Short Wave New discoveries, everyday mysteries, and the science behind the headlines — all in about 10 minutes, every weekday. It's science for everyone, using a lot of creativity and a little humor. Join host Maddie Sofia for science on a different wavelength.
Short Wave
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Short Wave

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New discoveries, everyday mysteries, and the science behind the headlines — all in about 10 minutes, every weekday. It's science for everyone, using a lot of creativity and a little humor. Join host Maddie Sofia for science on a different wavelength.

Most Recent Episodes

A firefighter sprays down the smoldering remains of a burning home during the Hillside Fire in the North Park neighborhood of San Bernardino, California, on October 31, 2019. JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

How The Coronavirus Could Hurt Our Ability To Fight Wildfires

Now is when we'd normally be getting ready for fire season. And this upcoming one could be tough for states like California, which had an especially dry winter. The spread of the coronavirus however is complicating preparation efforts. Maddie talks with Kendra Pierre-Louis, a reporter on the New York Times climate team, about how the crisis we're in could hurt our response to another crisis just around the corner.

How The Coronavirus Could Hurt Our Ability To Fight Wildfires

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Soteavy Som / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

Honeybees Need Your Help, Honey

A deadly triangle of factors is killing off U.S. honeybees. Last year, forty percent of honeybee colonies died in the U.S., continuing an alarming trend. Entomologist Sammy Ramsey tells host Maddie Sofia about the "three P's" and what listeners can do to help our fuzzy-flighted friends.

Honeybees Need Your Help, Honey

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An anatomical diagram showing the nasal cavity, circa 1930. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Is This Real? Loss of Smell And The Coronavirus

Doctors around the world are sharing stories of patients losing their sense of taste or smell — and testing positive for the coronavirus. Is it a real symptom of COVID-19? There isn't scientific evidence for that. But the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery is gathering anecdotal information to find out more. Short Wave's Maddie Sofia and Emily Kwong talk about science during a pandemic.

Is This Real? Loss of Smell And The Coronavirus

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This cube of uranium metal came from a reactor that the Nazis tried to build during World War II. Hundreds of others like it are now missing. John T. Consoli/University of Maryland hide caption

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John T. Consoli/University of Maryland

Seen Any Nazi Uranium? Researchers Want To Know

Encore episode. NPR science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel shares the story of Nazi Germany's attempt to build a nuclear reactor — and how evidence of that effort was almost lost to history. It's a tale he heard from Timothy Koeth and Miriam Hiebert at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park. Read more on their original story in Physics Today.

Seen Any Nazi Uranium? Researchers Want To Know

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A solitary snail. Andrew Young/Elisabeth Tova Bailey hide caption

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Andrew Young/Elisabeth Tova Bailey

Lessons In Being Alone, From A Woodland Snail

Bedridden with illness, Maine writer Elisabeth Tova Bailey found an unlikely companion — a solitary snail a friend brought her from the woods. Elisabeth spent the following year observing the creature and it was the inspiration for her memoir, "The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating."

Lessons In Being Alone, From A Woodland Snail

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(At left) A colorized electron micrograph image of the influenza virus. (At right) Color-enhanced electron micrograph image of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient. Science Source hide caption

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Science Source

No, The Coronavirus Isn't Another Flu

President Trump has compared the coronavirus to the seasonal flu. NPR reporter Pien Huang speaks to host Maddie Sofia about why the coronavirus appears deadlier and more transmissible — and why it poses such a risk to our healthcare system.

No, The Coronavirus Isn't Another Flu

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Skype A Scientist is a non-profit focused on increasing science communication by virtually pairing scientists with classrooms and other groups. Skype A Scientist hide caption

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Skype A Scientist

Stay Home And Skype A Scientist

The spread of the coronavirus has led many to stay home in recent weeks. During that time, the non-profit Skype A Scientist has seen a surge in demand for its service of virtually connecting students to scientists. Maddie talks to Sarah McAnulty, executive director of the group and a squid biologist, about bringing science to kids and, at the same time, confronting stereotypes about who can be a scientist.

Stay Home And Skype A Scientist

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Nalini M. Nadkarni is a professor of biology at the University of Utah. Sybil Gotsch hide caption

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Sybil Gotsch

Exploring The Canopy With 'TreeTop Barbie'

Encore episode: Pioneering ecologist Nalini Nadkarni takes us up into the canopy — the area above the forest floor — where she helped research and document this unexplored ecosystem. Plus: the story of her decades-long effort to get more women into science, and how she found a surprising ally in the fight — Barbie. Video and more from Maddie's trip to the canopy is here. Follow Maddie on Twitter @maddie_sofia. Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

Exploring The Canopy With 'TreeTop Barbie'

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This undated handout photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a microscopic view of the Coronavirus at the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images hide caption

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Getty Images

Why Is The Coronavirus So Good At Spreading?

Ed Yong rounds up some theories in a recent article for The Atlantic. He tells host Maddie Sofia one reason the virus spreads so well might have to do with an enzyme commonly found in human tissue.

Why Is The Coronavirus So Good At Spreading?

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Late sleepers are people too. Well, most of them. Fox Photos/Getty Images hide caption

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Fox Photos/Getty Images

It's Okay To Sleep Late (But Do It For Your Immune System)

Dr. Syed Moin Hassan was riled up. "I don't know who needs to hear this," he posted on Twitter, "BUT YOU ARE NOT LAZY IF YOU ARE WAKING UP AT NOON." Hassan, who is the Sleep Medicine Fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, speaks to Short Wave's Emily Kwong about de-stigmatizing sleeping in late, and why a good night's rest is so important for your immune system.

It's Okay To Sleep Late (But Do It For Your Immune System)

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