Joe's Big Idea Joe's Big Idea is a new project by NPR Science Correspondent Joe Palca that examines where scientists' big ideas come from, how they pursue those ideas and how something goes from an idea to a discovery.
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New Study Highlights Strong Link Between Basic Research And Inventions

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Syrian Refugee And German Scientist Make An Unlikely Team

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The MD Brush toothbrush forces users to hold it at the optimal angle relative to their gums. Shuyao Chen/NPR hide caption

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Shuyao Chen/NPR

Brush Yourself Off And Try Again: An Invention Story

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Flight engineer Kate Rubins checks out the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, which is attached to the International Space Station. NASA hide caption

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NASA

After A Year In Space, The Air Hasn't Gone Out Of NASA's Inflated Module

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Mary Anderson's illustration of her 1903 patented "window cleaning device." The United States Patent and Trademark Office hide caption

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The United States Patent and Trademark Office

Alabama Woman Stuck In NYC Traffic In 1902 Invented The Windshield Wiper

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Northern elephant seals recognize each other's voices based on rhythm and pitch. Nicolas Mathevon/Current Biology hide caption

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Nicolas Mathevon/Current Biology

Threat call of a northern elephant seal

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Nedal Said risked everything to rejoin the scientific community. Erik Nelson Rodriguez for NPR hide caption

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Erik Nelson Rodriguez for NPR

Web Comic: A Scientist Runs For His Life And Finds His Dream

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Artist's impression of Jupiter's Great Red Spot heating the upper atmosphere. Karen Teramura with James O'Donoghue and Luke Moore/NASA hide caption

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Karen Teramura with James O'Donoghue and Luke Moore/NASA

NASA Spacecraft Gets Up Close With Jupiter's Great Red Spot

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A composite self-portrait of the Mars Pathfinder. NASA/JPL hide caption

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NASA/JPL

Another July 4th Anniversary: Pathfinder's Landing On Mars

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Deilephila elpenor, commonly called the elephant hawk-moth, has specialized eyes that don't reflect light. Such moths inspired scientists to invent an anti-glare coating for smart screens. Ullstein Bild/Getty Images hide caption

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Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

A brown dwarf can give off some light, allowing scientists — professional or volunteer — to search for the object as it moves across the sky. Chuck Carter and Gregg Hallinan/Caltech/NASA hide caption

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Chuck Carter and Gregg Hallinan/Caltech/NASA

Citizen Scientists Comb Images To Find An 'Overexcited Planet'

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Mohammad Al Abdallah, the executive director of the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre, shows a video that was posted to YouTube of illegal cluster bombing in Syria. Meredith Rizzo/NPR hide caption

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Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Activists Build Human Rights Abuse Cases With Help From Cellphone Videos

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This image shows Jupiter's south pole, as seen by NASA's Juno spacecraft from an altitude of 32,000 miles. The oval features are cyclones, up to 600 miles in diameter. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles hide caption

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NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles

Juno Spacecraft Reveals Spectacular Cyclones At Jupiter's Poles

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A blue whale, the largest animal on the planet, engulfs krill off the coast of California. Silverback Films/BBC/Proceedings of the Royal Society B hide caption

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Silverback Films/BBC/Proceedings of the Royal Society B

How The Biggest Animal On Earth Got So Big

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