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Sep. 12, 2014

Keeping an Eye on Eruptions Around the World

At least 20 volcanoes are probably erupting as you read these words.

volcanoes, volcanism, Cynthia Ebinger, Elizabeth Cottrell, Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program

Sep. 12, 2014

A Jovian Moon With Earth-Like Tectonics

The icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa may undergo processes similar to plate tectonics on Earth.

europa, moon, jovian, plate tectonics, ice

Sep. 12, 2014

Understanding the Urban Ecosystem

Researchers say road salt and dissolving concrete have contributed to increased salinization in urban streams.

Sujay Kaushal, William McDowell, urban ecosystem, urban environment, city, cities

Sep. 12, 2014

Can Conservation Efforts Save the Birds?

A look at the effects of conservation efforts and climate change on bird populations in North America.

birds, gary langham, audubon, ken rosenberg, national audubon society, cornell lab of ornithology, climate change

Sep. 12, 2014

After 40 Years, a Blue Whale Population Bounces Back

Blue whale populations are only a fraction of what they once were globally, but a California population has nearly made a comeback.

blue whales, comeback, california blue whales

Sep. 12, 2014

The Science of ‘Sameness’: Developing Generic Medications

As of 2010, generic drugs comprise almost 80 percent of the American pharmaceutical market, compared to 10 percent in 1960.

sameness, generic medications, generics, Generic: The Unbranding of Modern Medicine, jeremy a. greene

Sep. 05, 2014

Supermassive Dinosaur Would Have ‘Feared Nothing’

Scientists estimate the dinosaur Dreadnoughtus schrani would have weighed as much as a Boeing 737.

Kenneth Lacovara, Dreadnoughtus schrani, dinosaur, dinosaurs, land lizards, thunder lizard, dino, massive, supermassive

Sep. 05, 2014

To Master Test Material, Give Your Brain a Break

Salvador Dalí and Thomas Edison took very brief naps when they were stuck on artistic and scientific problems.

Barbara Oakley, Benedict Carey, how we learn, a mind for numbers, learning, brain, thinking, diffuse learning focused learning

Sep. 05, 2014

The Wilderness Act Turns 50

Fifty years ago this week, legislation set aside over nine million acres of official wilderness.

wilderness act, lyndon johnson, greg aplet

Sep. 05, 2014

From Exotic Garden to Eco-Haven

A former millionaire's estate is becoming an environmental haven and training ground.

duke farms, restoration, new jersey, environment

Sep. 05, 2014

Hello, Stranger, Wanna Share a Cab?

Researchers found that potentially 95 percent of cab rides in New York City could have been shared.

cab sharing, steven strogatz

Sep. 05, 2014

Randall Munroe Asks, ‘What If?’

In his new book What If?, xkcd comic artist Randall Munroe answers his reader’s hypothetical questions with math and science.

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, randall munroe, xkcd, comics, cartoons

Aug. 29, 2014

Experimental Therapy Saves Monkeys From Deadly Dose of Ebola

ZMapp, the cocktail of antibodies used to treat two American aid workers infected with the Ebola virus, spared 18 severely ill monkeys from death.

zmapp, anthony fauci, ebola, outbreak, ebola outbreak, medicine, cure

Aug. 29, 2014

Unraveling the Mysteries of Black Holes

High energy x-rays provide a rare glimpse into the behavior of black holes.

Fiona Harrison, nustar, black hole

Aug. 29, 2014

Electric Bacteria Form Nanowires, Shoot Out Electrons

USC's Moh El-Naggar says engineers hope to harness bacterial energy using fuel cells.

Aug. 29, 2014

Less Flashy Fossils Offer Paleoclimate Clues

Uncharismatic microfauna, such as insects and mollusks, are giving scientists at La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles a glimpse of the city's cool, humid past.

la brea tar pits, mastodons, john harris, mammoth, saber-toothed cat

Aug. 29, 2014

From the Lab to the Silver Screen: The Birth of CGI

Animator Tom Sito explains how scientists and engineers kickstarted Hollywood’s digital animation revolution.

tom sito, digital animation, CGI

Aug. 29, 2014

Science in the Writers’ Room

Hollywood T.V. and film writers explain how they balance scientific accuracy and storytelling.

grey's anatomy, an inconvenient truth, the big bang theory

Aug. 29, 2014

Making Hollywood’s Digital Doubles

Now that Hollywood’s visual effects wizards can create convincing “digital actors,” will we still need the real thing?

avatar, digital actor, digital acting, stephen lang, paul Debevec

Aug. 22, 2014

Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Send Messages to Your Brain?

Researchers discuss how the microbiome might play a role in anxiety, depression, and autism.

microbiome, sarkis mazmanian, jon cryan, brain, depression, anxiety, autism

Aug. 22, 2014

Microbes Thrive in Antarctic Lake Buried Beneath Ice

Microbes have made a home in a lake trapped beneath an 800-meter-thick ice sheet in Antarctica.

Antarctic ice, microbes, jill mikucki, lake whillans

Aug. 22, 2014

The SciFri Book Club Talks ‘Dune’

The SciFri Book Club concludes its discussion of Frank Herbert’s ecological epic, Dune.

dune, frank herbert, Sara Imari Walker, Kim Stanley Robinson

Aug. 22, 2014

Oceans Act As the World's Thermostat

Global temperatures hit a plateau at the turn of the 21st century. Now researchers say they've discovered where that missing heat was hiding: in the oceans.

oceans, climate change, sea level rise

Aug. 22, 2014

Making ‘Masstransiscope’

A filmmaker uses science to transform the New York City subway into a movie theater.

Masstransiscope, film, art, sciarts

Aug. 22, 2014

Neanderthals and Modern Humans Mingled for Millennia

New, more accurate radiocarbon dating suggests the two cultures co-existed in Europe for nearly 5,000 years.

william davies, neanderthals, modern humans

Aug. 22, 2014

‘Evolutionary Misfit’ Finds Its Way Into the Family Tree

Scientists piece together how a 14-legged Cambrian worm is related to modern animals.

Hallucigenia sparsa, cambrian sea, cambria, martin smith

Aug. 22, 2014

Tar Noir

Using paleoforensics, researchers recount the grim details of life and death at the the La Brea Tar Pits.

l.a. tar, paleoforensics, la brea tar pits

Aug. 15, 2014

Close-Up With a Comet

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft is the first probe to orbit a comet.

67P/C-G, comet 67P/C-G, comets, probe, Rosetta spacecraft, esa, solar system

Aug. 15, 2014

Is Healthy Soil the Low-Tech Solution to Climate Change?

In her book The Soil Will Save Us, writer Kristin Ohlson concludes that the low-cost, low-tech solution to climate change may be directly underfoot—in healthy soil.

Kristin Ohlson, the soil will save us, soil, dirt, carbon, climate change, sequestration, nutrients, plants

Aug. 15, 2014

Decoding Secret Communication Between Plants

A new study in Science says that certain parasitic plants spy on their hosts through RNA exchanges.

james westwood, plants, communication, platn communication, molecules, rna

Aug. 15, 2014

App Chat: Being Social Without Leaving a Trace

A growing number of apps allow users to post ephemeral or anonymous messages—and they're catching on quickly with millennials.

ellis hamburger, app chat, snapchat, Secret, Whisper, Yik Yak,

Aug. 15, 2014

Food Failures: Concocting Condiments

Culinary scientist Ali Bouzari dips into the chemistry behind condiments, from hot sauce to mustard.

food failures, condiments, hot sauce, mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, mayo

Aug. 15, 2014

Sylvia Earle’s ‘Mission Blue’

Oceanographer Sylvia Earle bears witness to troubling changes in our oceans in the documentary Mission Blue.

mission blue, sylvia earle, oceans, ocean acidification, coral reefs, fisheries

Aug. 15, 2014

Bridging the Rift: Oculus' Answer to Virtual Reality

Technological and design innovations inside the Oculus Rift make virtual reality poised for a mass-market debut.

oculus rift, virtual reality, vr, tron, the matrix, headsets

Aug. 08, 2014

Listening In on Elephant ‘Mating Pandemonium’

In a “mating pandemonium” event, a group of elephants roar after a pair of elephants mate.

elephants, thermal imaging, peter wrege, mating, pandemonium, elephant listening project

Aug. 08, 2014

Behind the Scenes at the City Morgue

Forensic pathologist Judy Melinek’s memoir Working Stiff goes behind the scenes at the New York City morgue.

medical examiner, death, investigation, working stiff, judy melinek, morgue

Aug. 08, 2014

Giving Viruses a License to Kill...Cancer

Scientists transform common viruses like measles and herpes into potential cancer treatments.

cancer, virus, herpes, measles, balveen kaur, stephen russell

Aug. 08, 2014

Can an Experimental Therapy Be Used to Treat Ebola?

A look at the experimental therapy used to treat two Americans who were infected with Ebola.

ebola, virus, west africa, therapy, serum, experimental medicine, heinz feldmann, disease

Aug. 08, 2014

"Lucy" Debunked

A neurobiologist reveals sci-fi thriller Lucy’s neuroscience bloopers.

lucy, movie, film, sci-fi, fiction, neuroscience, brain, neurobiology, r. douglas fields

Aug. 08, 2014

Close Your Eyes and Listen to the Night Sky

If the bright “supermoon” drowns out the Perseid meteor shower this year, why not listen for meteors instead?

supermoon, perseid meteor shower, meteor shower, nicole gugliucci, radio, astronomy

Aug. 08, 2014

Can Science Build a Better Piano?

Scientists have created a 3D acoustical scan of the piano's resonance—and say it could help refine the art of piano-making.

piano, music, instrument, wally boot, agnieszka roginska, music technology, alex case, steinway, bob berger, bill youse

Aug. 08, 2014

Algorithm Turns Everyday Objects Into Microphones

Sound waves trigger tiny vibrations in objects. By studying the vibrations, researchers can recreate the sounds that caused them.

abe davis, sound, sound waves, vibration, high-speed video, visual microphone

Aug. 01, 2014

Ebola Outbreak Continues in West Africa

Ebola specialist Daniel Bausch provides an on-the-ground view of treating the disease in West Africa.

world health organization, ebola, virus, disease, africa, tulane university, daniel bausch

Aug. 01, 2014

How Ultramarathons Affect the Heart, Blood, and Brain

Exercise scientists Tamara Hew-Butler and Greg Whyte talk about how the body changes after dozens of hours in motion.

ultramarathon, running, health, tamara hew-butler, greg whyte, exercise, heart

Aug. 01, 2014

Can Animals Go Mad?

From depressed dogs to anxious gorillas, author Laurel Braitman explores mental illness in animals.

animals, pets, depression, mental health, animal madness, laurel braitman

Aug. 01, 2014

Tapping Into Musical Memory

A new documentary, Alive Inside, exposes the connections between music and memory.

alive inside, oliver sacks, dan cohen, music, memory, play, alzheimer's, dementia

Aug. 01, 2014

Can’t Stop Worrying? Blame It on Your Habenula

The habenula is a pea-sized part of the brain that tracks our expectations of negative events.

habenula, rebecca lawson, worry, dread

Aug. 01, 2014

Will Big Data Answer Big Questions on Health?

Google's latest big idea is called "Baseline Study"—an effort to catalog the DNA of thousands of healthy people, along with their blood, urine, saliva, breath, and tears.

DNA, sam gambhir, jason moore, baseline study, google

Jul. 25, 2014

Mosquito-Borne Viruses Raise Public Health Concern

This summer, two different and currently untreatable mosquito-borne viruses were identified on the East Coast.

Roxanne Rutledge Connelly, mosquitoes, mosquito, Eastern equine encephalitis, Chikungunya, insects, infection, virus

Jul. 25, 2014

A Newly Discovered Virus That Lives in Our Gut

Researchers discovered a virus that lives in the gut of half of the world’s population.

bacteriophage, virus, gut, obesity, disease, diabetes, robert edwards

Jul. 25, 2014

What’s the Real Cost of Your Steak?

Cattle require 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water than eggs or poultry.

steak, beef, cattle, usda, water, land, environment, geophysics, gidon eshel

Jul. 25, 2014

The SciFri Book Club Introduces Dune

Sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson and astrobiologist Sara Imari Walker introduce the SciFri Book Club’s summer selection: Dune.

dune, frank herbert, sci-fi, scifi, Kim Stanley Robinson, Sara Imari Walker

Jul. 25, 2014

New Online Tracking Tool Evades Privacy Settings

A new online tracker is snooping on visitors to over 5,600 popular sites—and it's nearly impossible to block.

cookie, online, tracking, website, julia angwin, propublica, security

Jul. 25, 2014

HIV/AIDS Update

A round-up of the latest HIV/AIDS research news and an update from the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

truvada, hiv, aids, anthony fauci, antonio urbina, world health organization

Jul. 25, 2014

‘Moth-ers’ Celebrate Less-Loved Lepidopterans

Elena Tartaglia, a co-founder of National Moth Week, gives tips on spotting butterflies' neglected cousins.

moth week, national moth week, butterflies, Elena Tartaglia

Jul. 25, 2014

Oarfish: The Ultimate Fish Tale

Little is known about the monstrously long oarfish, its life cycle, and how it navigates its deep sea environment.

oarfish, sea, ocean, serpent, misty paig-tran

Jul. 18, 2014

Scientists Call Whales the ‘Engineers’ of the Ocean Ecosystem

Whales stabilize the ocean ecosystem through a mechanism scientists call the “whale pump,” or fecal plumes.

whales, sperm, balleen, cetaceans, fecal pump, plume, ocean, ecosystem

Jul. 18, 2014

Pacemaker Researchers Swap Batteries for Biology

With gene therapy, scientists reprogram pig heart cells to improve heartbeat.

Eduardo Marbán, heart, pacemaker

Jul. 18, 2014

Fashioning the Future

A scientist and a designer imagine fashion’s high-tech future.

fashion, future, Adafruit Industries, Becky Stern, Juan Hinestroza, wearable tech

Jul. 18, 2014

Smarty Pants: Testing the Quality of Textiles

Confidence in how well our garments suit us shouldn't be taken for granted—we owe much to textile quality assurance.

Sean Cormier, fit, fashion institute of technology, textiles, clothing, fashion, wearables, garments

Jul. 18, 2014

As California Dries Up, Locals Hope for El Niño

A third of California is now clenched by exceptional drought, and this week the state announced $500 fines for water-wasters. But many residents continue to hope for rain.

drought, california, exceptional drought, water, wasting water, jpl, Jay Famiglietti, el nino, El Niño, molly peterson, Southern California Public Radio, Indiana University

Jul. 18, 2014

Frozen in Time, a Giant Virus

A virus large enough to be seen through a light microscope was recovered from the Siberian permafrost.

giant virus, permafrost, evolution, James Van Etten, siberia, University of Nebraska

Jul. 18, 2014

App Chat: Plugging In to the Outdoors

Reporter Bob Parks guides us through his favorite outdoor and camping apps.

bob parks, apps, outdoor apps, camping, birding, birds

Jul. 11, 2014

The ABCs of 3D

Makerbot’s Bre Pettis explains what you need to know to try your own 3D printing.

makerbot, bre pettis, 3d printing, maker community, 3d, printing, dyi, prostheses

Jul. 11, 2014

Keeping an Eye on Wayward Studies

Ivan Oransky, co-founder of the Retraction Watch blog, discusses what happens when scientific studies go bad.

ivan oransky, retraction, retractionwatch, nature, journals, mistake

Jul. 11, 2014

Concerns Rise Over Pesticide Use, Birds, and Bees

Neonicotinoid pesticides have been banned in the E.U. but are still approved for use in the U.S. while the EPA reviews them.

neonictinoid, nature, birds, bees, decline, pesticides

Jul. 11, 2014

Could Inducing Hypothermia Help Revive Trauma Patients?

In a procedure called “Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation,” doctors would replace the blood of patients with cold saline to help buy valuable operating time.

hypothermia, surgery, university of pittsburgh, hasan alam, resuscitation, saline, trauma

Jul. 11, 2014

What’s So Bad About Being Alone With Your Thoughts?

A study finds that many people would rather shock themselves than be alone with their thoughts.

university of virginia, alone, shock, thinking, men, erin westgate

Jul. 11, 2014

The Surprisingly Predictable Patterns of Random Choice

In his new book, Rock Breaks Scissors, author William Poundstone decodes the patterns in big data, sports, and human behaviors.

choice, behavior, chance, rock paper scissors, william poundstone, patterns, psychology, big data, hot hand, streaks

Jul. 04, 2014

Ben Franklin: Sonic Explorer

Ben Franklin’s sonic experiments included inventing a new musical instrument and testing the limits of the human voice.

glass armonica, benjamin franklin, sonic experiments, renaissance man

Jul. 04, 2014

Do Your Patriotic Duty: Learn Math

Mathematician Edward Frenkel says a well-educated public is essential to democracy—and that includes being knowledgeable about math.

math, math education, patriotism, edward frenkel

Jul. 04, 2014

Meet the Mohawk Behind NASA’s Curiosity Mission

NASA’s “Mohawk Man,” Bobak Ferdowsi, talks public and private space exploration, plans for Europa, and whether or not we’ll be putting a human on Mars.

bobak ferdowsi, mars, red planet, golden age of space exploration, space, space travel

Jul. 04, 2014

Celebrating Nature’s Summer Light Show, Fireflies

The flashing of lightning bugs is a favorite part of a lazy summer evening, but there’s a lot of hidden nighttime drama.

lightning bugs, emily v driscoll, marc branham, gainesville, florida, university of florida, florida museum of natural history,

Jul. 04, 2014

How New Rules and Smart Tech Are Reinventing the Grid

After Superstorm Sandy, there was a lot of talk of a more distributed smart grid—a more resilient system. But how far have we come?

smart grid, Kate Burson, Cheryl Martin, energy

Jul. 04, 2014

A Web of Doubt

Author Charles Seife spots the falsehoods and fakes that make their way onto the information super highway.

interent, charles seife, wikipedia, virtual unreality

Jun. 27, 2014

Shedding Light on the Science of Sunscreen

How does sunscreen protect our skin from harmful radiation, and what is the meaning behind SPFs?

sunscreen, sun, spf, uv, radiation, summer, skin, skincare, james sanogueira

Jun. 27, 2014

Food Failures: Avoiding Grilling and Barbecue Pitfalls

Marinade myths, charcoal chemistry, and the elusive “smoke ring”—the science behind barbecue and grilling.

food failures, bbq, barbecue, grilling, summer, grill, brisket, meat, meathead goldwyn, smoke ring, charcoal, marinade

Jun. 27, 2014

Getting a Grasp on the Clever Cephalopod

The nautilus, the “living fossil” of cephalopods, can uncover the origins of the complex brain of modern cephalopods.

cephalopod, cephalopod week, nautilus, octopus, vampire squid, luke groskin, cuttlefish, squid, jennifer basil

Jun. 27, 2014

3-D Mammography Detects More Cancers, But Will It Save Lives?

A new study suggests that 3-D mammography detects more cancers than traditional digital mammography. But the technology is expensive, and there's no indication yet that it catches more dangerous cancers, or is saving more lives.

mammography, breast cancer, sarah friedewald, laura esserman, tomosynthesis, 3d

Jun. 27, 2014

Making Art From the DNA You Leave Behind

Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg calls attention to genetic surveillance with artworks made from strangers’ DNA.

heather dewey-hagborg, stranger visions, invisible, art, dna sequencing, sciarts, genetic privacy, genes

Jun. 27, 2014

Dr. Arnold Relman, Health System Critic, Dead at 91

Relman called the American health care system a "new medical-industrial complex." We remember him here with two archival clips.

arnold relman, new england journal of medicine, harvard university, obituary, health care, health care reform

Jun. 20, 2014

Reinventing How City Dwellers Get Around

Portland, Oregon, is a hotbed for transit innovation. Will other cities catch on?

portland, oregon, ryno, drive oregon, transportation, transit, tram, trolley, light rail, cars, hydroelectric, energy, power, innovation, jeff allen, chris hoffmann

Jun. 20, 2014

What Happens After the Robot Apocalypse?

In Robogenesis, sci-fi author Daniel H. Wilson imagines the world post-robot uprising.

robogenesis, robopocalypse, robot, fiction, science fiction, daniel wilson, book

Jun. 20, 2014

At Reed College, Nuclear Education That’s Really 'Hands-On'

At Reed College, undergraduates keep a nuclear reactor running.

nuclear reactor, reed college, portland, oregon, undergraduate, Cherenkov radiation, ilana novakoski

Jun. 20, 2014

Untangling the Web of Spider Science

Arachnologist Greta Binford traces the evolution of spiders by examining their venom.

spider, arachnology, greta binford, venom

Jun. 20, 2014

Beer Science: Crafting the Perfect Pint

Two of Oregon’s craft brew experts pore over hops, yeast, malt, and the microbiology of beer.

portland, oregon, beer, brewery, agrarian ales, craft brew alliance, craft beer, yeast, hops, malt, leon frye, ben tilley

Jun. 13, 2014

Rep. Rush Holt: Science and Congress

Representative Rush Holt talks about how “thinking like a scientist” can help the political process.

rush holt, representative, congress, politics, washington

Jun. 13, 2014

Your Summer Science Book List

Lee Billings and Maria Popova compile your perfect summer science book list.

maria popova, lee billings, books, summer reading, sci-fi, science books

Jun. 13, 2014

The Science of the ‘Brazuca’

How will the “Brazuca” fly? Scientists put the World Cup soccer ball through its paces.

brazuca, jabulani, world cup, soccer, soccer ball, physics, simon choppin, sports

Jun. 13, 2014

Pre-Surgery Routine Needs an Update, Says Doc

Robert Cima of the Mayo Clinic says science doesn't back up pre-surgical practices like fasting and colon cleanses.

mayo clinic, surgery, pre-surgery, fasting, robert cima, painkillers

Jun. 13, 2014

Is NASA Ready to Make the Leap to a Manned Mission to Mars?

What technologies, budget, and partners would NASA needed for a successful manned mission to Mars?

space, space exploration, national research council, nasa, mars, human spaceflight,

Jun. 13, 2014

‘Do Fathers Matter?’ Explores Dad's Influence

In his new book, Paul Raeburn writes of the surprising biological and genetic connections fathers have with their children.

fathers, dads, father's day, paul raeburn, family

Jun. 06, 2014

The EPA's New Proposal to Curb Carbon Emissions

The EPA's proposal sets a 30 percent decrease in power plant carbon emissions by 2030.

climate, environment, carbon emissions, power plants, environmental protection agency, epa, eileen claussen, center for climate and energy solutions, energy, pollution

Jun. 06, 2014

It's a Material World

In his book Stuff Matters, Mark Miodownik explains why the everyday materials around us are truly extraordinary.

steel, metal, everyday objects, stuff, mark miodownik, materials

Jun. 06, 2014

The Goat Brigade

A herd of “elite” brush-clearing goats demonstrate why they are a versatile tool to shield against wildfires in Southern California.

goats, wildfires, southern california, fuel, fire, wildfire, fighting fire with goats

Jun. 06, 2014

Documenting the Oldest Living Things in the World

In her new book of photography, The Oldest Living Things in the World, artist Rachel Sussman documents the oldest continuously living organisms on the planet.

oldest living things in the world, rachel sussman, long life, llareta, organisms

Jun. 06, 2014

Making Summer Travel Plans With Climate Change in Mind

With projections of warmer temperatures and rising sea levels, which tourist destinations should you plan to visit sooner rather than later?

climate change, glacier national park, union of concerned scientists, global warming, tourism, travel

May. 30, 2014

A Decade After the Genome, Scientists Map the 'Proteome'

Nearly all the body's cells contain identical DNA. So why does a neuron grow up so differently than a liver cell? Proteins, says Akhilesh Pandey, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University.

proteins, proteome, David Pincus, Akhilesh Pandey

May. 30, 2014

How Can Airline Tracking Improve?

How can a commercial airliner go missing, and what can we do to improve tracking technology?

malaysia airlines flight 370, malaysia airlines, tracking planes, airplanes, robert mann

May. 30, 2014

What’s ‘I,’ and Why?

In Me, Myself, and Why, science writer Jennifer Ouellette probes the science of self.

jennifer ouellette, me myself and why, book, selves, understanding ourselves, dropping acid, brain scan

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