Science

NPR science
12:37 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Fun With Physics: How To Make Tiny Medicine Nanoballs

Álvaro Marín

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 6:20 am

For the past decade, scientists have been toying with the notion of encapsulating medicine in microscopic balls.

These so-called nanospheres could travel inside the body to hard-to-reach places, like the brain or the inside of a tumor. One problem researchers face is how to build these nanospheres, because you'd have to make them out of even smaller nanoparticles.

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NPR tech news
4:02 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

For Nobel winner's agency, precision is the only way to operate

NIST physicist and Nobel Prize-winner David Wineland adjusts an ultraviolet laser beam used to manipulate ions in a high-vacuum apparatus containing an "ion trap." These devices have been used to demonstrate the basic operations required for a quantum computer.
Copyright Geoffrey Wheeler National Institute of Standards and Technology

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 7:46 am

David Wineland is the American half of the scientific duo celebrating the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics today.

Wineland and French scientist Serge Haroche developed new ways for scientists to observe individual quantum particles without damaging them. This may not sound so impressive, but the work opens a world of possibilities— including the development of a quantum computer and super-precise clock.

But who needs a better clock? Don't we have pretty good ones already?

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NPR science
6:19 am
Tue October 9, 2012

French and American scientists share physics Nobel Prize

The medal for the Nobel in Physics. According to the Nobel committee, the inscription reads: " 'Inventas vitam juvat excoluisse per artes' loosely translated 'And they who bettered life on earth by their newly found mastery.' "
NobelPrize.org

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:07 am

The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Serge Haroche of France and David Wineland of the United States for their work on the "fundamental interactions between light particles and matter."

"The Nobel laureates have opened the door to a new era of experimentation with quantum physics by demonstrating the direct observation of individual quantum particles without destroying them," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement.

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NPR Science
7:03 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Nobel Winners Unlocked Cells' Unlimited Potential

Shinya Yamanaka from Kyoto University was named the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering how mature, adult cells can be reprogrammed into immature stem cells.
Shizuo Kambayashi Associated Press

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 12:28 pm

The two scientists who won this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine discovered that cells in our body have the remarkable ability to reinvent themselves. They found that every cell in the human body, from our skin and bones to our heart and brain, can be coaxed into forming any other cell.

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NPR science
7:02 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Eat Your Heart Out, Columbus: A Sailing Ship That Travels On Sunshine

Emmanuel Leutze Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 8:29 am

Columbus, they say, crossed the Atlantic at a speed of roughly four knots. That's four-plus miles an hour. When the wind gusted, he could hit 9.2 mph. In 1492, that was speedy.

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Science
10:12 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Animals who love to rub themselves with ants. Is this addictive?

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 8:28 am

This is how we do it.

This is how they do it.

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NPR Science
4:55 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Scientists create fertile eggs from mouse stem cells

Each of these mouse pups was born from an egg scientists created using embryonic stem cells. It's possible the technology could change future treatment for human infertility.
Katsuhiko Hayashi

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 5:45 pm

Scientists in Japan report they have created eggs from stem cells in a mammal for the first time. And the researchers went on to breed healthy offspring from the eggs they created.

While the experiments involved mice, the work is being met with excitement — and questions — about doing the same thing for humans someday.

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NPR science
10:54 am
Wed October 3, 2012

New, house-cat-sized dinosaur (note massive fangs!) is identified

With jaws only 1 inch in length, the plant-eating Pegomastax ("thick jaw") was one of the smallest dinosaurs ever discovered. The photo above is of a close relative of the Pegomastax.
Tyler Keillor The University of Chicago

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 2:09 pm

What we learn about dinosaurs keeps surprising us. Today in the journal ZooKeys we get a peek into an odd, new kind of dinosaur that was lighter than a house cat and just as small but had a terrifying set of teeth and a short, birdlike beak.

The fossil used to re-create the creature was actually discovered in southern Africa in the 1960s, but it is described for the first time today by Paul Sereno, paleontologist and professor at the University of Chicago.

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NPR science
8:08 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Are those spidery black things on Mars dangerous? (Yup.)

Michael Benson NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/Kinetikon Pictures

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 1:43 pm

You are 200 miles directly above the Martian surface — looking down. This image was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Jan. 27, 2010. (The color was added later.) What do we see? Well, sand, mostly. As you scroll down, there's a ridge crossing through the image, then a plain, then dunes, but keep looking. You will notice, when you get to the dunes, there are little black flecks dotting the ridges, mostly on the sunny side, like sunbathing spiders sitting in rows. Can you see them?

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Earthquake science
1:38 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

The earth's shaking a record amount in the Northwest

The range and path of the current episodic tremor and slip event still going on. You can interact with this map at http://www.pnsn.org/tremor.
Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

The Puget Sound region is experiencing a record “episodic tremor and slip” event, according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

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NPR Health
6:32 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Kids exposed to 'startling' amounts of background TV, researchers say

It might be time to pull the plug, even if she doesn't seem to be watching.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 2:51 pm

Parents, if nobody is watching the TV, please turn it off.

Researchers who conducted a national survey of kids' exposure to TVs droning on in the background say, "The amount of exposure for the average child is startling."

How much is it, exactly? Try just under four hours a day for the typical kid.

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NPR science
9:05 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Nail Biting: Mental Disorder Or Just A Bad Habit?

Pathological nail biting may be a form of grooming on steroids, but it also makes the biter feel good, unlike fear-driven OCD.
Andrea Kissack for KQED

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 6:54 am

Do you bite your nails? For 30 years, I did. We nail biters can be "pathological groomers" — people for whom normal grooming behaviors, like skin picking or hair pulling, have become virtually uncontrollable.

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NPR science
6:30 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

A tiny ocean world with a mighty important future

Plankton make up 98 percent of the biomass of ocean life and provide half of the oxygen on the planet. Scientists are working to figure out how climate change may be affecting these important microorganisms.
M. Ormestad Tara Oceans

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 4:11 pm

As you take in your next breath of air, you can thank a form of microscopic marine life known as plankton.

They are so small as to be invisible, but taken together, actually dwarf massive creatures like whales. Plankton make up 98 percent of the biomass of ocean life.

"This invisible forest generates half of the oxygen generated on the planet," Chris Bowler, a marine biologist, tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

And, as climate change alters the temperature and acidity of our waters, this mysterious ocean world may be in jeopardy.

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NPR science
12:57 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Streams Of Water Once Flowed On Mars; NASA Says Photos Prove It

NASA says it has found proof that water shaped the rocks on the left, in a photograph taken by the Mars rover Curiosity (left). For comparison, the agency released an image of rocks from the Earth (right).
NASA

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 1:20 pm

NASA's Curiosity rover has found definitive proof that water once ran across the surface of Mars, the agency announced today. NASA scientists say new photos from the rover show rocks that were smoothed and rounded by water. The rocks are in a large canyon and nearby channels that were cut by flowing water, making up an alluvial fan.

"You had water transporting these gravels to the downslope of the fan," NASA researchers say. The gravel then formed into a conglomerate rock, which was in turn likely covered before being exposed again.

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Earthquakes
10:58 am
Thu September 27, 2012

New warning system could alert you seconds before quake hits

A pilot project shows what the quake warnings might look like.
U. S. Geological Survey

What would you do if you knew a major earthquake was about to strike in 10 seconds? Some scientists say even a few moments’ warning could save lives, and they’re setting up a system that might soon give Washingtonians time to act before the shaking starts.

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