Wikimedia Commons

For a few moments, one of the world’s foremost experts on gravity was free of it. His smile -- and his eyes -- couldn’t have been brighter.

There aren't very many scientists who achieved rock star status. Stephen Hawking, who has died at the age of 76, family members told British media early Wednesday, was definitely a contender.

Alice Collins Plebuch

Unearthing family history -- one saliva sample at a time.

This hour: how low-cost DNA testing helped spawn an industry and, with it, a new wave of genealogical sleuthing.

Ancestry.com, 23andMe, Family Tree DNA -- how far are you willing to go and how much are you willing to spend to better understand your roots? 

Arthur Caranta / Flickr

They may not look like R2D2 or BB8, but in 2018, robots are an important part of our world.

This hour we talk about ​automation—new advances in “smart” technology during a period of time that’s been dubbed the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

yardenxanthe / flickr

Slime is not something we often think about. But there are plenty of reasons why that should probably change: From the theory that life on Earth may have have first emerged from a primordial ooze, to the current slime-making craze that's sweeping the internet.

Roman Vanur / flickr creative commons

Consciousness has been an elusive enigma for philosophers and scientists alike for about as long as there've been philosophers and scientists.

And, while it's long been thought that artificial intelligence would bring us the next big breakthroughs in our understanding of consciousness, A.I. authority David Gelernter has a different idea entirely.

He looks for answers to these fundamental questions in, instead... literature.

Before a screening of "Black Panther," artist Martha Walker-Dawkins paints the face of Zaniah Welsh, a fourth-grader at West Hartford's Smith STEM School. Engineer David Johnson sponsored the event to inspire students.
Vanessa de la Torre / WNPR

As a child in the Midwest, David Johnson said he dreamed of becoming an engineer.

Christel Øverland Preteni / flickr creative commons

humor = tragedy + time

Okay, but then the logical next question is: How much time?

If it's okay, at this point, to joke about, say, The Spanish Inquisition... what about, for instance, the Holocaust? Or AIDS? September 11th? The #MeToo movement?


"Starman" in Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster with Earth in the background
SpaceX / Flickr

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made history in February when his Falcon Heavy rocket launched a red Tesla convertible into outer space. In the driver seat is a dummy astronaut dubbed “Starman” who’s now flying through space, orbiting the sun.

Aequorea victoria
Sierra Blakely / Wikimedia Commons

Did you know 75 percent of animals in the ocean glow?

Andrew Wilkinson / flickr

The history of mazes and labyrinths spans thousands of years. From Bronze Age stone carvings, to Medieval gardens, to modern-day laboratories, these elaborate designs continue to be used for a variety of reasons and in some surprising places.

Gordon / flickr creative commons

Federal regulatory requirements mandate* that all public media outlets occasionally devote significant air time to the health and welfare of bees.

mslavick / flickr creative commons

We've been trying to push this show out for quite a while now. It's been a bit of a strain, and we got kind of backed up.

But, this hour, we let loose a long look at... constipation.

It should be a big relief for everyone involved.

Mike Licht / Creative Commons

Acceptance for medical marijuana is growing among people who swear by marijuana's power to relieve their ills. Older people are choosing marijuana for their aches and pains, parents are moving to states where marijuana is legal for children with seizure disorders, even pet owners are using pot to ease their pup's pain.  It's currently legal in 28 states with several more on deck.

Thor_Deichmann / Pixabay

Home DNA kits like 23andMe or Ancestry are a fun way to learn about your family and your own body. But what happens when exploring your genome uncovers disturbing information about your health?