This Sunday, forget the BBQ and try constructing a balloon-powered sky-cam or folding some electronic origami. Ken Denmead, author of Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share, describes projects for science enthusiasts of all ages.
Geology surveys in Afghanistan don't just rely on the trusty map and hammer. John Brozena of the Naval Research Laboratory discusses how geologists there have mapped mineral deposits from planes carrying various sorts of cameras as well as gravity and magnetic sensors.
In The Fate of Nature, former Anchorage Daily News reporter Charles Wohlforth writes that cleaning up oil spills is impossible, saying they're merely the cost of doing business. But how much destruction will it take to persuade Americans to embrace energy alternatives?
The natural gas industry says hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," could supply the U.S. with domestic energy for almost 100 years. But environmentalists are worried it may not be safe. Josh Fox, the director of the new documentary Gasland, talks about the potential dangers of fracking.
Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan, discusses how the German physicist William Roentgen stumbled across the phenomenon of X-rays while playing with a cathode tube in his lab, and why Roentgen gave the electromagnetic beams the name "X-rays."
Host: Marc Pelletier Tackling problems of the heart with biotechnology. Guest: Julian Stelzer, Assistant Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, Case Western Reserve University We invite you to read, add to, and amend our show notes. Comments and suggestions on Futures in Biotech. For a...
Researchers studying the chemical makeup of the atmosphere around Saturn's moon Titan have detected imbalances that, some say, could be signs of life. Jonathan Lunine, a scientist on the Cassini mission to Saturn, says it's too soon to plan a solar-system-wide block party.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found flaws in how food allergies -- abnormal responses to foods triggered by the body's immune system -- are diagnosed. New guidelines on dealing with food allergies are scheduled for publication this fall.
James Bird estimates that he watched thousands of bubbles pop while he was getting his doctorate at Harvard University. With the help of high-speed cameras, he and his colleagues discovered that bubbles birth baby bubbles when they burst, with implications ranging from hot tubs to global climate.
Multitasking is a trademark of modern office work, but is it really more productive? Research suggests the brain is actually more efficient when focusing on one task at a time. Ira Flatow and guests discuss the benefits and drawbacks of multitasking, and ways to limit distractions.
In The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind, New York Times health and medical science editor Barbara Strauch writes about ways the brain actually improves with age, and discusses what recent studies say about keeping the brain in tip-top shape.
Human-animal hybrids have been a part of mythology for millennia. But what if it were actually possible to create half-human creatures in the lab? Vincenzo Natali, director and screenwriter of the science fiction film Splice, talks about the ethics of splicing human and animal DNA.
Two research papers out this week tackle breast cancer prevention. A study in Nature Medicine describes a possible cancer vaccine; the other, in The Lancet, looks at the influence of lifestyle on genes. Immunologist Vincent Tuohy and oncologist Cliff Hudis explain the work.
For as common as lightning is, scientists have yet to completely understand what causes it. Physicist and lightning researcher Joseph Dwyer is learning more about lightning by causing lightning strikes and recording the X-rays and gamma rays that the lightning produces.
After a string of engineering failures, the most consistent mitigation strategy for the oil spill has been dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of potentially toxic dispersant into the Gulf. Ira Flatow and guests discuss whether scientists should be able to provide better solutions.