Science Friday

Friday 10am to 12pm
  • Hosted by Ira Flatow

NPR science correspondent and award-winning TV journalist Ira Flatow is the host of Science Friday®. He anchors the show each Friday, bringing listeners a lively, informative discussion on science, technology, health, space and the environment.

Flatow is also founder and president of the Science Friday Initiative, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit company dedicated to creating radio, TV and Internet projects that make science user friendly. Flatow's interest in things scientific began in boyhood — he almost burned down his mother's bathroom trying to recreate a biology class experiment. "I was the proverbial kid who spent hours in the basement experimenting with electronic gizmos, and then entering them in high school science fairs," Flatow says.

Science Friday

For years, electrical experts have been calling for a "smart grid" that could better sense and adapt to changing conditions, from electrical outages to shifts in power consumption. Massoud Amin, referred to by some as the "father of the smart grid," talks about how and why the country should improve its aging electrical infrastructure.

Reporting in Science, researchers write of discovering four radio bursts from outer space. Physicist Duncan Lorimer, who detected the first such explosion in 2007, discusses what could be causing these radio signals, such as evaporating black holes, an idea proposed by Stephen Hawking in the 1970s.

A day at the shore can leave beachgoers with more than a sunburn — a gulp of seawater can expose swimmers to disease-causing microbes like norovirus, salmonella, and adenovirus. Marine scientist Rachel Noble and environmental medicine researcher Samuel Dorevitch discuss the risk, and what's being done to limit swimmers' exposure.

Can White Blood Cells Spread Cancer?

Jul 5, 2013

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. White blood cells are part of our body's defense system. Their job is to attack invaders, and one of the first white blood cells sent out is the neutrophil. These neutrophils put out a trap to capture and destroy the invaders. But here's where it gets interesting, because in a new study, researchers say they have shown that these nets might actually activate and spread the cancer cells. It's the exact opposite of what you want. But there may be a way to counteract this problem.

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, you know, this week was Independence Day, and to celebrate, we're going to be looking at the life of Benjamin Franklin. We know him for his role in the American Revolution, but we're going to look at the great intellectual revolution he brought to America. Maybe you didn't know about that. Well, you can find out more about it in the new book, "The Society for Useful Knowledge: How Benjamin Franklin and Friends Brought the Enlightenment to America."

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Exactly a year ago this week, a video on YouTube went viral. It was called "Heat Buckles Highway, SUV Goes Airborne." A road in Wisconsin buckled so badly from the heat that it sent cars flying. Well, this year, the buckling continues. But if you're in certain parts of the country, you don't need me to tell you that. It's hot, and I'm not going to use that but-it's-a-dry-heat line, either.

Not One, but Three 'Goldilocks Planets'?

Jul 1, 2013

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Seems like every other week, a new study, complete with a colorful brain scan and a great headline, links a spot on the brain with the way we act. This is your brain on love; this is your brain on prayer; this is your brain on politics. But can a scan of your brain really tell you something about your beliefs and behaviors?

Living Large in 140 Square Feet

Jul 1, 2013

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Clock on the wall says it's Flora o'clock time.

(LAUGHTER)

FLATOW: Hi. Flora Lichtman is here...

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

FLATOW: ...with our Video Pick of the Week.

LICHTMAN: That's right. Speaking of consumers and energy and sustainability on the personal level, this serves as a perfect segue, actually, to our Video Pick, which is about a couple in Snohomish, Washington - so outside of Seattle - who have built their own home. But here's the thing.

FLATOW: Yeah.