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National Science Foundation Podcast Zone

Date Title/Podcast Description Length
September 23, 2010 "Waste Treatment Plant" Isolating a gene that allows a type of fern to tolerate high levels of arsenic, Purdue University researchers hope to use the finding to create plants that can clean up soils and waters contaminated by the toxic metal. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
September 9, 2010 "Just Chillin" New findings from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center may help explain the mechanics behind the widely documented phenomenon of living creatures being totally frozen and then successfully brought back to life. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
August 25, 2010 "Wheel Deal" While the evolution from the Neolithic stone wheel to the sleek wheels of today's racing bikes can be seen as the result of human ingenuity, it also represents how animals, including humans, have come to move more efficiently over millions of years on Earth, according to a Duke University engineer. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
August 9, 2010 "Go Fish" A new study from the University of Chicago reports that a mass extinction of fish 360 million years ago hit the reset button on life on Earth, setting the stage for modern vertebrate biodiversity. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
June 21, 2010 "Adopt-A-Squirrel" Those neighborhood squirrels you often see fighting over food may not seem altruistic, but new University of Guelph research has found that the critters will actually take in orphaned relatives. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
June 1, 2010 "Next Wave" A team of scientists at MIT have discovered a previously unknown phenomenon that can cause powerful waves of energy to shoot through minuscule wires known as carbon nanotubes. The discovery could lead to a new way of producing electricity, the researchers say. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
May 6, 2010 "Self Corn-Trol" A University of Illinois agricultural engineer believes it may be possible to "teach" corn to provide its own nitrogen, thus eliminating the need for farmers to add expensive nitrogen fertilizers to the soil. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
May 4, 2010 "Glacial Globe" Geologists at Harvard University found evidence that sea ice extended to the equator up to 716.5 million years ago, bringing new precision to a "snowball Earth" event long suspected to have taken place around that time. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
March 30, 2010 "On The Fly" Using high-speed cameras and computer models, researchers have shown exactly how fruit flies move through the air, and how they keep stable even when a whoosh of wind knocks them off course. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
March 4, 2010 "Current Event" Waters from warmer latitudes, or subtropical waters, are reaching Greenland's glaciers, driving melting and likely triggering an acceleration of ice loss, reports a team of researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
February 23, 2010 "Viral Vrooom" Researchers at MIT have shown that they can genetically engineer viruses to build both the positively and negatively charged ends of a lithium-ion battery. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
January 20, 2010 "Mess O' Predators" A new study led by Oregon State University shows that declining populations of "apex" predators such as wolves, lions or sharks has led to a huge increase in smaller "mesopredators" that are causing major economic and ecological disruptions. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
January 20, 2010 "Amoeba Cheaters" New research out of Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine says that cheaters may prosper in the short term, but over time they seem doomed to fail, at least in the microscopic world of amoebas where natural selection favors the noble. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
December 14, 2009 "A School of Robofish" Kristi Morgansen from the University of Washington has built three Robofish that communicate with one another underwater and can work together. The robots can be programmed to either all swim in one direction or all swim in different directions. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
November 13, 2009 "Risky Business" Scientists looking into how to lower the risk of future climate change have found that reducing carbon emissions now can make a difference. Making quick changes now would improve our changes of avoiding a temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
October 29, 2009 "Family Roots" Plants may not have eyes and ears, but they can recognize their siblings. Sibling plants growing next to each other don't send out roots to compete. But when growing next to an unrelated plant, they rapidly grow roots to compete for water and nutrients. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
October 15, 2009 "Ardi-Facts" An international team of scientists has for the first time thoroughly described Ardipithecus ramidus, a hominid species that lived 4.4 million years ago in what is now Ethiopia. The female skeleton, nicknamed Ardi, is 4.4 million years old, 1.2 million years older than the skeleton of Lucy. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
October 14, 2009 "Bacterial Bouncers" A team of researchers in Denmark, at the University of California, Davis, and at UC Berkeley have identified a group of plant proteins that "shut the door" on bacteria that would otherwise infect the plant's leaves. The findings provide a better understanding of plants' immune systems and will likely find application in better protecting crops and horticultural plants against diseases. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
September 18, 2009 "Rock the House" Stanford engineers and others have created a structural design that lets buildings rock during earthquakes, then correct themselves when the shaking stops, confining damage to replaceable steel "fuses." Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
September 18, 2009 "Cloak Works" University of Utah mathematicians have developed a brand new cloaking method that functions through wave cancellation and could someday shield submarines from sonar, planes from radar, buildings from earthquakes, and coastal structures from tsunamis. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
September 3, 2009 "Bake 'n Flake" A team of researchers has found that early modern humans who lived on the coast of the southern tip of Africa used fire to improve their stone tools. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
August 28, 2009 "Fish Futures" A team of international scientists found that managing fisheries does help populations of fish to grow. This is especially important news for fish species that have been overfished. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
August 14, 2009 "Fluid Motion" Researchers are using sound waves to move fluids through tiny detectors that are only millimeters or centimeters in size. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
August 6, 2009 "Diamond Delivery" Researchers have discovered a way to use microscopic diamonds for delivering and releasing medicines to a specific location in the body that needs it. This mineral may be able to help heal wounds and burns by bringing insulin to the injury. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
July 9, 2009 "Past Leaves" Researchers from Dublin's University College have unearthed striking evidence for a sudden ancient collapse in plant biodiversity. A trove of 200 million year-old fossilized leaves point to rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
June 26, 2009 "Upping the Anti" Two physicists at Washington State University have developed a concept for a 100% efficient, portable fuel cell that uses positrons from antimatter as its energy source. They have taken the first steps to harness the power of antimatter, which could be able to power deep space travel as well as energy use on Earth. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
June 4, 2009 "Wet and Wild" Have you ever noticed that water beads up and rolls off of some plants and animals? Have you noticed that some insects can walk on water at the surface of ponds? This physical property is called super hydrophobia. Researchers are using computer-aided tests to study how super hydrophobia works. It may be the key to inventions like self-cleaning clothing and tiny robots that can walk on water. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
April 28, 2009 "Changing Change" We can greatly reduce the threat of climate change. How? According to climate models, if we cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70% during this century we might avoid the some of the worst impacts of climate change. Global temperatures would still rise, but events like sea-level rise might be partially avoided. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
April 17, 2009 "Blow Flies" A Caltech biologist and his research team have identified how the antennae of fruit flies process the feeling of wind and then how the flies respond by standing completely still. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
April 8, 2009 "Flextronics" Did you say flexible electronics? Researchers at Cornell University and the University of Melbourne, Australia, are fabricating organic semiconducting materials from a gentle solvent called Supercritical Carbon Dioxide. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
March 25, 2009 "High Life" Gases rising from deep within the Earth fuel the world's highest known microbial ecosystems near the rim of the Socompa volcano. Located in the Andes Mountains in the Atacama Desert, this extreme environment has thin air, intense UV radiation, and a harsh climate, yet microbes thrive! Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
March 10, 2009 "Global Worming" Researchers are studying the impacts of global warming on Antarctica’s ecosystem by looking at the relationship between rising temperatures and a specialized worm that makes its own antifreeze. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
February 26, 2009 "Quantum Leap" Scientists have, for the first time ever, successfully teleported information between two atoms at a distance of one meter. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
February 3, 2009 "Food Plight" New research conducted by the Univeristy of Washington and Stanford University shows that a rapidly warming climate is likely to seriously damage crop production within the tropics and subtropics by the end of this century. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
January 22, 2009 "Shrinky Dinghies" Researchers at Penn State University are teaching nanoparticles to swim. They have found a way to propel tiny rods of gold/platinum, each less than one one-hundredth the thickness of a hair, with a chemical reaction. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
December 19, 2008 "Tool Time" Georgetown University researcher studies subset of bottlenose dolphin that uses marine sponges as a tool to hunt for food. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
December 15, 2008 "Bac-Tery Powered" Researchers at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities are studying a remarkable species of bacteria that produces electric current when attached to a graphite electrode or other conductive surface. Check out this News Story. 90 seconds
November 18, 2008 "Green Mile" Researcher Nalini Nadkarni currently advises a team of prison inmates in Washington State on how best to grow mosses. The mosses are being taken from Pacific Northwest forests by horticulturalists. This program aims to add them back to the forests. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
October 29, 2008 "Ground Control" Iowa State researchers are working on creating high tech networks of underground sensors. Buried in farm fields, these sensors would give farmers constant feedback on soil moisture and other ground conditions. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
October 22, 2008 "Multi-Faceted" A Northwestern University research team has developed a device made of tiny diamonds that could be used to deliver chemotheraphy drugs to places in a human body where cancerous tumors have been surgically removed. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
October 22, 2008 "Collateral Damage" Pine bark beetles appear to be doing more than killing large swaths of forests in the Rocky Mountains. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, suspect that their hunger for trees is also changing local weather and air quality. Check out this News Story. 90 seconds
September 29, 2008 "Sugar Rush" Research teams from Virent Energy Systems and the University of Wisconsin at Madison have successfully converted sugar--potentially derived from agricultural waste and non-food plants--into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and a range of other valuable chemicals. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
September 19, 2008 "Night Moves" A team of biologists has found the genes that allow plants to have growth bursts at night and allow them to compete when their leaves are shaded by other plants. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
September 11, 2008 "Going, Going, Guam" Biologists have found that an invasive species of brown tree snake has had an impact on Guam's forests. This species of snake has been hunting the island's bird population to near extinction. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
September 4, 2008 "Buggles" MIT mathematicians have now figured out exactly how hundreds of types of insect species are able to spend much of their time under water. When these insects submerge, their rough, water repellent coats trap air next to their bodies and form a small airpocket from which to breathe. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
August 5, 2008 "Break Water" In a major leap that could transform solar power from a marginal energy source into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn't shine. Until now, solar power has been a daytime-only energy source, because storing extra solar energy for later use is prohibitively expensive and grossly inefficient. MIT researchers have hit upon a simple, inexpensive, highly efficient process for storing solar energy. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
July 29, 2008 "Deep Voices" Talking fish? New research shows that fish vocalize with hums and grunts. Long ago, fish evolved this ability before vertebrates first ventured out of the water. Check out this News Story . 90 seconds
July 15, 2008 "Degrees of Survival" Global warming is likely a greater threat to species living in the tropics than species from cooler climates because tropical species don't tolerate temperature increases as well. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
June 26, 2008 "Fragrant Violation" Air pollution from power plants and automobiles is diminishing the fragrance of flowers and thereby inhibiting the ability of pollinating insects to follow scent trails to their source, a new University of Virginia study indicates. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
June 20, 2008 "Frogantuan" A team of researchers, led by a Stony Brook University paleontologist, discovered the remains of what may be the largest frog ever to exist. The fossilized remains of this 16-inch, 10-pound ancient frog were found in Madagascar and link a group of frogs that lived 65-70 million years ago with frogs living today in South America. Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
May 12, 2008 Café Latte Batte At a time when bat populations are declining worldwide, a new University of Michigan study shows the bat's impact on ecological systems. The study reveals that bats exceed birds in their ability to devour coffee-eating insects on organic coffee farms. Want to learn more? Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
April 22, 2008 Gasoline Plant Researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst have made a breakthrough in the development of "green gasoline," a liquid identical to standard gasoline yet created from sustainable biomass sources like switchgrass and poplar trees. Want to learn more? Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
April 11, 2008 Tropical Hunch Using global databases and sophisticated computer models to analyze patterns of emerging diseases, scientists from four well-known institutions are able for the first time to plot, map and predict where future pandemics might originate. Want to learn more? Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
March 24, 2008 Flight Path A new study from the University of Montana Flight Laboratory regarding the evolution of flight suggests birds' wings evolved because birds were using their wings to run up steep surfaces in order to avoid predators. Eventually, their wings became strong enough for true flight. Want to learn more? Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
February 28, 2008 Systematic Search A team of international astronomers reported the discovery of a solar system nearly 5,000 light years away containing scaled-down versions of Jupiter and Saturn, suggesting that our galaxy could conceivably contain many star systems similar to our own. Want to learn more? Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
February 28, 2008 Eye Screen University of Washington engineers have for the first time, combined a flexible, biologically safe contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights. Want to learn more? Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
January 22, 2008 Loving Environment A study at Michigan State University shows that rising divorce rates have a negative impact on the environment due to increased levels of energy and utility consumption. Want to learn more? Check out this Press Release from NSF. 90 seconds
January 14, 2008 Got Mica? According to a new "soup and sandwich" hypothesis, Earth's first life may have formed inside a primordial soup that was sandwiched between the many layers of the mineral mica. Want to learn more? Check out this Press Release. 90 seconds
January 14, 2008 Evolution Revolution Countering a common theory that evolution in modern humans has slowed to a crawl or even stopped, a new study from the University of Wisonsin-Madison examines data from an international genomics project that describes the past 40,000 years as a time of supercharged evolutionary change. Want to know more? Read this Press Release from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 90 seconds
January 14, 2008 Distant Whaletive A research team from Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy has discovered the missing link between whales and their four-footed ancestors. Want to learn more? Read this Press Release. 90 seconds
July 12, 2007 Tropical Punch A study from an international team of scientists sheds some light on one of the biggest mysteries in climate science. What happens to the 8 billion tons of carbon emissions resulting from motor vehicles, factories, etc. each year? Earlier estimates indicated that forests in the northern regions were responsible for a good portion of the carbon uptake. New information from aircraft samples reveals those numbers to be much lower, but it appears that forests in the tropical regions are doing significantly more than expected to offset the industrial emissions. Not exactly a K.O. (or should we say CO) of global warming, but certainly one round for the tropics in this fight. Want to know more? Check out this Press Release from Purdue University. 90 seconds
June 7, 2007 Reef Savers The establishment of marine reserves is successful in protecting fish and other marine life from overfishing, but now research from the University of Exeter shows the benefit is even greater than that. The reserves could also help coral reefs to survive... because algae and seaweed, which are usually detrimental to coral, are controlled by grazing parrotfish. Kind of a reversal of roles in the marine world -- coral reefs, which have supported thousands of fish and other marine species for millions of years, are now getting a helping "hand" from fish. Want to learn more? Read this Press Release. 90 seconds

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Last modified September 26, 2010 by Becca Hatheway.

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