This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Unless you've been hiding under a rock on Mars, you know that last weekend NASA's Mars Science Laboratory safely made its way down to the surface of the Red Planet and now the Rover Curiosity sits, set up camp in Gale Crater.
So what'll it do now that it's there? Joining me now to talk about it is John Grotzinger. He's project scientist for the mission, professor of geology at Caltech. He joins me from the JPL Campus in Pasadena. Welcome back to the program.
Science fiction hero Tom Swift has amazed children with his incredible inventions since combustion and electricity drove the nation into a new era. These stories captured a cultural love of science and inspired such famous figures as Steve Wozniak and Isaac Asimov — all while predicting new technologies decades in advance.
For fifty years, physicists have flocked to the Aspen Center for Physics to ponder their ideas amidst the serenity of the Rocky Mountains. The string theory revolution started there, and over the years the center has hosted 10,000 theoretical physicists--53 of whom are Nobel laureates.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Earlier this week, yet another potential cure for Alzheimer's failed. Pfizer called off additional studies of its intravenous drug bapineuzumab, an antibody designed to seek and destroy plaques that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.
In Cuba, President Raul Castro has plans to reform the economy, but many challenges lie ahead before the country can move forward. Many of the changes are being implemented slowly because of resistance from within the Communist Party.
Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 1:19 pm
Bipartisan legislation approved in late July by the Senate Intelligence Committee includes anti-leak provisions designed to curb disclosure of national security information. This legislation, and an ongoing FBI inquiry into U.S. intelligence leaks, have raised questions about the relationship between reporters and sources.
Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 1:30 pm
Fossils discovered in East Africa suggest that Homo erectus, the species believed to be humans' direct ancestor, may have shared Earth with two genetically distinct but similar species. Some paleontologists believe that these species may be distant relatives to modern humans, while others need more evidence.
In our increasingly interconnected world and global economy, the opportunity to study abroad seems like a particularly valuable experience. College students are urged to take advantage of study abroad programs to expand horizons and gain enriching cross-cultural experiences.
Katherine Losse was Facebook's 51st employee. After earning a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2005, she got a job as a Facebook customer service representative — tasked with answering questions like "What is a poke?" In the course of five years, she became the personal ghostwriter for founder Mark Zuckerberg.
"I witnessed over those five years this huge transformation in how we lead our lives," she tells NPR's Tom Gjelten.