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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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The sweet stories of fake fruit flavors

Sep 3, 2017

What do icy cherry popsicles, sweet grape sodas and sticky banana taffy have in common?

For one, we don’t expect them to taste much like the real fruits they’re meant to mimic — but their artificial flavors are familiar and intense, all the same. Where did these fake fruit flavors come from, and why, in 2017, do they still taste so little like the real thing?

How to make biometric technology more secure

Sep 2, 2017

Fingerprint scanners now come standard on most new smartphones, and some devices even feature iris scanners and 2-D facial recognition technology. But with every new step forward in biometrics, it seems a way to “spoof” the technology follows soon behind — from fingerprint replicas to high-resolution photographs of faces and eyes. So, what’s on the horizon in biometric security, and how can we make the technology more secure?

What happened to the moon’s magnetic field?

Sep 2, 2017

The moon doesn’t have a magnetosphere, unlike Earth. The protective bubble shields our upper atmosphere from solar wind — and, it's what makes compasses point north. But billions of years ago, scientists say, the moon did have its own magnetic field. 

Hurricane Harvey And The New Normal

Sep 2, 2017

When it comes to volcanoes, there isn’t exactly a crystal ball that will tell scientists when the next eruption will take place, but there is crystal debris that is helping researchers see what’s going on below the surface of a volcano.

These crystals, formed in the magma chamber, are ejected along with the lava and volcanic ash during an eruption. Trapped inside these crystals is a bit of magma, preserving all the details of what it was like inside the chamber.

Sweating is an essential and uniquely human function

Aug 28, 2017

Most furry mammals pant to regulate their body temperature. Other animals, like ectotherms — lizards, amphibians, and insects — have other behaviors that help keep them cool. Humans, however, are in a category of our own.

We are the only mammal that relies on secreting water onto the surface of our skin to stay cool: We call it sweating. But how did we develop this ability? When did we ditch the fur of our primate ancestors in favor of sweaty skin?

Why are humans so curious?

Aug 27, 2017

Humans are innately curious creatures. But have you ever wondered why?

Astrophysicist Mario Livio has. And now, he explores this question in a new book, "Why? What Makes Us Curious."

“I chose this particular word, ‘why,’ because this particular question is uniquely human,” Livio says. “Other animals are curious, but only humans are worried and curious about reasons and causes for things. Only humans really ask the question, ‘Why?’”

In early August, researchers announced they had genetically edited human embryos, the first such experiment reported in the United States.

In an article, published in the journal Nature, scientists revealed that CRISPR — a type of “molecular scissors” — could be used to switch a mutated gene from one parent for a healthy gene inherited from another parent. (The embryos, created in a lab dish, were destroyed after several days, as planned.)

Don’t Throw Away Those Eclipse Glasses!

Aug 26, 2017

Your Teenager’s Brain Isn’t Deficient

Aug 26, 2017

What Microbes Are Hiding In Your Home?

Aug 26, 2017

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