Brit Hanson Brit Hanson is a producer for NPR's science podcast, Short Wave.
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Brit Hanson

Brit Hanson
Headshot of Brit Hanson
Brit Hanson

Brit Hanson

Producer, Short Wave

Brit Hanson (she/her) is a producer for NPR's science podcast, Short Wave. The podcast explores new discoveries, everyday mysteries and the science behind the headlines — all in about 10 minutes. She's produced episodes ranging from why some fruit ripens faster in paper bag to the dangers of tear gas during a respiratory pandemic and the evolution of HIV treatment.

Prior to working at NPR, Hanson was a freelancer reporter and producer, an editor at St. Louis Public Radio and a reporter and producer at North Country Public Radio. Her work has earned multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards, awards from the Associated Press and Public Media Journalists Association and the Public Service Journalism Award from The Society for Professional Journalists. Hanson is a proud alumnus of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.

Story Archive

Monday

Blastocyst illustration. A blastocyst is a hollow ball of cells with a fluid centre formed after several divisions of a fertilised cell (zygote). The inner cell mass (purple) contains the cells that will form the embryo proper, the embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library/Getty Images hide caption

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Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

In light of the Alabama court ruling, a look at the science of IVF

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Monday

Why a person's hair turns gray has to do with melanocytes, or pigment-producing cells that are concentrated around the hair follicle that give it color. One stops producing pigment, that strand of hair turns gray. Christopher Robbins/Getty Images hide caption

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Christopher Robbins/Getty Images

Wednesday

A team of researchers recently reviewed studies on five of the most widely discussed happiness strategies—gratitude, being social, exercise, mindfulness/meditation and being in nature—to see if the findings held up to current scientific best practices. filo/Getty Images hide caption

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filo/Getty Images

The science of happiness sounds great. But is the research solid?

How do we really get happier? In a new review in the journal Nature Human Behavior, researchers Elizabeth Dunn and Dunigan Folk found that many common strategies for increasing our happiness may not be supported by strong evidence. In today's Short Wave episode, Dunn tells co-host Aaron Scott about changes in the way scientists are conducting research, and how these changes led her team to re-examine previous work in the field of psychology.

The science of happiness sounds great. But is the research solid?

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Wednesday

UCLA researcher Megha Sundara says that, even early on, babies are very good at imitating the rhythm and intonations — part of what makes up "prosody" — of the language they're hearing. Image Source/Getty Images hide caption

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Image Source/Getty Images

Why babies babble, and what it can teach adults about language

In which we metaphorically enter the UCLA Language Acquisistion Lab's recording castle, guided by linguistics researcher Dr. Megha Sundara. NPR science correspondent Sydney Lupkin temporarily takes over the host chair to talk to Sundara about all things baby babble. Along the way, we learn why babies babble, how that babbling can change with exposure to new languages — and if there are any lessons for adults.

Why babies babble, and what it can teach adults about language

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Monday

Smoking has been used around the world as a method to preserve food for thousands of years. This episode, we explore why it's also the key to tender, juicy meat. MIGUEL MENDEZ/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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MIGUEL MENDEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Chemistry says tender meat is cooked low and slow

Chefs will tell you, cooking is not just an art — it's a science. And the spirit of summer barbecues, NPR science correspondent Sydney Lupkin brings us this piece about how understanding the chemistry of cooking meat can help you perfect your barbeque. It's all about low and slow cooking.

Chemistry says tender meat is cooked low and slow

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Wednesday

The melt of California's massive snowpack has led to chronic flooding in the Central Valley this spring, like this riverfront park near the town of Grayson. Lauren Sommer/NPR hide caption

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Lauren Sommer/NPR

Wednesday

Some of the fastest sea level rise in the world is happening in Galveston, Texas. Ryan Kellman/NPR hide caption

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Ryan Kellman/NPR

Monday

Mora Leeb places some pieces into a puzzle during a local puzzle tournament. The 15-year-old has grown up without the left side of her brain after it was removed when she was an infant. Seth Leeb/Seth Leeb hide caption

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Seth Leeb/Seth Leeb

Meet the teen changing how neuroscientists think about brain plasticity

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Wednesday

This illustration picture shows a saliva collection kit for DNA testing. Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

At-home DNA test kits can tell you many things. Race shouldn't be one of them

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Thursday

The humble cricket joins lab mice, fruit flies and zebrafish in the curious pantheon of model organisms. HOANG DINH NAM/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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HOANG DINH NAM/AFP via Getty Images

Wednesday

Tanisha Williams and Chris Martine examine an Australian bush tomato in the Rooke Science Building greenhouse. Emily Paine/Bucknell University hide caption

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Emily Paine/Bucknell University

A newly identified type of tomato has been hiding in plain sight

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Monday

An artist's reconstruction of adult and newly born ichthyosaur, Shonisaurus popularis, which lived during the Triassic Period. Gabriel Ugueto / Smithsonian hide caption

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Gabriel Ugueto / Smithsonian

Fossil CSI: Cracking the case of an ancient reptile graveyard

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Friday

Closeup of a person's tears. RunPhoto/Getty Images hide caption

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RunPhoto/Getty Images

Monday

Dietary supplements are available everywhere, but how effective are they? Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images hide caption

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Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images

Wednesday

A closer look at tears. Photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher spent eight years capturing tears through a microscope. This image, titled Go! is from her work The Topography of Tears, published by Bellevue Literary Press in 2017. Rose-Lynn Fisher hide caption

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Rose-Lynn Fisher

Why Do We Cry?

Last month, Short Wave explored the evolutionary purpose of laughter. Now, we're talking tears. From glistening eyeballs to waterworks, what are tears? Why do we shed them? And what makes our species' ability to cry emotional tears so unique?

Why Do We Cry?

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Monday

Tuesday

Baker Lake is surrounded by Fall colors on October 8, 2022 near East Bolton, Quebec, Canada. SEBASTIEN ST-JEAN / AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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SEBASTIEN ST-JEAN / AFP via Getty Images

When Autumn Leaves Start To Fall

Botanist and founder of #BlackBotanistsWeek Tanisha Williams explains why some leaves change color during fall and what shorter days and colder temperatures have to do with it. Plus, a bit of listener mail from you! (Encore)

When Autumn Leaves Start To Fall

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Tuesday

Part of a destroyed mobile home park is pictured in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers Beach, Florida on September 30, 2022. GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images

Monday

The brain processes music in several places, making it easier for some people to remember songs they learned a long time ago. Getty Images hide caption

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Getty Images

Name That Tune! Why The Brain Remembers Songs

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Tuesday

Ben Elliott gets barreled at the BSR Surf Resort, where artificial waves are attracting world-class talent. Rob Henson/BSR Surf Resort hide caption

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Rob Henson/BSR Surf Resort

Surf's Always Up — In Waco, Texas

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Friday

Prisma Bildagentur/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Thursday

Chemistry Week at Nottingham University. Nigel French - PA Images via Getty Images hide caption

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Nigel French - PA Images via Getty Images

Pride Week: How Organic Chemistry Helped With Embracing Identities

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Wednesday

Medical transition-related treatments like HRT are associated with positive physical and mental health outcomes. amtitus/Getty Images hide caption

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amtitus/Getty Images

Monday

Some of NASA's first female astronaut candidates take a break from training in Florida in 1978. From left: Sally Ride, Judith Resnik, Anna Fisher, Kathryn Sullivan, Rhea Seddon. NASA hide caption

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NASA