Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Using paleoforensics, researchers recount the grim details of life and death at the the La Brea Tar Pits.
Technological and design innovations inside the Oculus Rift make virtual reality poised to make a mass-market debut.
Medieval stained glass reveals a lot about life in the Middle Ages, but keeping these artistic works from falling apart is a detailed process.
Thought to the be inspiration of sea serpent stories, the monstrously long oarfish provokes wonder in nearly all who witness it. Yet despite our fascination, little is known about this fish, its lifecycle, and how it navigates its deep-sea environment.
Confidence in our clothing shouldn't be taken for granted. It owes much to an oft-overlooked the field of study- textile quality assuranc
Fireflies communicate with a "language of light" that scientists still don't completely understand.
They’re the amazing cephalopods, and Science Friday, public radio’s source for news and entertaining stories about science, celebrates them with Cephalopod Week.
A series of experiments by evolutionary biologists Dr. Jennifer Basil and Robyn Crook involving fish juice, blue lights, and mazes dispels the notion that the ancient Nautilus is incapable of basic learning and memory.
Using recycled soda bottles, modified cradles, and knowledge of each species' husbandry, the Monterey Bay Aquarium staff have nurtured to adulthood 95% of the cuttlefish eggs spawned.
Although its latin name translates as "the vampire squid from hell," the vampire squid is actually a gentle steward of the ocean's depths, gracefully foraging on marine detritus.
Ever wondered how to milk a spider? In this video, Dr. Greta Binford, a researcher at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, extracts venom from a sleeping spider's fangs.
A herd of “elite” brush-clearing goats demonstrate why they are a versatile tool to shield against wildfires in Southern California.
Guided by professional forager and author, Tama Matsuoka Wong, Science Friday toured western New Jersey's meadows and forested trails to discover the native plants and invasive weeds that are used as culinary delicacies.
Crystal formation is essential in making smooth chocolate that's solid at room temperature and melts in your mouth.
Sneezes and coughs generate gas clouds which can spread germs farther than previously imagined.
By vacuum-sucking sap directly from the cut tops of juvenile maple trees, the researchers may revolutionize the maple syrup industry.
Clearing and staining gobies, stingrays, and sharks has revealed to Dr. Adam Summers critical data and the beauty of each fish’s unique form.
Students in MIT’s Tangible Media Group break down the barriers of graphic interfaces and allow users to touch and manipulate pixels in real life.
Rutgers University entomologists unravel clues to identify a new invasive species of cockroach and what its emergence represents.
Dr. Adam Summers of the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Labs, details how the Northern Clingfish takes the art of suction to new heights.
Using field tests and a deep understanding of how to identify weaknesses in the snow pack, staff members from the Utah Avalanche Center forecast avalanches and take preventive measures.
Physics Professor Adam Johnston, explains how, with the help of a wind tunnel, U.S. ski jumpers can fine tune the physics of their jumps along with the flow of air around their bodies in order to attain Olympic gold.
Dr. Brian Wansink, Director of Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab, explains how expectations, environment, and social cues can fool us into believing that our wine tastes better or worse than it is.
Collisions between two spiral galaxies can be spectacular affairs, filled with romance.
In the second episode of our wine science series, Out of the Bottle, Dr. Gavin Sacks of Cornell University's Viticulture and Enology Program translates popular wine jargon such as "breathing," "corked," and "wine tears" into chemistry you can understand.
A researcher from Cornell details the chemical composition of wine’s diverse flavor profiles.
A new tool and toy from littleBits teaches you how synthesizers work while you make electronic music.
In the Leidenfrost Effect, a water droplet will float on a layer its own vapor if heated to certain temperature. This phenomenon takes center stage in a series of experiments by physicists who discovered new means of manipulating droplets of hot water.
Did you know that most mammals, from a house cat to an elephant, take roughly the same amount of time to urinate? Researchers at Georgia Tech studied real-life and online video streams, and discovered what enables this feat of fluid dynamics.
Can woolly bear caterpillars predict winter weather?
How do naked mole rats live to 30 years without getting cancer? Research by Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov of the University of Rochester shows how these aesthetically challenged creatures live long, cancer-free lives.
Bat biologist Nickolay Hristov, of UNC’s Center for Design Innovation and Winston-Salem State University, develops new techniques for filming and visualizing bats and the caves they occupy. Some of the tools in his kit include a long-range lase...
Plants may be stationary, but they're rarely still, says biologist Roger Hangarter, creator of the website Plants in Motion. Researchers are using time-lapse photography to study the biomechanics of plant movement. For example, in an August 2012 ...
An original rap about the Large Hadron Collider—don't miss it. Brought to you by Will Barras, who was a Ph.D. student in the department of linguistics and English language at the University of Edinburgh and science writer (and rapper) Kate ...
Maniac Pumpkin Carvers Marc and Chris carve hundreds of pumpkins each fall, which go for a few hundred bucks and rarely end up on stoops. They gave us some tips for how to bring our pumpkins to the next level this Halloween.
Composer and instrument builder Paul Rudolph makes music from garbage. John Powell, physicist and author of How Music Works, chimes in with an explanation of how Rudolph's modifications to the instruments helps transform noise into notes.
Blue whales can grow to 90 feet -- that's longer than a tennis court. To understand how they get so large, Jeremy Goldbogen studies their dining habits. And he found that blue whales do underwater acrobatics while they eat.
Cuttlefish change the patterns on their body for courtship rituals, when they eat a snack, and most famously when they want to blend in. How they change their skin patterns may tell us something about how they see the world, says Duke biologist Sarah...
Of the suit he wore on the moon, Neil Armstrong wrote, "It was tough, reliable, and almost cuddly." But that cuddly suit, made by the company Playtex, had some stiff competition (literally) from rival rigid, metal designs. This video features archiva...
In her new book, Bones Books and Bell Jars, physician and photographer Andrea Baldeck documents the collection of medical texts, instruments, and specimens at Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum.
When marine biologist Roger Hanlon captured the first scene in this video he started screaming. (If you need to see it again, here's the raw footage.) Hanlon, senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, studies camouflage ...
An office with teeth.
A biologist takes shadow puppetry to the next level.
A hawk moth feeds by hovering in front of flowers and slurping nectar through a proboscis, basically a body-length straw.
What high-tech materials are required for making a robotic hand that can pick up almost anything? Coffee grounds and a latex balloon.
As the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute’s first employee, Tarter has accumulated E.T.-themed office ornaments for the last 30 years -- including a bottle of wine to be opened "only upon detection of Extraterrestrial signal."
The evolution of safe and vault lock technology is on view in midtown Manhattan.
The nuts and bolts of designing, building and living in a 140-square-foot home.
Coffee beans are filled with oils that emerge from coffee grounds under high pressure. These oils form the crema—the frothy stuff on top of an espresso.
To be bike-ready, the bamboo must be cooked in an oven, stripped, and sealed. We visited the workshop of Valid Cycles in Woodinville, Wash., to see how the bikes are made.
Former vice president Al Gore joins Ira Flatow in the studio to talk about 'The Future.'
In 2011, comet Lovejoy traveled through the sun’s corona and lived to tell the tale. But its tail was the most telling.
Science Friday pays tribute to a great science teacher. "Office hours are some of my favorite hours of the week," says Tom Carlson, a medical doctor, ethnobotanist, and instructor of 1700 students annually at the University of California, Berkeley.
"I have always emphasized the willingness to discard," says psychologist and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman. That philosophy works on two levels -- forget desk trinkets, Kahneman doesn't have a desk -- and he doesn't hoard ideas either he says.
Coffee experts percolate over how to get the most from your grounds. From the chemex to the wood neck, the brewmasters filter out reasons to choose one brewing device over another.
Sandor Ellix Katz, self-proclaimed "fermentation revivalist" and author of "The Art of Fermentation" (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012) discusses the two "cultures."
Michele Bertomen and David Boyle bought an empty 20-by-40-foot lot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and built a home constructed from shipping containers.
Across Utah, the Greater sage-grouse performs a striking dance routine each morning at dawn.
Get the scoop on coffee flavor with Harold McGee's counter-top chemistry experiment.
Brew-masters pore over the chemistry and craft of making a good cup of joe.
Researchers turned tiny water droplets into cooperative networks that can change shape and pass electrical signals.
Agave plants, probably best known as the source of tequila, were important as a food crop long before the invention of margaritas. Wendy Hodgson, botanist at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, says the plants were cultivated as far back as 800 A...
In perhaps the cutest study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, psychologist Marcel Zentner and Tuomas Eerola found that babies will spontaneously boogie when they hear music and other rhythmic sounds. The findings sugge...
These fluid knots are like smoke rings--but made of water and shaped like a pretzel instead of a donut.
In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA — the now-famous double helix.
Step into Ira's office. He's reading your mail!
Water bears, also known as tardigrades, can survive boiling, freezing, the vacuum of space and years of desiccation. Biologist Bob Goldstein, of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, describes water bears and explains why he studies them. ...
MC Frontalot and Dr. Awkward rap about the nerd life -- from data encryption to rare diseases to video games.
Cockroaches are constantly grooming themselves, especially their antennae, says entomologist Coby Schal. A new study investigates benefits of clean antennae.
You'll find cyborgs, robots, 3D projections, digital puppets and more in Dove's techno-savvy productions.
Next snowstorm, grab a magnifying glass and try snowflake hunting. Bullet rosettes, stellar plates, and capped columns are just a few of the varieties of snow crystal you can find in your backyard.
A new study investigates the wisdom of crowds... well, schools.
How do owls turn their heads 270 degrees without damaging their blood vessels? X-rays and dissections may provide an answer.
The Rockaways, a Queens, N.Y. neighborhood, is still recovering from Sandy. Debris from fires lingers on the streets, and buildings torn apart by the storm are crumbling on the beach. But those with restored heat and power have another concern: mold.
Ice can be hard to get a handle on, literally and figuratively. It can be cloudy or clear, as hard as concrete or as soft as a snowflake. Ice experts Erland Schulson, head of the Ice Research Lab at Dartmouth College, and Shintaro Okamoto, founder of...
Why do your fingers get pruney after a swim? A new study suggests that wrinkles improve our handling of wet objects.
Catfish eating pigeons, water traveling uphill, a blue whale barrel roll -- we're taking a stroll down memory lane for a look at the year's best moments in science cinema. What were your favorite science videos of 2012?
Photographer Colin Legg makes time-lapse movies of celestial scenes. Legg shares tips, and describes some of the challenges of landscape astrophotography -- from babysitting cameras for days and nights on end to running electronics off the grid.
Meet a Polaroid camera that weighs 235 pounds and takes 2-foot-tall instant snapshots.
Will alcohol kill the bacteria in homemade eggnog? A festive microbiology lab investigates.
"I'm pure geek, pure logic," says Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. We spent an afternoon with Dr. Grandin in her office in Fort Collins.
Writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks explains what his desk means to him. From lumps of metal to lemurs, Sacks describes some of his treasures.
Satellites looked at Sandy this week, and they also looked in.
BASE stands for the objects the practitioners of the sport jump from: buildings, antennas, spans, earth. Wingsuits are sometimes involved; parachutes, always.
In Demon Hill, the rules of gravity don't apply as you expect them to. Down is not down, exactly. The room, created by Los Angeles artist Julian Hoeber and on display at the Harris Lieberman Gallery in New York, is modeled on a stock roadside att...
The horn of a Japanese rhinoceros beetle (Trypoxylus dichotomus) can grow to be two-thirds the length of the rest of its body. And size matters. The male beetles use their horns to battle over feeding sites, where they also get access to female beetl...
By 1982, fewer than two dozen California condors lived in the wild. By 1985, only one wild breeding pair was known to exist. That's when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service decided to capture all remaining wild California condors and bring them to...
Imagine what you might do if you could print your own solar panels. That's kind of the dream behind Shawn Frayne and Alex Hornstein's Solar Pocket Factory -- although they see it more as the "microbrewery" of panel production rather than a to...
What happens at the Northeast Mycological Federation Foray? “Mushrooms only,” according to attendee Gary Lincoff, an instructor at the New York Botanical Garden and author of The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. Sc...
At the Northeast Mycological Federation's 36th Annual Foray, some 15 crafty people learned how to use wool roving to create a mushroom-themed felt pillow. Cornelia Cho, a pediatrician and the president of the Mushroom Club of Georgia led th...
A new microscope technique produces extra-sharp images of large swaths of the brain. The technique, described in Optics Express, combines light sheet microscopy -- which uses a thin sheet of light to illuminate the sample -- with confocal micro...
Evolutionary psychologist Nick Neave filmed men dancing, converted the videos into dancing avatars and asked women to rate the avatars' dancing ability. The researchers found that the highly-rated male dancers had some moves in common. (Some advi...
This toilet floats. It's an outhouse and sewage-treatment plant in one, processing human waste through a "constructed wetlands." Adam Katzman, the inventor and builder of the toilet-boat, says it's meant to be more inspirational than practica...
Engineers Mike Passaretti and Lee Carlson give us a tour of Honeybee Robotics, a lab that built parts for Curiosity. Mike and Lee spent the last eight years, on and off, designing, building and testing a device called the Sample Manipulation System, ...
Photographer Roman Vishniac is perhaps best-known for documenting Jewish communities in Eastern Europe before World War II, but he also was a science buff. In the 1950s-1970s, with funding from the Educational Testing Service, the National Science Fo...
Of the suit he wore on the moon, Neil Armstrong wrote, "it was tough, reliable, and almost cuddly." But that cuddly suit, made by the company Playtex, had some stiff competition (literally) from rival rigid, metal designs. This video features archiva...
Take a tour of the only working undersea lab left today. (no sound) Hear the Science Friday interview with Sylvia Earle from inside Aquarius, 60 feet underwater. >>
Jesus Dapena studies how humans reach great heights, biomechanically. The world record for the high jump -- the event in which a person propels him- or herself over a horizontal bar -- is just over eight feet. To understand how this is possible, Dape...
Recent films such as Coraline have wowed audiences with their visual effects. We'll talk with movie industry experts about the science and technology that lies behind animation, 3D images, and other visual tricks of the silver screen.