Science

Pages

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.

Read more
Mental Health
12:03 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Can You Relate to a Sociopath?

Credit Kevin Hutchinson / Creative Commons

"What is your value to the world or to anything if you're not useful?" asked M.E. Thomas, a self-proclaimed sociopath, and author of Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight, on The Colin McEnroe Show Thursday. She continued, "It gets to the fundamental question of what makes humanity valuable, and why we should treat anyone as a person."

Read more
Meteors
7:49 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

The Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Overnight

A Perseid meteor streaks across the sky over the Lovell Radio Telescope in Holmes Chapel, U.K., on Aug. 13, 2013.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 12:53 am

The annual Perseid meteor shower will streak the sky Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. The best time to watch is between 3 and 4 a.m., for all time zones across the world, NASA says.

"This year, light from a nearly full moon will make the meteors harder to see, but NASA says you can still expect around 30 to 40 per hour," reports NPR's Geoff Brumfiel.

Brumfiel spoke with Rhiannon Blaauw of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office for shower-watching tips:

Read more
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.

Read more
The Faith Middleton Show
11:00 am
Thu August 7, 2014

The New Science of Building Brain Power

Credit aJ Gazmen/flickr creative commons

For over a century, IQ scores have been viewed by scientists as placing an upper limit on what a person can ever achieve: a cognitive glass ceiling, a number tattooed on the soul.

Shattering decades of that kind of dogma, scientists began publishing studies in 2008 showing that “fluid intelligence”—the ability to learn, solve novel problems, and get to the heart of things—can be increased through training. But is it all just hype?

Read more
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.

Read more
Space
4:45 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

In Quest To Harpoon A Comet, A Spacecraft Stalks Its Prey

The Rosetta spacecraft took this image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 4 August 2014 from a distance of just 145 miles.
ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 9:47 am

Tomorrow morning, a European space probe will arrive at a comet with a tongue-twister of a name: Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Getting there has been proven even trickier than pronouncing it.

The Rosetta spacecraft began its journey way back in March of 2004.

First it swung past Earth to gather speed. Then it catapulted out to Mars, for a boost from that planet's gravity field. Then in 2007, it came back to Earth for another push — then back out to an asteroid, and back to Earth.

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
11:30 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Why Imagination Matters in Childhood

Technology can rewire your brain.
Credit digitalbob8/flickr creative commons

What happens in our early childhood has a lot to do with how we develop as humans. Dr. Paul Harris researches the role the imagination plays in helping children grow into healthy adolescents. He says we tend to think of the imagination as something divorced from reality, when in fact it is deeply intertwined with how we determine reality from fantasy.

Read more
The Faith Middleton Show
10:26 am
Tue August 5, 2014

The Science of When We Laugh and Why

Credit Chris Huggins/flickr creative commons

Humor, like pornography, is famously difficult to define. We know it when we see it, but is there a way to figure out what we really find funny—and why?

Read more
Ocean Life
1:29 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Deep Sea Octopus Brooded Over Eggs Longer Than Any Animal, Says URI Researcher

Researchers estimated that this octopus brooded over 160 eggs.
© 2007 MBARI

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 11:09 am

Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the University of Rhode Island published surprising findings of a deep sea octopus that guarded her eggs for 4-½ years. This is the longest brooding period ever recorded by any animal on the planet.

Read more
Vision Quest
8:57 am
Mon August 4, 2014

How Do You Give an Eye Exam to a Fossil?

The fossil of Acutiramus cummingsi was remarkably well preserved, allowing scientists to gauge the vision of a creature that lived hundreds of millions of years ago.
Yale University

How do you give an eye exam to a creature that's been extinct for hundreds of millions of years? First, you need a fossil -- a really well-preserved fossil.

Read more
Playtime!
12:07 pm
Sun August 3, 2014

Lego Releases Female Scientists Set, May Appease 7-Year-Old Critic

A product image shows the new Research Institute playset from Lego, which features women in roles as three scientists. In January, the company was criticized by a girl who said all its female characters were "boring."
Lego

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 7:36 am

Months after a girl took the company to task for its female toy figures, Lego has released the Research Institute, a play set created by a "real-life geophysicist, Ellen Kooijman," the company says.

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
12:06 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Handwriting Is So Yesterday

Lisa M Lanno on the Colin McEnroe Show.
Chion Wolff

The death of handwriting could be viewed as the end of a tyranny. Especially for those of us who were unable to learn penmanship. That includes me. I’m pretty sure that no teacher I ever had got training in how to teach cursive to a left handed person for whom the process really is radically different. I arrived at college to find halls full of desks from which a small writing area protruded from the right side. I often took two hour exams at those desks, scrawling essay question answers in a blue book with my body twisted around uncomfortably.

Read more
Shape of the Moon
11:58 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Scientists Say The Moon Is Hiding A Lumpy Middle

The full moon rises above the castle of Somoskoujfalu, northeast of Budapest, Hungary, earlier this month.
Peter Komka AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 2:48 pm

What shape is the moon? When it's full, we'd all agree that it looks perfectly round. But careful measurements by a team of scientists have shown that's not the case.

Like many an Earth-bound observer, it turns out that our nearest neighbor in space is hiding a slight bulge around the waist. It's less like a ball and more like a squashed sphere, with a lump on one side.

Read more
Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 31, 2014

One for the Birds of Connecticut

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.

Read more
The Faith Middleton Show
10:59 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Dreamland, a Cruise Through the Science of Sleep

Credit Jonf728/flickr creative commons

Science still can't say for sure why we need sleep, though we spend a third of our lives asleep, or trying to sleep. Those trying to sleep include the millions who have some sort of sleep issue, from insomnia to over-sleeping.

Read more
Science
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Shifts In Habitat May Threaten Ruddy Shorebird's Survival

Guided by biologists, volunteers briefly catch, band and release some of Delaware's visiting red knots each spring to monitor the health of the species.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 12:01 pm

An intrepid bird called the red knot migrates from the southern tip of South America to the Arctic and back every year. But changes in climate along its route are putting this ultramarathoner at risk.

Read more
Skeeters
9:49 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Staging a War Against West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis

The state announed mosquitoes trapped in East Haven on July 16, 2014 have tested positive for WNV.
Johnan J.Ingles-Le Nobel Flickr Creative Commons

Mosquitoes trapped in East Haven are the first this year to test positive for West Nile Virus.

Read more
View From Up Here
8:16 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Monitoring Marine Life in the Atlantic, From Water and From Orbit

The Research Vessel Endeavor is the floating laboratory that scientists will use for the ocean-going portion of the SABOR field campaign this summer.
Tom Glennon University of Rhode Island

NASA has begun a new experiment to monitor plankton off the Atlantic coast using boats, airplanes, and satellites.

Read more
Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri July 18, 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.

Read more
Laboratories
3:36 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Head Scientist At CDC Weighs Costs Of Recent Lab Safety Breaches

The CDC's director, Tom Frieden, testified before a congressional subcommittee Wednesday regarding a recent anthrax incident and lab safety improvements he is instituting.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 10:40 am

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is on the hot seat.

It all started in mid-June, when the CDC announced that dozens of its scientists might have accidentally been exposed to anthrax.

Read more
Photographing Physics
9:30 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Ocean Waves As You Have Never Seen Them Before

A large wave on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, sucks sand off of the seafloor and into the wave itself. This photo is the cover image of Clark Little's latest coffee table book, Shorebreak.
Clark Little

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:33 am

Clark Little photographs ocean waves.

Read more
Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Everything You Want to Know About Turtles

Red-eared slider.
Catie Talarski

There are currently some 57 turtle species living in the United States and Canada, 12 of which can be found right here in Connecticut -- including some sea turtles!

Chances are, you’ve probably seen a few of them poking around a nearby pond or basking on some sunlit rocks. Perhaps you’ve even rescued a few from the peril of oncoming traffic.

But there’s a lot more to these terrestrial critters than meets the eye.

Read more
Ancient Giants
9:06 am
Mon July 14, 2014

This Ancient Bird Had the Largest Wingspan Ever

Pelagornis sandersi was an ancient marine bird with a wingspan nearly twice as large as anything living today.
Reconstruction Art by Liz Bradford

An extinct species of bird just discovered may have had the largest wingspan ever. The animal lived 25 million years ago and was found buried at an airport.

Read more
From Birdcalls to Beantown
1:50 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

This Week on WNPR: Five Things Not to Miss

Hummingbird? Or Dinosaur?
The British Library Creative Commons

There's lots of news to digest this week, from birdcalls to Beantown. Below are a few things you shouldn't miss.

Read more
Health care innovation
11:48 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Forum Explores Innovation as a Way to Improve Nation's Health Care System

The speed of sequencing genes has increased by six orders of magnitude in the last 25 years, according to Dr. Edison Liu.
Credit The Jackson Laboratory

Connecticut Congressman John Larson sponsored a health care forum on Monday at the legislative office building in Hartford. 

"Improving Our Health Care System Through Science and Innovation" was a chance for a panel of prominent health care leaders to tout how innovations in their area of expertise are saving lives and pulling down the cost of health care.

Read more
Disease
1:41 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Smallpox Virus Found In Unsecured NIH Lab

Not something you'd want to find: Smallpox viruses infect a cell.
Science Source

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 12:10 pm

Scientists cleaning out an old laboratory on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., last week came across a startling discovery: vials labeled "variola" — in other words, smallpox.

Under international convention, there are supposed to be only two stashes of this deadly virus: one at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and another at a similar facility in Russia.

The CDC swooped in to collect the vials and carted them off to a secure lab at its Atlanta headquarters.

Read more
The Faith Middleton Show
10:51 am
Mon July 7, 2014

ADHD and Managing Emotions

Credit FutUndBeidl/flickr 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.

Read more
The Faith Middleton Show
1:33 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

How Personality Shapes Our Lives

Credit Willi Heidelbach/flickr creative commons

Respected researcher and psychologist John Mayer says we can become the best version of ourselves by building our “personal intelligence” to understand ourselves and perceive what makes others tick.

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
10:02 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Can Technology Save the World?

Wendell Wallach is the Chair of Technology & Ethics at the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics
Chion Wolf

Let's take the most dire problem facing humankind: Climate change has so many negative implications it would take all day to list them. Meanwhile, there's the possibility of a sudden acceleration of a problem caused by the melting of Arctic ice, which exposes more ocean water to warming, which causes more melting, which causes more...well, you get the picture.

Read more

Pages