Rachel Carlson Rachel Carlson is a production assistant at Short Wave.
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Rachel Carlson

Rachel Carlson

Production Assistant, Short Wave

Rachel Carlson (she/her) is a production assistant at Short Wave, NPR's science podcast. She gets to do a bit of everything: researching, sourcing, writing, fact-checking and cutting episodes.

Carlson has also worked as a live event producer, production assistant and web producer at shows like Truth Be Told with Tonya Mosley, WBUR's Endless Thread and The Mortified Podcast.

As a double major in Cognitive Neuroscience and English at Brown University, she studied the intersections between storytelling and the human brain. She's fascinated by all the ways stories shape our minds and inner lives, and how these inner lives shape the stories we tell.

When she takes off her headphones, you can find her rock climbing, reading and hiking. She also harbors a love for reality TV and some of the worst best horror and science fiction films ever made.

Story Archive

Friday

Palestinians walk along Salah al-Din Road in Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. NurPhoto/Getty Images hide caption

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NurPhoto/Getty Images

Monday

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Sperm whale families talk a lot. Researchers are trying to decode what they're saying

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Friday

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Monday

The inside of a cell is a complicated orchestration of interactions between molecules. Keith Chambers/Science Photo Library hide caption

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Keith Chambers/Science Photo Library

AI gets scientists one step closer to mapping the organized chaos in our cells

As artificial intelligence seeps into some realms of society, it rushes into others. One area it's making a big difference is protein science — as in the "building blocks of life," proteins! Producer Berly McCoy talks to host Emily Kwong about the newest advance in protein science: AlphaFold3, an AI program from Google DeepMind. Plus, they talk about the wider field of AI protein science and why researchers hope it will solve a range of problems, from disease to the climate.

AI gets scientists one step closer to mapping the organized chaos in our cells

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Friday

When the boys spent a year in the same school, Sam did fine, but John struggled and had some noisy meltdowns. Jodi Hilton for NPR hide caption

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Jodi Hilton for NPR

Friday

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Wednesday

This illustration shows the Milky Way, our home galaxy. NASA/JPL-Caltech hide caption

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NASA/JPL-Caltech

Friday

The Flint River water starts flowing to Flint, Mich. on April 25, 2014. Without corrosion control, lead leeched from the pipes. Brett Carlsen/Getty Images hide caption

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Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

10 years after Flint, the fight to replace lead pipes across the U.S. continues

Ten years ago, Flint, Mich. switched water sources to the Flint River. The lack of corrosion control in the pipes caused lead to leach into the water supply of tens of thousands of residents. Pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha recognized a public health crisis in the making and gathered data proving the negative health impact on Flint's young children. In doing so, she and community organizers in Flint sparked a national conversation about lead in the U.S. water system that persists today.

10 years after Flint, the fight to replace lead pipes across the U.S. continues

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Wednesday

Damming waterways is what beavers do best, often to the chagrin of people who want the opposite. But those same damming skills are what make beavers important ecosystem engineers. Chase Dekker Wild-Life Images hide caption

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Chase Dekker Wild-Life Images

Beavers can help with climate change. So how do we get along?

NPR's Tom Dreisbach is back in the host chair for a day. This time, he reports on a story very close to home: The years-long battle his parents have been locked in with the local wild beaver population. Each night, the beavers would dam the culverts along the Dreisbachs' property, threatening to make their home inaccessible. Each morning, Tom's parents deconstructed those dams — until the annual winter freeze hit and left them all in a temporary stalemate.

Beavers can help with climate change. So how do we get along?

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Friday

An artistic rendering of a washed-up Ichthyotitan severnensis carcass on the beach. Sergey Krasovskiy hide caption

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Sergey Krasovskiy

Thursday

This week in science: Pompeiian frescoes, dark energy and the largest marine reptile

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Wednesday

Selkirkia tsering fossil found in a collection from the Fezouata Formation in Morocco. Javier Ortega Hernández/Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology hide caption

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Javier Ortega Hernández/Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology

Monday

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Here's how the brain experiences pleasure — even the kind that makes us feel guilty

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Wednesday

Malte Mueller/Getty Images/fStop

The order your siblings were born in may play a role in identity and sexuality

It's National Siblings Day! To mark the occasion, guest host Selena Simmons-Duffin is exploring a detail very personal to her: How the number of older brothers a person has can influence their sexuality. Scientific research on sexuality has a dark history, with long-lasting harmful effects on queer communities. Much of the early research has also been debunked over time. But not this "fraternal birth order effect." The fact that a person's likelihood of being gay increases with each older brother has been found all over the world – from Turkey to North America, Brazil, the Netherlands and beyond. Today, Selena gets into all the details: What this effect is, how it's been studied and what it can (and can't) explain about sexuality.

The order your siblings were born in may play a role in identity and sexuality

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Sunday

Yu Darvish #11 of the San Diego Padres throws a pitch during the third inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Petco Park on April 2, 2024 in San Diego, California. Brandon Sloter/Getty Images hide caption

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Brandon Sloter/Getty Images

How climate change and physics affect baseball, America's favorite pastime

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Friday

The black-capped chickadee, seen here, is well known for its strong episodic memory. Dmitriy Aronov hide caption

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Dmitriy Aronov

The "barcodes" powering these tiny songbirds' memories may also help human memory

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Thursday

This week in science: Clever chickadees, smiling robots and haiku's most popular bugs

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Wednesday

Diamond ring effect as seen from Scottsville, Kentucky during the 2017 total solar eclipse. Philip Yabut/Getty Images hide caption

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Philip Yabut/Getty Images

Monday

NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Loral O'Hara is pictured working with the Microgravity Science Glovebox, a contained environment crew members use to handle hazardous materials for various research investigations in space. NASA hide caption

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NASA

What's it like to live in space? One astronaut says it changes her dreams

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Wednesday

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Friday

The National Ignition Facility used lasers to generate net energy from a pellet of fusion fuel in 2022. But the experiment is still a long way from truly producing more electricity than it requires. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory hide caption

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Are we on the brink of a nuclear fusion breakthrough?

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Friday

Elephantnose Fish, Gnathonemus petersii, Congo ullstein bild hide caption

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ullstein bild

The "shocking" tactic electric fish use to collectively sense the world

Neuroscientist Nathan Sawtell has spent a lot of time studying the electric elephantnose fish. These fish send and decipher weak electric signals, which Sawtell hopes will eventually help neuroscientists better understand how the brain filters sensory information about the outside world. As Sawtell has studied these electric critters, he's had a lingering question: why do they always seem to organize themselves in a particular orientation. At first, he couldn't figure out why, but a new study released this week in Nature may have an answer: the fish are creating an electrical network larger than any field a single fish can muster alone, and providing collective knowledge about potential dangers in the surrounding water.

The "shocking" tactic electric fish use to collectively sense the world

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Friday

A scene from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures' action adventure "DUNE: PART TWO," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures hide caption

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Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Friday

A skywalker gibbon is seen at the Gaoligong Mountain in China. The skywalker gibbon, a typical arboreal animal, is one of the national key protected wild animals, mainly found in Gaoligong Mountain. Xinhua News Agency/Xinhua News Agency via Getty Ima hide caption

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Xinhua News Agency/Xinhua News Agency via Getty Ima

Didn't get a Valentine's love song? These skywalker gibbons sing love duets

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