Science: Episodes

Shifts in climate in the Middle Ages likely drove plague bacteria from gerbils in Asia to people in Europe, research now suggests. Rats don't deserve all the blame.
Can tweets be analyzed to predict heart disease? New research suggests the answer is yes.
Two species of fern that diverged 60 million years ago are as evolutionarily distant as, say, elephants and manatees. Nonetheless, the two species recently produced a hybrid, say astounded botanists.
Babies who ate the equivalent of about 4 heaping teaspoons of peanut butter weekly were about 80 percent less likely to develop a peanut allergy by their fifth birthday. So finds a landmark new study.
Coyotes in the Deep South live among a mosaic of agricultural fields and woods but little wilderness. A new study uses tracking collars to understand how these animals thrive in three Southern states.
Swedish kids growing up in families that wash their dishes by hand are less likely to develop certain allergies than those in families with dishwashers, a study suggests. But there may be more to it.
Our sense of smell isn't simply a powerful trigger. It's a draw to scientists — and to a flourishing subculture in Los Angeles, where amateur perfumers collect fragrances like others collect stamps.
The National Park Service has been measuring sounds in nature for a decade. But not all sounds are natural. NPR's Rachel Martin checks in with Kurt Fristrup, who's behind the bio-acoustical project.
The Voyager spacecraft revolutionized our understanding of space. In a new book, <em>The Interstellar Age, </em>planetary scientist Jim Bell shares stories about the planning and excitement back on Earth.
Neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel turns brains into soup so she can meticulously count the neurons and determine why human brains are unique.
Philosopher David Chalmers asks why humans have a sense of self, a constantly running movie full of sensation and internal chatter. He offers two ideas about the nature of consciousness.
Sensing the motives and feelings of others is a natural talent for humans. But how do we do it? Neuroscientist Rebecca Saxe explains how one region in the brain focuses on other people's thoughts.
Nancy Kanwisher studies the brain partly by staring at her own. She has spent countless hours in an fMRI scanner, mapping her own brain to gain insight into what makes us human.
When neuroanatomist Jill Bolte-Taylor felt her brain shut down during a stroke, she was more fascinated than panicked. Even though she spent eight years recovering, she's grateful for the stroke.
Sharpen your Swiss Army knives and grab an extra roll of duct tape, because Mac may be coming back. The creators are looking to the fans to design the new show. And there's one big twist.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug that thwarts some enzymes breast cancer cells use to evade treatment with estrogen-blocking drugs.
Scientists have found some human DNA that, when added to mice, makes their brains bigger. But as DNA research into human brains goes forward, are there ethical lines we shouldn't cross?
Humiliation, fear and unpredictability all turn up the volume on pain, research shows. And meditation can turn down pain's intensity, according to scientists who are starting to figure out why.
New psychological research explores a phenomenon known as the entourage effect. We hear why people like to create their own entourages.
Is the FDA being sexist or appropriately cautious in requiring stringent evidence that the latest pill works and is safe? Women's advocacy groups aren't sure.
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