Joe Palca Joe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR.
Joe Palca, photographed for NPR, 17 January 2019, in Washington DC.
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Joe Palca

Kroto displays a model of his discovery in 1996: a soccer ball-shape carbon molecule that spawned a new field of study and could act as a tiny cage to transport other chemicals. Michael Scates/AP hide caption

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Michael Scates/AP

A Discoverer Of The Buckyball Offers Tips On Winning A Nobel Prize

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Nobel Prize In Chemistry Awarded To 3 Scientists For DNA Repair Discovery

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Mike Lester, CEO of Taxi 2000, sits in the SkyWeb Express in the company's warehouse in Fridley, Minn. The company has been working on SkyWeb Express system, a point-to-point personal rapid transit system. Ackerman + Gruber for NPR hide caption

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Ackerman + Gruber for NPR

Why Nonstop Travel In Personal Pods Has Yet To Take Off

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A thermoelectric PowerCard like this one can be used to convert waste heat into an electric power source, Alphabet Energy says. Alphabet Energy hide caption

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Alphabet Energy

A Lot Of Heat Is Wasted, So Why Not Convert It Into Power?

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Scientists Develop App To Turn Smartphones Into Cosmic Ray Detectors

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Can people tell a computer-generated story from a human-authored one? How about a poem, or a playlist? Three new contests hope to find out. ImageZoo/Corbis hide caption

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ImageZoo/Corbis

Shall I Compare Thee To An Algorithm? Turing Test Gets A Creative Twist

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The sea snail Conus magus looks harmless enough, but it packs a venomous punch that lets it paralyze and eat fish. A peptide modeled on the venom is a powerful painkiller, though sneaking it past the blood-brain barrier has proved hard. Courtesy of Jeanette Johnson and Scott Johnson hide caption

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Courtesy of Jeanette Johnson and Scott Johnson

Snail Venom Yields Potent Painkiller, But Delivering The Drug Is Tricky

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Researcher John Clements in the early 1980s, after he figured out that lungs need surfactants to breathe. David Powers/Courtesy of UCSF hide caption

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David Powers/Courtesy of UCSF

How A Scientist's Slick Discovery Helped Save Preemies' Lives

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Harry Kroto, pictured in 1996, displays a model of the geodesic-shaped carbon molecules that he helped discover. Michael Scates/AP hide caption

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Michael Scates/AP

'Buckyballs' Solve Century-Old Mystery About Interstellar Space

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The Cryptsporidium parasite emerges from the oocyst ready to infect. Muthgapatti Kandasamy & Boris Striepen/Courtesy of University of Georgia hide caption

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Muthgapatti Kandasamy & Boris Striepen/Courtesy of University of Georgia

Progress In The Fight Against A Parasite That Causes Diarrheal Disease

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This is a calculated flood map for the city of St. Louis. Water depth goes from deep (dark blue) to shallow (white, light blue). Floodwater can come from the Illinois, Upper Mississippi and Missouri rivers, as well as from heavy local precipitation. Courtesy of Dag Lohmann/Katrisk hide caption

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Courtesy of Dag Lohmann/Katrisk

Flood Maps Can Get Much Sharper With A Little Supercomputing Oomph

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