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
NPR

Short Wave

From NPR

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

Urine samples for analysis in test tubes. Science Photo Library/Getty Images hide caption

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Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Micro Wave: Let's Talk About Urine

There are lots of misconceptions around urine. Can urine cure athlete's foot? Or really treat a jellyfish sting?

Micro Wave: Let's Talk About Urine

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Can the epigenetic effects of experiences be inherited? Eternity in an Instant/Getty Images hide caption

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Eternity in an Instant/Getty Images

The Legacy of Trauma: Can Experiences Leave A Biological Imprint?

Descendants of trauma victims seem to have worse health outcomes. Could epigenetics help explain why? Bianca Jones Marlin and Brian Dias walk us through the field of epigenetics and its potential implications in trauma inheritance.

The Legacy of Trauma: Can Experiences Leave A Biological Imprint?

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The magnets used in these letters are one of the more obvious uses of magnets, but magnets are also found in many other household objects. Fred Tanneau/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Fred Tanneau/AFP via Getty Images

Magnets: The Hidden Objects Powering Your Life

It's likely there's a magnet wherever you're looking right now. In fact, the device you're using to listen to this episode? Also uses a magnet. Which is why today, NPR science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel is taking us "back to school," explaining how magnetism works and why magnets deserve more respect.

Magnets: The Hidden Objects Powering Your Life

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Throughout his long career in STEM, James West has been an advocate for diversity and inclusion. Will Kirk/Johns Hopkins University hide caption

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Will Kirk/Johns Hopkins University

James West On Invention And Inclusion In Science

James West has been a curious tinkerer since he was a child, always wondering how things worked. Throughout his long career in STEM, he's also been an advocate for diversity and inclusion — from co-founding the Association for Black Laboratory Employees in 1970 to his work today with The Ingenuity Project, a non-profit that cultivates math and science skills in middle and high school students in Baltimore public schools.

James West On Invention And Inclusion In Science

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A nurse takes a Moderna Covid-19 vaccines ready to be administered at a vaccination site at Kedren Community Health Center, in South Central Los Angeles. Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

Coronavirus Vaccine Q&A: Variants, Side Effects, And More

Can people who are vaccinated still carry and transmit the coronavirus to other people? How effective are the vaccines against coronavirus variants? And what's the deal with side effects? In this episode, an excerpt of Maddie's appearance on another NPR podcast, It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders, where she answered those questions and more.

Coronavirus Vaccine Q&A: Variants, Side Effects, And More

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Artistic rendering of Octavia Butler. Joelle Avelino hide caption

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Joelle Avelino

BONUS: Throughline — Octavia Butler: Visionary Fiction‬

To round out our celebration of Black History Month, we're bringing you a special episode featuring acclaimed science fiction writer Octavia Butler from our friends at NPR's history podcast Throughline.

BONUS: Throughline — Octavia Butler: Visionary Fiction‬

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For a scientific experiment, a person sits in front of a computer, and an EEG measures the electrical signals released by neurons in their brain. Getty Images hide caption

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Getty Images

Micro Wave: I'll Peanut Jam Your Brain

Today, what happens in your brain when you notice a semantic or grammatical mistake, according to neuroscience. Sarah Phillips, a neurolinguist, tells us all about the N400 and the P600 responses.

Micro Wave: I'll Peanut Jam Your Brain

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Facial recognition researcher Joy Buolamwini stands for a portrait behind a mask she had to use so that software could detect her face. Buolamwini's research has uncovered racial and gender bias in facial analysis tools sold by companies such as Amazon that have a hard time recognizing certain faces, especially darker-skinned women. Steven Senne/AP hide caption

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Steven Senne/AP

Why Tech Companies Are Limiting Police Use of Facial Recognition

In June 2020, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM announced that they were limiting some uses of their facial recognition technology. In this encore episode, Maddie and Emily talk to AI policy analyst Mutale Nkonde about algorithmic bias — how facial recognition software can discriminate and reflect the biases of society and the current debate about policing has brought up the issue about how law enforcement should use this technology.

Why Tech Companies Are Limiting Police Use of Facial Recognition

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Until Henrietta Lacks' cells came along, whenever human cells were put in a lab dish, they would die immediately or reproduce only a few times. HeLa cells, by contrast, grew indefinitely. National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research via AP hide caption

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National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research via AP

Anti-Racist Science Education

Some of the most prestigious scientists in history advanced racist and eugenicist views, but that is rarely mentioned in textbooks. Maddie and Emily speak with science educators about how to broaden science education--including how they tap into kids' sense of justice by incorporating ethics into experiments and how they share contributions of scientists who may be less famous than the big names. (Encore episode)

Anti-Racist Science Education

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Brain Trouble, the second book in The Magnificent Makers series. Penguin Random House hide caption

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Penguin Random House

The Creation Of The Magnificent Makers

Author and neuroscientist Theanne Griffith talks with Maddie about her children's book series, The Magnificent Makers, which follows two intrepid third graders as they race to complete science-based adventures. (Encore episode)

The Creation Of The Magnificent Makers

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