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Science

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We're losing about 22,000 square miles of Arctic ice every week, the Great Barrier Reef - which dates back to the start of civilization - is rapidly dying, fires from heat and dryness are burning in Canada and California, and recent floods in Baton Rouge, Louisiana killed thirteen people and damaged the homes of 40,000 and counting. And let's not forget that our last three summers have been the hottest on record - EVER.  Is it time for America to mobilize our collective force into halting climate change with the same collective force we used to halt Hitler in World War II? 

Typically superheroes spend their summertime helming big budget franchises for movie studios. This year, with blockbuster season winding down and schools opening their doors, Marvel's following up its summer at the multiplex by giving its superheroes a new assignment.

K Kendall / Creative Commons

For most of time, microbes ruled the planet alone. Microbes have been around for billions of years - long before people ever began to inhabit the earth.  Am I giving you a good picture of how small humans are in this grander view of life? 

Jeng_Niamwhan/iStock / Thinkstock

Why are some people more susceptible to addiction than others? How does genetic makeup influence a person’s chances of becoming an addict? This hour, we find out how researchers at Yale University and The Jackson Laboratory are working to better understand the science of addiction. 

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As the men of Apollo 11 returned home to ticker tape parades, the women who made their journey possible worked quietly behind the scenes. Since its founding in 1958, NASA has been heavily reliant on the skills of such women, many of whom have gone unrecognized for their bravery and hard work.

Georg Aumer / Flickr

What can you say about the sun? It sits not only at the center of our solar system but has, over time, been at the center of religions, scriptures, songs, art and countless other aspects of our culture.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Modern biologists catch and study fish much the same way they did centuries ago: by shoving their hands, or a net, into the water and pulling fish out. But safely catching slippery fish can be tricky, which makes one piece of gear invaluable: electro-backpacks. 

The federal government announced plans Thursday to lift a moratorium on funding of certain controversial experiments that use human stem cells to create animal embryos that are partly human.

The National Institutes of Health is proposing a new policy to permit scientists to get federal money to make embryos, known as chimeras, under certain carefully monitored conditions.

Luke Aikins on Saturday became the first skydiver to jump from a plane without a parachute or wingsuit and live to tell the story.

Ken and Nyetta / Creative Commons

This hour, we look at the impact of climate change on New England's native plant and animal species. We talk with scientists and science journalists, and we hear from you. Have you noticed anything different about the flora and fauna in your backyard? And what can historical records -- like the observations of naturalist Henry David Thoreau -- teach us about our changing environment? 

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

No one likes a cloudy sky. A cloud on the horizon is seen as a harbinger of doom. We feel like clouds need to have silver linings.

But here's our thesis: Clouds are unfairly maligned.

'Clone Sisters' Of Dolly The Sheep Are Alive And Kicking

Jul 26, 2016

About four years ago, Kevin Sinclair inherited an army of clones. Very fluffy clones.

"Daisy, Debbie, Denise and Diana," says Sinclair, a developmental biologist at the University of Nottingham in England.

The sheep are just four of 13 clones Sinclair shepherds, but they're the most famous because of their relation to Dolly, the sheep that made headlines two decades ago as the first successfully cloned mammal.

The first time he encountered a tiger shark in the water, marine ecologist Neil Hammerschlag was in the Bahamas conducting research. His team was on a boat and hadn't seen many sharks, so when someone yelled, "Tiger shark!" he grabbed his snorkel gear and camera and jumped into the water.

"One [tiger shark] moved right in toward me and came close," Hammerschlag tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "It opened its mouth, and I was looking through its mouth down its gut and seeing its gills from the inside."

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

Wikimedia Commons - NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

We’re humans, so we tend to think -- not surprisingly -- about Earth first. 

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

No one likes a cloudy sky. A cloud on the horizon is seen as a harbinger of doom. We feel like clouds need to have silver linings.

But here's our thesis: Clouds are unfairly maligned.

Updated 1:40 a.m. ET with Juno orbit maneuver

After a nearly five-year journey, NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft achieved orbit around Jupiter on Monday night. Juno navigated a tricky maneuver — including slowing by around 1,212 mph — to insert itself into orbit in what NASA calls "the king of our solar system."

At 11:18 p.m. ET, Juno transmitted a radio signal to Earth that meant its main engine had switched on. It stayed on for 35 minutes, placing Juno into exactly the orbit that mission managers had planned for.

Thegreatlandoni / flickr creative commons

From scientists to fiction writers, conspiracy theorists to theologians, aliens have captured the imagination of us all. But as we ponder the possibilities let us pause to ask ourselves why.

Why do these yet to be found creatures from space occupy such a central role in the musings of so many? And should their existence be confirmed, what will it mean for us on Earth?

Betty Wants In / flickr creative commons

Since its discovery in 1900, adrenaline and pop-culture have gone hand-in-hand. From extreme sports, to the latest energy drinks, to pulse pounding Hollywood blockbusters, the rush of this hormone is portrayed in countless ways.

But these portrayals seldom tell the whole story. So what exactly is adrenaline, and why does our society seem so keen on celebrating it?

WNPR/David DesRoches

It was one of those days that will stick with 14-year-old Lucca Riccio. 

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This weekend, nearly 200 scientists joined up with members of the public in a 24-hour race to identify as many plant and animal species as possible. It's called a "BioBlitz."

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How do we define intelligence? Where does it come from, and what roles do genetics and environment play in its development? We live in a world that values different types of intelligence subjectively -- and we watch as those values shift in accordance with changing cultural attitudes. 

Wikimedia Commons

Mosquito-testing season has begun in Connecticut and public health officials have added a new virus to their monitoring list this year: Zika. 

Joanna Gilkeson / USFWS / Creative Commons

Every year, monarch butterflies make an amazing journey from Canada and New England all the way down to Mexico.

Ian Sane / Creative Commons

Most of us have heard that our bodies need eight cups of water every day to stay healthy and hydrated. Some think that's the minimum we should drink to prevent the chronic dehydration that doesn't trigger the usual warnings of dryness, like thirst.  

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