science

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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Ebola Emergency
11:03 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Meriden Company Developing Ebola Vaccine

Jackie Filson WNPR

A Connecticut bioscience company said it’s developing an Ebola vaccine and it plans to have samples ready for testing by the end of this year. 

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Medicine
8:48 am
Tue October 7, 2014

UConn Professor Wins Award for Work in Regenerative Engineering

UConn Health's Dr. Cato Laurencin says regenerative engineering will soon revolutionize how musculoskeletal tissue injuries are treated.
Lanny Nagler UConn Health Center

A UConn Professor has won a lucrative award from the National Institutes of Health for his work in regenerative engineering.

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Blue Ribbon
6:38 am
Tue October 7, 2014

3 Scientists Win Nobel In Physics For Development Of Blue LED

A screen shows the laureates of the Nobel Prize in physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Tuesday.
Bertil Ericson EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 12:49 pm

A trio of scientists, two from Japan and one from the U.S., will share the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which led to a new, environmentally friendly light source.

Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and U.S. scientist Shuji Nakamura were selected by the committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to share the 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million) prize.

Nobelprize.org says:

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Ebola
11:58 am
Mon October 6, 2014

U.S. Journalist With Ebola Flown To Nebraska For Treatment

An ambulance transports Ashoka Mukpo, who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia, to The Nebraska Medical Center's specialized isolation unit on Monday in Omaha.
Dave Weaver AP

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 4:53 pm

Updated at 10:20 a.m. ET

The condition of a man infected with the Ebola virus who is undergoing treatment in Dallas is "fighting for his life," doctors say, as another patient with the disease has arrived in Nebraska to receive care.

Thomas Eric Duncan, in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, became ill after arriving from the West African country of Liberia two weeks ago.

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Animals
6:32 pm
Sun October 5, 2014

Dolphins: Adorable, Playful, Not As Smart As You Might Think

Some researchers have begun to question the notion that dolphins are the super-intelligent creatures they've been made out to be.
Pavel Golovkin AP

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 9:26 am

Everyone loves dolphins. They're adorable, playful and super-intelligent, often called the geniuses of the ocean.

But recently some researchers have begun to question that last notion. When it comes to brainpower, dolphins might not be as special as you might think.

In a recent piece for New Scientist, Caroline Williams rounds up some of the dissenting opinions.

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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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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:32 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Consciousness and the Soul

Credit Karen Neoh / Creative Commons

It has been nearly 400 years since Descartes wrote his famous declaration “Cogito ergo sum”, or, more commonly “I am thinking, therefore I exist”. But, in all that time, we still haven't answered the basic question: who are we?

In this hour, we explore the concepts of consciousness, the self, and the soul. What do today's top scientists, philosophers and spiritual leaders say about these topics and how have they arrived at their conclusions? Are we ready to accept the brain as the be-all and end-all of who we are or is there more to us than that?

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Disease
12:05 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

No, Seriously, How Contagious Is Ebola?

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 8:22 pm

Update on Oct. 8: The Ebola patient in Dallas, the first diagnosed with the virus in the U.S., has died.

Holy moly! There's a case of Ebola in the U.S.!

That first reaction was understandable. There's no question the disease is scary. The World Health Organization now estimates that the virus has killed about 70 percent of people infected in West Africa.

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Disease
11:01 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Officials: 100 'Potential Contacts' Linked To Dallas Ebola Patient

A man diagnosed with the Ebola virus this week is being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The patient recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia.
Mike Stone Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 8:34 pm

Updated at 3:42 p.m. ET:

The number of "contact traces" for a man diagnosed with Ebola earlier this week in Dallas has risen to 100, officials say, as they add secondary contacts to a list of people being monitored for symptoms of the deadly virus.

Earlier today, Erikka Neros, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County Health and Human Services department, said the number of "contact traces" stood at about 80 because the 12 to 18 people who had been exposed directly to the patient then had contact with others.

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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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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Bringing Back the Woolly Mammoth

Credit Funk Monk / Wikimedia Commons

Science writer Carl Zimmer names the Dodo and the Great Auk, the Thylacine and the Chinese River Dolphin, the Passenger Pigeon and the Imperial Woodpecker, the Bucardo and Stellar Sea Cow among the species that humankind has driven into extinction. What's notable about that list is that most of us would recognize maybe three or four of those names.

Think about that. We have obliterated entire species whose names we don't even know.

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The Faith Middleton Show
2:17 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Inventions Coming Soon to Enchant Our Lives

Credit Gavid Bowy/flickr creative commons

Your kitchen cabinet glows and you simply open its doors and begin talking (on Skype) with a friend or relative you can see. (Think what this means for children and grandparents, no matter they live.)

This is the idea of David Rose, an inventor and instructor at the legendary MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His new book, Enchanted Objects, is a fascinating read, because it explains how technology, human desire, design, and purpose meet up to improve our lives.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Wed September 24, 2014

A Tribute to Twins!

Identical twins Lucy & Layla with their father, Roger, who is also an identical twin.
Credit Courtesy of The Defining Photo

Identical twins are just like us - and then they're not! From Ann Landers and Dear Abbey, from the Castro brothers, one of whom might be our first identical twin president one day, carbon-copy twins live lives that the rest of us cannot fathom.

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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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The Faith Middleton Show
12:19 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Seeing Stars in the Deepest Dark Location Reveals Wonders

Credit Robert Snache/flickr creative commons

Paul Bogard, the author of the paperback, The End of Night, went on a journey in search of something rare in America and Europe—true darkness. He wanted to have the jaw-dropping experience of looking up at the night sky to see uncountable stars and planets that we seldom see due to light pollution.

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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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Space Travel
4:37 am
Fri September 19, 2014

How NASA's New Spaceships Stack Up

The new capsules are being built by Boeing and SpaceX. They look similar, but there are differences.
SpaceX, The Boeing Company

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 10:24 pm

Earlier this week NASA announced that two private companies will build spaceships to take astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA hopes that both models will eventually be used by space tourists to get into orbit. Which got us wondering, which one would we rather fly in?

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Space Weather
12:15 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Solar Flare Could Trigger Auroras Tonight For Northern U.S.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captures Wednesday's solar flare eruption.
NASA/SDO

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 1:19 pm

Earth is in the line of fire of a powerful solar flare that has already begun hitting us, but most of the energy from the Coronal Mass Ejection, or CME, will skirt safely by, scientists say, with major disruptions to the electric grid, satellites and communications unlikely.

But if you're lucky — and far enough north — you might see a nice display of aurora borealis.

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

Bringing Space Closer to Home

View of the International Space Station from Space Shuttle Discovery.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Creative Commons

This hour, the final frontier comes closer to home. Waterbury native Richard Mastracchio is a NASA astronaut who just returned from six months on the International . He’s done nine space walks - leaving the space station, usually to do maintenance. He’ll talk about his experiences and his amazing twitter feed, full of photos from space.

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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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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Diverse, Durable, and Edible: Bamboo

Bamboo is one of the most versatile plants in the world.
Héctor García Creative Commons

Bamboo is a lot of things: fast growing, durable, edible, and attractive. Coming up, we take a look at this increasingly popular wood with bamboo experts and enthusiasts. What makes bamboo special?

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:59 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Napping at Work Makes Employees More Productive

Credit Takashi Hososhima/flickr creative commons

Studies show that power naps at work make us more productive. At the software giant Google's headquarters, employees are actually invited to nap in an area set up for this purpose.

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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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The Faith Middleton Show
8:17 am
Tue September 2, 2014

ADHD and Managing Emotions

Credit lord amit/flick creative commons

We focus this hour on one of the nation's most respected clinicians and researchers working with teens and adults who have ADHD. Dr. Thomas E. Brown is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, and Associate Director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders. (There is sometimes a link between ADHD and autism.)

Dr. Brown's new book, Smart but Stuck, looks at how managing emotions plays a key role in the lives of those with ADHD, including those who have high I.Q. scores.

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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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Science
4:12 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Night Of The Cemetery Bats

Big brown bats like this one are relatively common in urban areas, sometimes roosting in buildings. Contrary to popular belief, bats rarely carry rabies and are not rodents. They belong to the order Chiroptera, which means "hand-wing."
Courtesy of Robert Marquis

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 7:28 pm

I've visited St. Louis' Bellefontaine cemetery before, but never at night.

It's really dark. The looming trees are black against the sky, where a half-moon is just barely visible behind some clouds.

I can see eerie lights and strange, shadowy figures moving among the gravestones.

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