Science Friday

Fridays, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Hosted by Ira Flatow

Science Friday is your trusted source for news and entertaining stories about science. We started as a radio show, created in 1991 by host and executive producer Ira Flatow. Since then, we’ve grown into much more: We produce award-winning digital videos and publish original web content covering everything from octopus camouflage to cooking on Mars. SciFri is brain fun, for curious people. Call in live at 844 724-8255. 

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript IRA FLATOW, HOST: The synth stylings of Kraftwerk. When that song "Autobahn" came out 1974, and, yes, I was around to remember when it came out then, synthesizers were the cutting edge in music technology. It really were a rarity, but not so today. Synthesizers are everywhere. In pop music, from the top 40s, to indie synth pop, you definitely heard synthesizers, maybe you've even seen them in action. But do you know how...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript IRA FLATOW, HOST: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. If you tuned into "Jeopardy!" in 2011, you might have heard an exchange like this. (SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JEOPARDY!") ALEX TREBEK: Watson, start us, please. WATSON: The European Union for $200. TREBEK: As of 2010, Croatia and Macedonia are candidates but this is the only former Yugoslav Republic in the EU. Brad. BRAD: What is Bosnia? TREBEK: No. Watson. WATSON:...

Science Book Picks for 2013

Dec 13, 2013

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript IRA FLATOW, HOST: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow and you are invited to join our annual holiday club of the air. This week we'll be talking about some of the best science reads from 2013. I'm going to throw in my favorite one right at the beginning before Deborah and Maria get a chance to put a word in edgewise. "Einstein and the Quantum: The Quest of the Valiant Swabian," by Douglas Stone. It gives a look at the...

This Doc's Miracle Drug? Exercise

Dec 13, 2013

Transcript IRA FLATOW, HOST: You know the old adage, an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Well, my next guest might add to that. How about a jog a day keeps the doctor away, or a set of pull-ups? His new book is a prescription pad for a variety of ailments from anxiety and depression to heart disease, diabetes, low libido, arthritis, even cancer. But what's different about this medical book is that there are no drugs recommended, no trips to the pharmacy. Instead, he recommends tailored...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. IRA FLATOW, HOST: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Do you know that what the number one reason for people filing bankruptcy in this country is? What's the number one reason? Not a lost job. It's not damage from earthquakes or floods. It's medical bills. My next guest says our high-priced medical treatments are responsible for some 60 percent of personal bankruptcies. And if you think you're safe because you have insurance, he...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. IRA FLATOW, HOST: If you thought saying she sells seashells by the seashore was hard, my next guest has created even more difficult tongue twisters. She also studies what is happening when your tongues do get tangled in knots, and boy, do my tongue get - you know. She just presented her findings this week at the annual Acoustical Society of Americans Conference in San Francisco. Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel is a psycholinguist in the...

Would More Technology Mean Safer Trains?

Dec 6, 2013

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. IRA FLATOW, HOST: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. For less than $100, you can buy a little gadget, a speedometer, that plugs into your car's cigarette lighter and it will let out a terrific scream when you exceed that speed limit that you preset into it. In fact, there's a 99-cent app for that too for your smartphone that tells you when you've exceeded the speed limit. If such a simple device had been installed on the...

Transcript IRA FLATOW, HOST: If you're headed to the ballet this season, chances are to hear something like the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from "The Nutcracker," this season's dance blockbuster as usual. But dance doesn't always sound this sweet. Sometimes it sounds more like this. (SOUNDBITE OF PLEXIGLAS SLAMMING) FLATOW: I'm sure you won't recognize that music. That's the sounds of dancers running at top speed and then slamming into a Plexiglas wall. They're members of the STREB...

Eating 'Wilder' Foods for a Healthier Diet

Nov 26, 2013

Transcript IRA FLATOW, HOST: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving, this being the day after. One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is, I think, the leftovers. Don't they always taste better? Well, my next guest is here to tell us how we can get the most flavor and nutrition out of those leftovers and our food all year round. She says we've been breeding the nutrition out of our food for years, but if you choose the right variety of fruits and vegetables,...

Transcript IRA FLATOW, HOST: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. There's research that tackles the really big questions like where did we come from? How did the universe form? How can people live longer, better lives? Today is probably not the day for that research. Instead, it's our annual salute to science that first makes you laugh and then makes you think. Talking about highlights from the 23rd First Annual Ig Nobel Awards. Where else would work studying the navigation habits of dung...

Remember last year's overcooked, dried-out turkey? Don't let it become a tradition. In this episode of "Food Failures," Jeff Potter, author of Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food, dishes up a few tips for Turkey Day--like cooking turkey breasts separately from the legs, or microwaving potatoes to free up real estate on the stove.

Transcript IRA FLATOW, HOST: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Touchdown confirmed. We're safe on Mars. (SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING) FLATOW: You remember that video from mission control, when Curiosity landed on Mars last August? It was pretty exciting, not to mention all those fabulous photos and the data being sent back from the Red Planet. But how would you feel if they flipped off the switch to that Mars mission? Or they powered down the Cassini mission to Saturn? Did...

Stores Are Snooping Into Your Smartphone

Nov 22, 2013

Retailers have used various techniques to analyze in-store buying behavior, such as surveys, video surveillance, and buyer reward programs. Some stores have been tapping into the technology in smartphones to track shoppers' actions. New York Times reporter Quentin Hardy discusses how they're doing this and what information they can gather.

A Handful of Nuts, a Lifetime of Benefits?

Nov 22, 2013

Transcript IRA FLATOW, HOST: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. A growing body of evidence has been hinting that nuts - nuts - are good for us. The popular Mediterranean diet emphasizes nuts but, you know, most Americans only eat nuts on occasion. And I'm talking about, oh, that's less than once a week, except for me. I eat them every day, but that's another story. A recent study published in New England Journal of Medicine gives a new meaning to the phrase health nut. It showed an...

Transcript IRA FLATOW, HOST: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Those of us of a certain age can remember exactly what we were doing on a Friday this hour 50 years ago when we heard the news. President Kennedy's assassination horrified and transfixed the nation. It was murder in plain sight, seemingly the easiest kind of crime to solve. But 50 years later the basic facts of the case are still debated. Was there a second shooter on the grassy knoll? Could a single bullet really hit the...

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