014

"Washed Ashore" Exhibit at Mystic Aquarium Features Ocean Trash

An exhibition features ocean creatures sculpted from collected beach refuse.
Mystic Aquarium

A new exhibition at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut is using trash from the ocean to create art. It's an effort to highlight the importance of recycling plastic.

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Orion
5:45 am
Tue December 2, 2014

NASA Prepares To Test New Spacecraft (That You've Likely Never Heard Of)

The Orion capsule is poised to make its first test flight Thursday. If all goes as planned, the unmanned vehicle will orbit Earth twice before splashing into the Pacific Ocean.
Kim Shiflett NASA

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 3:43 pm

NASA is about to launch a new spaceship into orbit, and Mallory Loe has never heard of it.

"I mean, technically, NASA doesn't have another spaceship, do they?" she asks incredulously during a visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

She's hardly the only one who doesn't know about this new spacecraft. In fact, none of a half-dozen tourists NPR interviewed in the museum's lobby was aware of the Orion spaceship.

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Look Up
1:48 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Yale Recruits the Crowd in the Hunt for New Planets

This section of the Milky Way captures Kepler's field of view.
Carter Roberts NASA

If you're looking for life elsewhere in the universe, there's a lot to look at, and computers are pretty good at it. At least, they're good at analyzing the stuff you tell them -- for example, the brightness of stars in our sky.

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The Faith Middleton Show
3:15 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

There Is No Such Thing as Silence

Credit Ray/flickr creative commons

That's what we learned from neuroscientist Dr. Seth Horowitz of Brown University; true silence is non-existent. "In truly quiet areas," he writes in his book, The Universal Sense, "you can even hear the sound of air molecules vibrating inside your ear canals or the fluid in your ears themselves."

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Medicine
12:07 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Merck Partners With NewLink To Speed Up Work On Ebola Vaccine

A 26-year-old man receives an injection in September of an experimental Ebola vaccine being tested by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and GlaxoSmithKline.
NIAID

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 12:01 pm

It's now Goliath versus Goliath in the quest for an Ebola vaccine.

Until now, the two leading candidates for a vaccine to protect against the Ebola virus were being led by global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline on the one hand, and a tiny company in Ames, Iowa, that was virtually unknown, on the other.

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Lyme Disease
8:57 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Scientist Who Identified Origin of Lyme Disease Dies at 89

Dr. Willy Burgdorfer identified the bacterium responsible for Lyme Disease.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Dr. Willy Burgdorfer, the Swiss-born researcher who gained international recognition for discovering the origins of Lyme disease, has died.

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Underwater Archeology
10:36 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Discovery of 17th-Century Shipwreck Provides Window Into Violent Past

Kroum Batchvarov, assistant professor of maritime archaeology at UConn, measures a cannon under water.
Dean Winter

There's only so much history you can learn from books. Sometimes, you just need to go underwater and travel back in time.

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The Faith Middleton show
2:47 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Are Artificial Wombs on the Horizon? And Those Egg-Freezing Parties…

Credit International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center/flickr creative commons

Reportedly, younger women of child-bearing age are paying $10,000 to freeze their eggs, hoping to preserve their viability until the women find mates, or their careers and finances allow them to become pregnant. That's just one issue addressed by Faith's guests, regular contributor Dr. Mary Jane Minkin and new guests Dr. Erin Wysong Hofstatter and Dr. Elena Ratner, all affiliated with Yale's School of Medicine.

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Philae Lander
2:46 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Comet Lander's Big Bounce Caught On Camera

The Rosetta spacecraft, which orbits the comet, captured this series of images of the Philae lander bounding off the surface. The precise spot the lander came to a stop remains unknown.
Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 7:41 pm

Updated at 3:45PM ET

It was the first ever landing on a comet, and it was perfect.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of the journey for the European Space Agency's unmanned Philae lander. After touching down on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the lander bounced off the surface and flew a kilometer back up into space.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:36 am
Mon November 17, 2014

The Scramble Got Stuck In a Wormhole

Credit Iryna Yeroshko / Creative Commons

Let's play a game. I'm going to name five things and you tell me what they are - "An Unnecessary Woman," "All the Light We Cannot See," "Redeployment," "Station Eleven," "Lila." They are the five fiction finalists for this year's National Book Award which will be given out this week.  Don't feel bad if you didn't get the answer - I wouldn't have either. My  connection to the nominees begins and ends with having picked up one of the five books from a table at - of all places - Whole Foods.

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Difficult Operations
8:12 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Comet Lander, Firefighters Execute Dazzling Feats Above The Earth

Onlookers take cell phone pictures of stranded window washers hanging from scaffolding on the side of One World Trade Center.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 10:21 am

Everyone has days in which we wonder if much of anything works. Websites crash. Screens blink, go blank, or taunt: I'm sorry. Try later. We have an unusually high volume of calls. Download to update. Click here if you've forgotten your password.

But for a couple of hours on an afternoon this week, people got glimpses of excellence.

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Science Fashion
1:32 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

'Shirtstorm' Leads To Apology From European Space Scientist

Scientist Matt Taylor, left, said "I made a big mistake" by wearing a shirt featuring scantily clad women. Taylor spoke at Friday's update by the European Space Agency on the Philae lander.
ESA

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 1:38 pm

The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission made history this week by putting a lander on a comet. But at the same time, one of its leading scientists drew wide criticism for wearing a shirt featuring lingerie-clad women – a decision for which he apologized Friday.

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Philae
9:59 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Comet Lander Deploys Drill, But Could Lose Power Tonight

Engineers at the European Space Agency fear that they won't be able to communicate with the Philae lander after Friday. Here, lander manager Stefan Ulamec (left, in foreground) watches as data confirming the comet landing arrived Wednesday.
European Space Agency

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 12:38 pm

Philae, the lander currently on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, may not be able to perform its extended mission — scientists at the European Space Agency worry that the probe may have landed in a spot too shadowy for solar panels to recharge its batteries. The ESA says it may not be able to contact the craft after Friday night.

Worries over the robotic lander's power supply prompted engineers to take the risky step of activating its drill, an operation that had been shelved out of fears that it would sap the remaining charge.

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Space
3:27 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Separates Fact From Fiction In 'Interstellar'

Matthew McConaughey plays an astronaut explorer in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar.
Paramount Pictures Melinda Sue Gordon

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 9:42 am

As you may be aware, there's a hot new space movie now in theaters — Interstellar. Here's the premise: It's just a little bit in the future, conditions have become pretty horrible on Earth and some astronauts head out in search of a new planet for humans to inhabit.

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:12 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

On ICE: November 13, 2014

Credit A Guy Taking Pictures/flickr creative commons

We love ideas, innovation, invention. On ICE: Innovation, Creativity, Edge, we ask you to brainstorm with us about ideas, and we talk to innovative types about what's they're doing. 

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Exploration
11:54 am
Wed November 12, 2014

For First Time in Human History, Spacecraft Lands on Comet

This image was captured when the Philae lander was just 3km from the surface of the comet.

The European Space Agency made history on Wednesday morning, landing the first man-made object on the surface of a comet. 

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That's Cold, Man
3:22 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Those Fall Shivers in Connecticut Aren't From the "Polar Vortex"

A typical polar vortex from November 2013.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Polar vortex is a phrase you've probably heard a lot, but what does it actually mean?

"I think, sometimes, people sort of misunderstand the polar vortex and they think it's this giant amoeba of cold that sits over the North Pole that just gets dislodged and heads right over Chicago," said Ryan Hanrahan, meteorologist at NBC Connecticut. "That's not really what happens."

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