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

Chelsea Connor is a co-founder of #BlackBirdersWeek. Chelsea Connor hide caption

toggle caption
Chelsea Connor

#BlackBirdersWeek Seeks To Make The Great Outdoors Open To All

Happy #BlackBirdersWeek! This week, black birders around the world are rallying around Christian Cooper, a black man and avid birder, who was harassed by a white woman while birding in Central Park. We talk with#BlackBirdersWeek co-founder Chelsea Connor about how black birders are changing the narrative around who gets to enjoy nature and the challenges black birders face.

#BlackBirdersWeek Seeks To Make The Great Outdoors Open To All

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/869052336/869208320" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Glacier mice in Iceland. Ruth Mottram/Ruth Mottram hide caption

toggle caption
Ruth Mottram/Ruth Mottram

Meet The 'Glacier Mice.' Scientists Can't Figure Out Why They Move.

In 2006, while hiking around the Root Glacier in Alaska, glaciologist Tim Bartholomaus encountered something strange and unexpected on the ice — dozens of fuzzy, green balls of moss. It turns out, other glaciologists had come across before and lovingly named them "glacier mice."

Meet The 'Glacier Mice.' Scientists Can't Figure Out Why They Move.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/868027341/868032205" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Jon Jacobo, the Latino Task Force for COVID-19, and UCSF members during UCSF's mass testing study at Garfield Square. A study of the virus's spread held by UC San Francisco researchers in partnership with San Francisco Department of Public Health and Zuckerberg General, mass testing is provided free of charge for the residents and workers in a one mile square radius of the Mission district. Mike Kai Chen hide caption

toggle caption
Mike Kai Chen

The Key To Coronavirus Testing Is Community

In San Francisco, the coronavirus has disproportionately affected Hispanic and Latinx communities. This is especially true in the Mission District — a neighborhood known for its art and food culture. To understand more about how the virus has penetrated the neighborhood, a group of collaborators known as Unidos En Salud carried out a massive testing initiative focused on community and collaboration.

The Key To Coronavirus Testing Is Community

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/865943266/867514162" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

An Afghan boy sells balloons in Kabul. We shouldn't worry about using helium for celebrations because, as one expert says, "The helium that's used in party balloons gets everybody to care about this resource." Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP

The World Is Constantly Running Out Of Helium

Encore episode. Helium is the second-most common element in the cosmos, but it's far rarer on planet Earth. As part of our celebration of the periodic table's 150th birthday, correspondent Geoff Brumfiel shares a brief history of helium's ascent, to become a crucial part of rocket ships, MRI machines, and birthday parties.

The World Is Constantly Running Out Of Helium

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/865701529/865980022" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Miguel Navarro/Getty Images

What We Will ⁠— And Won't ⁠— Remember About The Pandemic

There's no doubt we're living through a Big Historic Event, but that doesn't necessarily mean we'll remember it all that well. Shayla Love, a senior staff writer for VICE, explains what memory research and events from the past say we will and won't remember about living through the coronavirus pandemic. Plus, why essential workers may remember this time differently from people who are staying home.

What We Will ⁠— And Won't ⁠— Remember About The Pandemic

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/864474175/864565008" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A mostly empty highway through downtown Los Angeles on April 7. Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

The Pandemic Cut Down Car Traffic. Why Not Air Pollution?

An NPR analysis of a key air pollutant showed levels have not changed dramatically since the pandemic curbed car traffic in the U.S. NPR science reporter Rebecca Hersher and NPR climate correspondent Lauren Sommer explain why — and what really makes our air dirty.

The Pandemic Cut Down Car Traffic. Why Not Air Pollution?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/862920439/863482256" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

NASA visualization of what matter looks like as it falls into a black hole, a process known as accretion. Jeremy Schnittman/NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center hide caption

toggle caption
Jeremy Schnittman/NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

What Would It Be Like To Fall Into A Black Hole?

Black holes are one of the most beguiling objects in our universe. What are they exactly? How do they affect the universe? And what would it be like to fall into one? We venture beyond the point of no return with Yale astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, into a fascinating world of black holes — where the laws of physics break down.

What Would It Be Like To Fall Into A Black Hole?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/859158971/862849382" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen as it is rolled out of the horizontal integration facility at Launch Complex 39A. NASA/Bill Ingalls/NASA/Bill Ingalls hide caption

toggle caption
NASA/Bill Ingalls/NASA/Bill Ingalls

Space Launch! (It's Tomorrow And It's Historic.)

Tomorrow, two NASA astronauts are set to head up into space on a brand new spacecraft, built by the company SpaceX. The last time NASA sent a crew up in an entirely new vehicle was in 1981 with the launch of the Space Shuttle. Maddie talks to NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce about tomorrow's launch and how it compares to that earlier milestone. We'll also look at how this public-private partnership is changing the future of space exploration.

Space Launch! (It's Tomorrow And It's Historic.)

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/861229096/861370308" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A Short Wave Mad Lib

We're off for Memorial Day, so Maddie and Emily have a special Short Wave mad lib for you. Back with a new episode tomorrow.

A Short Wave Mad Lib

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/860224570/860456883" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Crumpled paper with red font fake news against blue green background. Karl Tapales/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Karl Tapales/Getty Images

How to Correct Misinformation, According to Science.

The World Health Organization has called the spread of misinformation around the coronavirus an "infodemic." So what do you do when it's somebody you love spreading the misinformation? In this episode, Maddie talks with Invisibilia reporter Yowei Shaw about one man's very unusual approach to correcting his family. And we hear from experts about what actually works when trying to combat misinformation.

How to Correct Misinformation, According to Science.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/860219481/860599444" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Back To Top
or search npr.org