Science Friday

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

Science Friday is a weekly science talk show, broadcast live over public radio stations nationwide from 2-4 p.m. Eastern time. Each week, we focus on science topics that are in the news and try to bring an educated, balanced discussion to bear on the scientific issues at hand. Panels of expert guests join Science Friday's host, Ira Flatow, a veteran science journalist, to discuss science -- and to take questions from listeners during the call-in portion of the program.

To participate, call 1 (844) 724-8255 or Twitter users can tweet questions @scifri.

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Why your beefsteak tomatoes are getting beefier

Jun 10, 2015

If you’ve noticed your beefsteak tomatoes have been a little beefier, it’s not a figment of your imagination.

Produce is getting plumper these days. Farmers have been cross-breeding plants for hundreds of years to make bigger, better crops. But one fruit in particular, the tomato, has genes to thank for its newfound girth.

Zach Lippman, an associate professor of plant genetics at The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, and his team have been studying why some plants in the same species, under the same conditions, grow larger — or produce more fruit — than others.

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Vitamin D is essential to healthy bones, because it helps you absorb calcium, which strengthens your skeleton. Without the vitamin, you could develop brittle bones, increasing the chance of getting osteoporosis when you’re older.

Children with insufficient vitamin D can develop soft bones, putting them at risk for rickets, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Inadequate amounts of vitamin D can also lead to a weakened immune system.

Don't forget, wear sunscreen. Why SPF is more important than ever

Jun 3, 2015
Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

It’s time to slather on the sunscreen.

New research suggests a quarter of normally functioning skin cells that have been exposed to sunlight could be on their way to becoming skin cancer. Scientists from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK, took skin samples from plastic surgery patients and analyzed them to find that mutations in these cells were occurring as often as once per day.

“The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.”

That's the explosive beginning to a new novel called Seveneves, just out from sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson. That event, the breakup of the moon into seven big pieces, kicks off 800 pages of love, death and heavy-duty engineering, as humankind races to save itself from a storm of fiery moon rock.

A study of astronaut twins will give NASA some key genetic insight

May 10, 2015

Twins have long been scientists’ favorite human subjects for testing how genes interact with environmental factors. But what about when one of the twins isn’t on Earth at all?

That's the case for Mark and Scott Kelly, identical twins who are taking part in a year-long NASA research program. Scott is currently aboard the International Space Station while Mark, a former astronaut, is on the ground. Scientists will do joint experiments on them during Scott's mission in an attempt to better understand how the microgravity of space affects genetics.

Copyright 2015 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.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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.

Science Book Picks for 2013

Dec 13, 2013
Copyright 2015 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. 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 says think again.

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