Cover image of Short Wave
(1969)

Rank #6 in Science category

Science
Astronomy
Life Sciences

Short Wave

Updated 1 day ago

Rank #6 in Science category

Science
Astronomy
Life Sciences
Read more

New discoveries, everyday mysteries, and the science behind the headlines — all in about 10 minutes, every weekday. It's science for everyone, using a lot of creativity and a little humor. Join host Maddie Sofia for science on a different wavelength.

Read more

New discoveries, everyday mysteries, and the science behind the headlines — all in about 10 minutes, every weekday. It's science for everyone, using a lot of creativity and a little humor. Join host Maddie Sofia for science on a different wavelength.

iTunes Ratings

1969 Ratings
Average Ratings
1776
95
38
22
38

Delightful podcast

By h00dratNaT - Dec 11 2019
Read more
Short, informative, easily understandable. I look forward to listening to this podcast every day!

Great Show

By CaptainP75 - Dec 08 2019
Read more
Thanks for a great podcast and the fantastic team putting it on. Keep up the good work.

iTunes Ratings

1969 Ratings
Average Ratings
1776
95
38
22
38

Delightful podcast

By h00dratNaT - Dec 11 2019
Read more
Short, informative, easily understandable. I look forward to listening to this podcast every day!

Great Show

By CaptainP75 - Dec 08 2019
Read more
Thanks for a great podcast and the fantastic team putting it on. Keep up the good work.

Listen to:

Cover image of Short Wave

Short Wave

Updated 1 day ago

Read more

New discoveries, everyday mysteries, and the science behind the headlines — all in about 10 minutes, every weekday. It's science for everyone, using a lot of creativity and a little humor. Join host Maddie Sofia for science on a different wavelength.

The Evolution Of HIV Treatment

Podcast cover
Read more
A lot has changed since the first cases of AIDS were reported in 1981. Globally, AIDS-related deaths have dropped by more than 55% since 2004, the deadliest year on record. But, the road to effective treatment for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, was long. Maggie Hoffman-Terry, a physician and researcher who's been on the front lines of the epidemic for decades, explains how treatment has evolved, its early drawbacks, and the issue of access to medications. Follow Maddie on Twitter — she's @maddie_sofia. And email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Dec 04 2019

12mins

Play

Does Your Dog REALLY Love You?

Podcast cover
Read more
Clive Wynne, founding director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University, draws on studies from his lab and others around the world to explain what biology, neuroscience, and genetics reveal about dogs and love. His new book is called Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Dec 02 2019

11mins

Play

An Interstellar Wanderer Is Coming Our Way

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Read more
Comet 2I/Borisov will reach its closest approach to the sun on December 8, 2019. We talk to planetary astronomer Michele Bannister about where the heck this comet came from, and what it tells us about our galaxy. Follow Maddie on Twitter — she's @maddie_sofia. And email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Dec 03 2019

10mins

Play

The Science Of Smell And Memory

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Why can a smell trigger such a powerful memory? Biological anthropologist Kara Hoover explains what's going on in the brain when we smell, how smell interacts with taste, and why our sense of smell is heightened in the winter. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 29 2019

11mins

Play

Crows Don't Forget

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Crows have gotten a bad rap throughout history. Think about it. A group of them is called a "murder." To get some insight into crows and perhaps set the record straight, we talked to Kaeli Swift. She's a lecturer at the University of Washington and wrote her doctoral thesis on crow "funerals."

In an earlier version of this episode, we used the word "spooky" to describe crows. Because that word has a history of being used as a racial slur, we chose to replace it with the words "scary" and "creepy." Thanks to our listeners who helpfully pointed this out to us, and we apologize. You can learn more about this from our friends at Code Switch.

Oct 30 2019

9mins

Play

Wildfire Season Is Here To Stay

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Californians face a terrible new normal as wildfire season grows longer and more intense. Jennifer Montgomery, head of the California's Forest Management Task Force, explains three key factors at the heart of why the state is now at such high risk. It turns out, one of them goes all the way back to Spanish colonization. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter: @maddie_sofia. Or email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Oct 29 2019

9mins

Play

A Revolutionary Experiment To Edit Human Genes

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Victoria Gray has sickle cell disease, a painful and debilitating genetic condition that affects millions of people around the world. But an experimental gene-editing technique known as CRISPR could help her — and, if it does, change the way many genetic diseases are treated. Correspondent Rob Stein tells her story, an NPR-exclusive, and explains the science behind her treatment. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 04 2019

12mins

Play

The Zombies That Walk Among Us

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The idea of human zombies probably seems pretty far-fetched. But there are real zombies out there in the animal kingdom. Ed Yong of The Atlantic creeps us out with a couple of examples. Hint: they involve fungus. Follow Maddie on Twitter - she's @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Oct 31 2019

9mins

Play

You Asked About The Flu

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How can you tell if you have the flu, or the common cold? Why does your arm hurt after you get the flu shot? And can getting the flu shot actually give you the flu? This episode, we answer your flu-related listener questions with the help of Dr. Nicole Bouvier at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia and reporter Emily Kwong @emilykwong1234. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 14 2019

11mins

Play

When A Listener Calls...

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It's our first-ever listener questions episode! On this Short Wave, Andy from Grand Rapids, Michigan, asks why some people seek out scary experiences. We reached out to Ken Carter, a psychology professor at Oxford College of Emory University, for answers. Turns out, some of us may be more wired to crave the thrill. Follow Maddie on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 01 2019

10mins

Play

The Mind-Bending Ascent Of Helium — And Why It's Running Low

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Helium is the second-most common element in the cosmos, but it's far rarer on planet Earth. As part of our celebration of the periodic table's 150th birthday, reporter Geoff Brumfiel shares a brief history of helium's ascent, to become a crucial part of rocket ships, MRI machines, and birthday parties. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 08 2019

13mins

Play

The Squishy Science Behind ASMR

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The science is nascent and a little squishy, but researchers like Giulia Poerio are trying to better understand ASMR — a feeling triggered in the brains of some people by whispering, soft tapping, and delicate gestures. She explains how it works, and tells reporter Emily Kwong why slime might be an Internet fad that is, for some, a sensory pleasure-trigger. Follow Maddie on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Oct 17 2019

10mins

Play

Life After Whale Death

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What happens after a whale dies? Their carcasses, known as "whale falls," provide a sudden, concentrated food source for organisms in the deep sea. Biologist Diva Amon is our guide through whale-fall ecosystems and the unique species that exist on the bones of these fallen whales. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia and reporter Emily Kwong @emilykwong1234. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 07 2019

9mins

Play

Most U.S. Dairy Cows Come From 2 Bulls. That's Not Good.

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NPR science correspondent Dan Charles explains why most of the dairy cows in America are descended from just two bulls, creating a lack of genetic diversity that can lead to health problems. He also visits a lab at Penn State University where scientists are trying to change that. Follow reporter/host Emily Kwong on Twitter @emilykwong1234. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 12 2019

9mins

Play

Seen Any Nazi Uranium? These Researchers Want To Know

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NPR science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel shares the story of Nazi Germany's attempt to build a nuclear reactor — and how evidence of that effort was almost lost to history. It's a tale he heard from Timothy Koeth and Miriam Hiebert at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park. Read more on their original story in Physics Today. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Oct 25 2019

13mins

Play

Meet Two MacArthur 'Genius Grant' Scientists

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We meet two scientists working on opposite sides of the world, both thinking creatively about rising sea levels and our changing oceans. Andrea Dutton, a geologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Stacy Jupiter, a marine biologist and Melanesia Director with the Wildlife Conservation Society, were awarded MacArthur Fellowships this fall. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter: @maddie_sofia. Or email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Oct 28 2019

10mins

Play

One Small Step For Cookie Baking

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Imagine having your Thanksgiving meal in microgravity? That's the reality for the six astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Today, we look at the evolution of astronaut food and a planned attempt to bake chocolate chip cookies in space. Follow Maddie Sofia @maddie_sofia and Emily Kwong @emilykwong1234. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 27 2019

10mins

Play

Adversarial AI

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Artificial intelligence might not be as smart as we think. University and military researchers are studying how attackers could hack into AI systems by exploiting how these systems learn. It's known as "adversarial AI." Some of their experiments use seemingly simple techniques. Dina Temple-Raston has been looking into this for her special series, I'll Be Seeing You. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter: @maddie_sofia. Or email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Oct 24 2019

9mins

Play

Can Global Shipping Go Zero Carbon?

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A lot of the stuff we buy in the U.S. comes by ship — ships that use a particularly dirty kind of fuel. Now a big shipping company says it wants to go zero carbon. Climate reporter Becky Hersher tells us how some old tech might play a role and where that tech falls short. Follow Maddie on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 11 2019

11mins

Play

SpaceX's Satellite Swarm: Could It Hurt Astronomy?

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The private space company run by Elon Musk launched 60 satellites into orbit this week. Science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel explains why astronomers worry that kind of traffic — if it continues unabated — could permanently alter their ability to observe the night sky. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 13 2019

12mins

Play

Invasive Species: We Asked, You Answered

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We couldn't stop at the spotted lanternfly! (We covered that invasive species in an earlier episode.) We wanted to hear about the invasives where you live. You wrote us about cane toads in Australia, zebra mussels in Nevada; borers, beetles, adelgids, stinkbugs, and so many more. From your emails, we picked three invaders to talk about with NPR science correspondent Dan Charles. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Dec 12 2019

12mins

Play

The Congolese Doctor Who Discovered Ebola

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Jean-Jacques Muyembe is a Congolese doctor heading up the response to the current Ebola outbreak in Congo. Back in 1976, he was the first doctor to collect a sample of the virus. But his crucial role in discovering Ebola is often overlooked. NPR's East Africa correspondent Eyder Peralta helps us correct the record. Follow Eyder on Twitter — he's @eyderp and Maddie's @maddie_sofia. You can always reach the show by emailing shortwave@npr.org.

Dec 11 2019

13mins

Play

Aluminum's Journey From Precious Metal To Beer Can

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We've been celebrating 150 years of the Periodic Table. This episode, the rise of aluminum! The element is incredibly common, but was once hard to extract. That made it more valuable than gold in the 19th century. NPR's Scott Neuman gives us a short history of aluminum. Or is it aluminium? (We'll also give you the backstory behind the confusion.) Follow Emily Kwong on Twitter @emilykwong1234. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Dec 10 2019

12mins

Play

Getting Closer To The Sun Than Ever Before

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An ambitious mission to get a spacecraft close to the sun has revealed a strange region of space filled with rapidly flipping magnetic fields and rogue plasma waves. Science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce explains how the Parker Solar Probe may help answer one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the sun. Follow Emily Kwong on Twitter @emilykwong1234. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Dec 09 2019

9mins

Play

If You Give An Orangutan A Kazoo...

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If you give an orangutan a kazoo, will it produce a sound? Researchers discovered that this simple instrument could offer insights into the vocal abilities of orangutans — and the evolution of human speech. Short Wave reporter Emily Kwong talks with primatologist Adriano Lameira about a growing body of evidence that humans may not be the only great apes with voice control. Follow Maddie Sofia @maddie_sofia and Emily Kwong @emilykwong1234. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Dec 06 2019

12mins

Play

Is CBD Safe? The FDA Can't Say

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Use of CBD — cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component in cannabis — has exploded in the last few years. But while it's marketed as a solution for stress, anxiety, insomnia, and pain, the Food and Drug Administration can't say it's safe. NPR health correspondent Allison Aubrey helps parse the science behind a new set of government warnings about CBD. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Dec 05 2019

11mins

Play

The Evolution Of HIV Treatment

Podcast cover
Read more
A lot has changed since the first cases of AIDS were reported in 1981. Globally, AIDS-related deaths have dropped by more than 55% since 2004, the deadliest year on record. But, the road to effective treatment for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, was long. Maggie Hoffman-Terry, a physician and researcher who's been on the front lines of the epidemic for decades, explains how treatment has evolved, its early drawbacks, and the issue of access to medications. Follow Maddie on Twitter — she's @maddie_sofia. And email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Dec 04 2019

12mins

Play

An Interstellar Wanderer Is Coming Our Way

Podcast cover
Read more
Comet 2I/Borisov will reach its closest approach to the sun on December 8, 2019. We talk to planetary astronomer Michele Bannister about where the heck this comet came from, and what it tells us about our galaxy. Follow Maddie on Twitter — she's @maddie_sofia. And email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Dec 03 2019

10mins

Play

Does Your Dog REALLY Love You?

Podcast cover
Read more
Clive Wynne, founding director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University, draws on studies from his lab and others around the world to explain what biology, neuroscience, and genetics reveal about dogs and love. His new book is called Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Dec 02 2019

11mins

Play

The Science Of Smell And Memory

Podcast cover
Read more
Why can a smell trigger such a powerful memory? Biological anthropologist Kara Hoover explains what's going on in the brain when we smell, how smell interacts with taste, and why our sense of smell is heightened in the winter. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 29 2019

11mins

Play

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Maddie and Emily wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and explain how you can support the show. Find and donate to your local public radio station at donate.npr.org/short. Follow Maddie and Emily on Twitter @maddie_sofia and @emilykwong1234. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 28 2019

1min

Play

One Small Step For Cookie Baking

Podcast cover
Read more
Imagine having your Thanksgiving meal in microgravity? That's the reality for the six astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Today, we look at the evolution of astronaut food and a planned attempt to bake chocolate chip cookies in space. Follow Maddie Sofia @maddie_sofia and Emily Kwong @emilykwong1234. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 27 2019

10mins

Play

The Nightmare Of Sleep Paralysis

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As a teenager, Josh Smith was plagued by sleep paralysis. Now he's afraid his kid might be experiencing it too. In this listener questions episode, Josh asks what the science says about this sleep disorder and what he can do to help his son. Submit your questions to shortwave@npr.org. Plus, you can keep the conversation going by using #NPRShortWave and following Maddie (@maddie_sofia) and Emily (@emilykwong1234) on Twitter.

Nov 26 2019

11mins

Play

Uganda's Solution For Treating Extreme Pain

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Uganda has come up with a low-tech solution to treat patients in a lot of pain: drinkable liquid morphine. Nurith Aizenman tell us how this model works and how other African countries are taking inspiration. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 25 2019

10mins

Play

The CDC, Its 'F-Word' (Firearms) & Suicide Prevention

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Congress prohibits the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using any of its funding to promote or advocate for gun control. NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce looked into how that makes it difficult for the CDC to talk frankly about the role guns play in suicide.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 22 2019

9mins

Play

Solving The Sleep & Alzheimer's Puzzle

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We know that people with Alzheimer's often have sleep problems. But does it work the other way? Do problems with sleep set the stage for this degenerative brain disease? Jon Hamilton introduces us to some scientists looking into that connection. In a recent study, researchers observed a key role deep sleep potentially plays in maintaining brain health and protecting the brain against Alzheimer's. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 21 2019

8mins

Play

That Revolutionary Gene-Editing Experiment? So Far So Good.

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Earlier this month NPR health correspondent Rob Stein introduced us to Victoria Gray, the woman at the center of a groundbreaking medical treatment using CRISPR, the gene-editing technique. This week, Rob reports exclusively for NPR on the first results of that closely-watched experiment. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 20 2019

12mins

Play

Saving Water One Flush At A Time

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Happy World Toilet Day! Flushing toilets can consume a lot of water, so Tak-Sing Wong, a biomedical engineer at Penn State University, is trying to minimize how much is needed. Wong developed a slippery coating for the inside of a toilet bowl. It can potentially move human waste more efficiently, leaving a cleaner bowl and using less water. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 19 2019

10mins

Play

Bye Bye, Bei Bei: Giant Panda Heads to China

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The Smithsonian's National Zoo is bidding farewell to Bei Bei. The 4-year-old giant panda will be sent to China on Tuesday, Nov. 19. While born in captivity at the zoo, Bei Bei is the property of China. Reporter Emily Kwong tells us about Bei Bei's elaborate departure plans, why he's leaving now, and what it would take to ensure the survival of giant pandas in the wild. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia and reporter Emily Kwong @emilykwong1234. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 18 2019

10mins

Play

An Eyewitness to Extinction

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While doing field work in Central America in the 1990's, biologist Karen Lips noticed the frogs she was studying were disappearing. Scientists in other parts of the world had documented the same thing - frogs and amphibians dying at an alarming rate. For years no one knew what was killing the animals until, finally, a bit of good luck helped solve the mystery. Follow host Maddie Sofia on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Nov 15 2019

9mins

Play