Thu, 18 January 2018
Unearthed letters reveal changes in Fields Medal awards, and predicting crime with computers is no easy feat
Freelance science writer Mike Price talks with Sarah Crespi about recently revealed deliberations for a coveted mathematics prize: the Fields Medal. Unearthed letters suggest early award committees favored promise and youth over star power.
Sarah also interviews Julia Dressel about her Science Advances paper on predicting recidivism—the likelihood that a criminal defendant will commit another crime. It turns out computers aren’t better than people at these types of predictions, in fact—both are correct only about 65% of the time.
Jen Golbeck interviews Paul Shapiro about his book, Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, in our monthly books segment.
[Image: Greg Chiasson/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
Thu, 11 January 2018
David Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with Sarah Crespi about two underwater finds: the first sharks shown to survive off of seagrass and what fossilized barnacles reveal about ancient whale migrations.
Sarah also interviews Staff Writer Adrian Cho about what happens after quantum computing achieves quantum supremacy—the threshold where a quantum computer’s abilities outstrip nonquantum machines. Just how useful will these machines be and what kinds of scientific problems might they tackle?
[Image: Aleria Jensen, NOAA/NMFS/AKFSC; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm; Adrian Cho
Thu, 4 January 2018
David Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with Sarah Crespi about a long-term project monitoring raccoon latrines in California. What influence do these wild bathrooms have on the ecosystem?
Sarah also interviews Christian Jobin of the University of Florida in Gainesville about his Perspective on three papers linking the success of cancer immunotherapy with microbes in the gut—it turns out which bacteria live in a cancer patient’s intestines can predict their response to this cutting edge cancer treatment.
Read the related papers:
epithelial tumors Science 2018
melanoma patients Science 2018
metastatic melanoma patients Science 2018 aan4236
[Image: cuatrok77/Flickr ; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
Thu, 21 December 2017
Dave Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with Sarah Crespi about a few of this year’s top stories from our online news site, like ones on a major error in the monarch butterfly biological record and using massive balloons to build tunnels—and why they were chosen. Hint: It’s not just the stats.
Sarah also interviews Staff Writer Adrian Cho about the 2017 Breakthrough of the Year. Adrian talks about why Science gave the nod to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory team for a second year in a row—for the detection of a pair of merging neutron stars.
Jen Golbeck is also back for the last book review segment of the year. She talks with Sarah about her first year on the show, her favorite books, what we should have covered, and some suggestions for books as gifts.
[Image: f99aq8ove/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
Authors: Sarah Crespi; Jen Golbeck; David Grimm
Thu, 14 December 2017
Whales and dolphins have incredibly sensitive hearing and are known to be harmed by loud underwater noises. David Grimm talks with Sarah Crespi about new research on captive cetaceans suggesting that some species can naturally muffle such sounds—perhaps opening a way to protect these marine mammals in the wild.
Sarah also interviews Staff Writer Jeffrey Mervis about his story on the future of autonomous cars. Will they really reduce traffic and make our lives easier? What does the science say?
[Image: Laura Wolf/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
Thu, 7 December 2017
This week, three papers came out describing new approaches to folding DNA into large complex shapes—20 times bigger than previous DNA sculptures. Staff Writer Bob Service talks with Sarah Crespi about building microscopic teddy bears, doughnuts, and more from genetic material, and using these techniques to push forward fields from materials science to drug delivery.
Sarah also interviews Philip Cook of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, about his Policy Forum on gun regulation research. It’s long been hard to collect data on gun violence in the United States, and Cook talks about how some researchers are getting funding and hard data. He also discusses some strong early results on open-carry laws and links between gun control and intimate partner homicide.
[Image: : K.WAGENBAUER, ET. AL., NATURE, VOL. 551, 2017; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
Thu, 30 November 2017
The abominable snowman, the yeti, bigfoot, and sasquatch—these long-lived myths of giant, hairy hominids depend on dropping elusive clues to stay in the popular imagination—a blurry photo here, a big footprint there—but what happens when scientists try to pin that evidence down? Online News Editor David Grimm talks with Sarah Crespi about the latest attempts to verify the yeti’s existence using DNA analysis of bones and hair and how this research has led to more than the debunking of a mythic creature.
Sarah also interviews Alison Macintosh of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom about her investigation of bone, muscle, and behavior in prehistory female farmers—what can a new database of modern women’s bones—athletes and regular folks—tell us about the labor of women as humans took up farming?
[Image: TK; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
Thu, 23 November 2017
About 8000 years ago, people were drawing dogs with leashes, according to a series of newly described stone carvings from Saudi Arabia. Online News Editor David Grimm talks with Sarah Crespi about reporting on this story and what it says about the history of dog domestication.
Sarah also interviews physicist Brad Marston of Brown University on surprising findings that bring together planetary science and quantum physics. It turns out that Earth’s rotation and the presence of oceans and atmosphere on its surface mean it can be described as a “topological insulator”—a term usually reserved for quantum phenomena. Insights from the study of these effects at the quantum level may help us understand weather and currents at the planetary level—including insights into climate change and exoplanets.
[Image: Guagnin et al., J. Anthropol. Archaeol, 2017; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm
Thu, 16 November 2017
How has written language changed over time? Do the way we read and the way our eyes work influence how scripts look? This week we hear a story on changes in legibility in written texts with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic.
Sarah Crespi also interviews Staff Writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel on her story about detecting signs of psychosis in kids and teens, recruiting at-risk individuals for trials, and searching for anything that can stop the progression.
[Image: Procsilas Moscas/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
Authors: Sarah Crespi; Catherine Matacic; Jennifer Couzin-Frankel
Thu, 9 November 2017
Randomizing the news for science, transplanting genetically engineered skin, and the ethics of experimental brain implants
This week we hear stories on what to do with experimental brain implants after a study is over, how gene therapy gave a second skin to a boy with a rare epidermal disease, and how bone markings thought to be evidence for early hominid tool use may have been crocodile bites instead, with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic.
Sarah Crespi interviews Gary King about his new experiment to bring fresh data to the age-old question of how the news media influences the public. Are journalists setting the agenda or following the crowd? How can you know if a news story makes a ripple in a sea of online information? In a powerful study, King’s group was able to publish randomized stories on 48 small and medium sized news sites in the United States and then track the results.
[Image: Chad Sparkes/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
Authors: Sarah Crespi; Catherine Matacic