Science Updates

  • Cell Phones & Driving

    Cell Phones & Driving 

    When you're driving a car, your eyes are in constant motion—scanning the road for signs, pedestrians, and potential hazards. But if you're talking on a cell phone, watch out: it may give you tunnel vision. You'll find out why in this Science Update.

  • SealCam


    In this Science Update, you'll hear about a daring group of underwater photographers who wear nothing but a layer of blubber.

  • Parrot Learning

    Parrot Learning 

    In this episode, hear from a researcher who believes parrots may develop language-like communication and other abilities in ways similar to humans.

  • All Species Inventory

    All Species Inventory 

    This Science Update looks at the field of taxonomy, one of the oldest practices in biology, and how a group of scientists and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs is trying to bring it into the twenty-first century.

  • Billiard Break

    Billiard Break 

    The early 20th century comedian W.C. Fields used to have an old Vaudeville routine where he'd set up to play a game of pool, and he'd hit all the balls in with one shot. It turns out that the balls had strings attached to them, and an accomplice hiding under the table simply pulled the balls into the pockets. In this Science Update, you'll find out if there's a legitimate way to do what W.C. Fields did, without needing special effects.

  • Emotion Perception

    Emotion Perception 

    Children who have been physically abused often develop social problems, and a researcher studies why this happens.

  • High Pressure

    High Pressure 

    Learn how models help scientists study difficult environments like the earth's interior.

  • Talking Lights

    Talking Lights 

    Fluorescent lights could be used for more than illumination if their flickering patterns turned into code.

  • Visual Math

    Visual Math 

    In this Science Update, hear how people may rely on a type of mental map to understand relationships between numbers.

  • Mars Hotel

    Mars Hotel 

    Hear about research to try to make long distance space travel more comfortable for astronauts.

  • Clocking T. rex

    Clocking T. rex 

    Special effects can make moviegoers feel like they’re in another world—perhaps exploring another planet, swimming the ocean depths, or facing down a dinosaur. Those effects are meant to be entertaining, but not necessarily scientifically accurate. In this Science Update, you’ll hear how one of the most popular movies in history managed to achieve both—by accident.

  • Tree Torture

    Tree Torture 

    In this Science Update, hear about the effects of groundwater pumping on the health of riverbank ecosystems.

  • Monogamous Voles

    Monogamous Voles 

    Learn why two different species of rodents, called voles, have very different strategies for post-mating relationships.

  • Proteome


    In this Science Update, you’ll hear about a group that’s working to unravel the mystery of how human genes generate such a large number of proteins.

  • Nematodes


    In this Science Update, you’ll hear how genetically engineered tomatoes may be able to resist parasitic worms without the use of toxic pesticides.

  • Eye Tracking

    Eye Tracking 

    In this Science Update, you’ll hear how scientists can measure the way we process language by observing people’s eye movements.

  • Solar Blind

    Solar Blind 

    We’ve always been warned not to look at the sun, for fear of burning out the cells in our retinas. It turns out that even photodetectors—devices specially designed to measure light—can’t look at the sun either, but for a different reason: they’re rendered useless when flooded with the sun’s intense rays. In this Science Update, you’ll hear about a new photodetector that’s not afraid to stare the sun straight in the eye.

What Are

Science Updates?

Science Updates are 60-second radio programs presenting current science research, which we explore in a student-friendly way.