Benjamin Franklin was a printer, politician, diplomat and journalist. But, despite only two years of schooling, he was also an ingenious scientist. Nobel Prize-winning chemist Dudley Herschbach and Franklin biographer Philip Dray discuss the achievements of America's first great scientist.
The sun has cycles -- periods of high activity, when it has a lot of sunspots, and low activity, when things on the surface seem calm. NASA astronomer David Hathaway says activity is unusually low right now. A new solar observatory may shine light on the mystery.
Reporting in the journal Science, researchers write of finding certain sets of genes that are more common in centenarians than in the average population. Study author Dr. Thomas Perls, founder and director of the New England Centenarian Study, discusses the results.
Onions and garlic have evolved chemical weapons to protect themselves from predation and disease. In his book Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science, chemist Eric Block describes that intricate chemistry, and writes of alliums in kitchens, medicine cabinets and opera houses.
For the next few weeks, Venus, Saturn and Mars move closer together in the night sky, culminating in what astronomers call a "trio" in early August. The Hayden Planetarium's Joe Rao describes where to find the planets, and other night sky sights to look out for this summer.
Hosts: Marc Pelletier and George W. Farr, Ph.D., vice president of biochemistry and biophysics at Aeromics and adjunct professor of physiology and biophysics at Case Western Reserve University "Blended Rabbits, Bearded Crystals, and Protein Crystallography." Dr. Alexander McPherson...
Anthropologist Yohannes Haile-Selassie talks about a recently unearthed Australopithecus afarensis skeleton nicknamed "Kadanuumuu." He says the individual predates "Lucy" by about 400,000 years, and that the bones suggest upright walking originated earlier than previously thought.
Laura Niklason engineered working lungs in the lab by stripping the cells from rat lungs and repopulating the remaining structure with fresh cells. Don Ingber created a "lung on a chip," which mimics the chemistry and mechanics of a working lung and could be used for drug testing.
Reporting in Science, researchers describe how the sense of touch influences the mind's judgments and decision-making processes. John Bargh, a professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale, discusses the findings, including why sitting on a hard wooden chair may turn people into...
A full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope, the planned successor to Hubble, is on the circuit -- making appearances at science conferences and festivals. Science Friday caught up with the observatory and spoke to its handlers in New York City's Battery Park.
The House last night passed a measure to prevent a 21-percent cut in Medicare fees paid to doctors, at least for the next 6 months. Dr. Michael Newman, a Washington DC-area physician explains how the yearly threat of cuts affects his practice and patients.
Fourteen states now allow marijuana smoking for medical purposes, and more states are deciding whether or not to do the same. Ira Flatow and guests look at the research on inhaled marijuana as a medication and discuss whether or not doctors should be prescribing pot smoking.
In what seems like an unlikely turn of events, "geek" has suddenly gone chic. Last week, Science Friday wondered if there should be a new word for geek, one without a hip connotation, and asked listeners to weigh in. After combing through the submissions, we reveal the top terms.
Researchers say they've created nano-sized antibodies out of chemical components and used them to clear a toxin injected into mice. The antibodies latched on to and "disarmed" the toxin in much the same way natural antibodies do. Chemist Kenneth Shea describes the work.
Airships were once the giants of the skies. They were soaring before the airplane and were used as the first strategic bombers in World War I. What happened? Blimp technology has come a long way since the Hindenburg. Ira Flatow and guests discuss airships of the past and future.