Joe's Big Idea Joe's Big Idea is a new project by NPR Science Correspondent Joe Palca that examines where scientists' big ideas come from, how they pursue those ideas and how something goes from an idea to a discovery.

Patients with Type-1 diabetes don't have enough healthy islets of Langerhans cells — hormone-secreting cells of the pancreas. Granules inside these cells release insulin and other substances into the blood. Steve Gschmeissner/Science Source hide caption

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Steve Gschmeissner/Science Source

A Quest: Insulin-Releasing Implant For Type-1 Diabetes

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Nobel Committee for Physics members announce the 2017 Nobel Prize winners at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. The laureates are (from left) Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne. Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

They Proved Einstein Right; Now They've Won The 2017 Physics Nobel Prize

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Left to Right: Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne, who won the Nobel Physics Prize 2017 for gravitational waves, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced October 3, 2017 in Stockholm. Molly Riley/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Molly Riley/AFP/Getty Images

3 Americans Win 2017 Nobel Prize In Physics

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Dola Sun for NPR

Breakthrough Pain Treatment Or Snake Oil? You Decide.

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An artist's depiction of two black holes colliding. NASA hide caption

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NASA

Gravitational Wave Detector In Italy Saw Wave Pass Through Earth In August

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An artist's depiction of Planet Nine. The object is thought to be gaseous, similar to Uranus and Neptune. Hypothetical lightning lights up the night side. Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC) hide caption

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Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

Astronomers Search For Giant Planet On Outer Edges Of Solar System

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Artist's concept of Cassini diving between Saturn and its innermost ring. NASA/JPL-Caltech hide caption

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NASA/JPL-Caltech

Cassini Plunges To Saturn

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Adult Eastern hellbenders can grow up to 2 feet long and weigh around 5 pounds. They are currently endangered in several states. Pete Oxford/Minden Pictures RM/Getty Images hide caption

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Pete Oxford/Minden Pictures RM/Getty Images

VIDEO: Snot Otters Get A Second Chance In Ohio

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NASA's Cassini probe has orbited Saturn for over a decade. This Friday, scientists will steer it into the gas giant's atmosphere. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute hide caption

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NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Cassini Spacecraft Prepares For A Fiery Farewell In Saturn's Atmosphere

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Lineman and Electricians train with the APA-5 Atlas Powered Ascender to recover rescue dummy prior to the onset of suspension trauma. Courtesy of Nate Ball/Atlas Devices hide caption

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Courtesy of Nate Ball/Atlas Devices

The Army, The Inventor And The Surprising Uses Of A Batman Machine

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Avi Ofer for NPR

How Moldy Hay And Sick Cows Led To A Lifesaving Drug

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Nisian Hughes/Getty Images

New Study Highlights Strong Link Between Basic Research And Inventions

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Erik Nelson Rodriguez for NPR

Syrian Refugee And German Scientist Make An Unlikely Team

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The MD Brush toothbrush forces users to hold it at the optimal angle relative to their gums. Shuyao Chen/NPR hide caption

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Shuyao Chen/NPR

Brush Yourself Off And Try Again: An Invention Story

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Flight engineer Kate Rubins checks out the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, which is attached to the International Space Station. NASA hide caption

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NASA

After A Year In Space, The Air Hasn't Gone Out Of NASA's Inflated Module

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Mary Anderson's illustration of her 1903 patented "window cleaning device." The United States Patent and Trademark Office hide caption

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The United States Patent and Trademark Office

Alabama Woman Stuck In NYC Traffic In 1902 Invented The Windshield Wiper

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Northern elephant seals recognize each other's voices based on rhythm and pitch. Nicolas Mathevon/Current Biology hide caption

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Nicolas Mathevon/Current Biology

Threat call of a northern elephant seal

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Nedal Said risked everything to rejoin the scientific community. Erik Nelson Rodriguez for NPR hide caption

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Erik Nelson Rodriguez for NPR

Web Comic: A Scientist Runs For His Life And Finds His Dream

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Artist's impression of Jupiter's Great Red Spot heating the upper atmosphere. Karen Teramura with James O'Donoghue and Luke Moore/NASA hide caption

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Karen Teramura with James O'Donoghue and Luke Moore/NASA

NASA Spacecraft Gets Up Close With Jupiter's Great Red Spot

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A composite self-portrait of the Mars Pathfinder. NASA/JPL hide caption

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NASA/JPL

Another July 4th Anniversary: Pathfinder's Landing On Mars

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