Geoff Brumfiel

Science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel's reports on physics, space, and all things nuclear can be heard across NPR News programs and on NPR.org.

Brumfiel has carried his microphone into ghost villages created by the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan. He's tracked the journey of highly enriched uranium as it was shipped out of Poland. For a story on how animals drink, he crouched for over an hour and tried to convince his neighbor's cat to lap a bowl of milk. He became a full-time correspondent in March of 2013.

Prior to NPR, Geoff was based in London as a senior reporter for Nature Magazine from 2007-2013. There he covered energy, space, climate, and the physical sciences. In addition to reporting, he was a member of the award-winning Nature podcast team. From 2002 – 2007, Brumfiel was Nature Magazine's Washington Correspondent, reporting on Congress, the Bush administration, NASA, and the National Science Foundation, as well as the Departments of Energy and Defense.

He began his journalism career working on the American Physical Society's "Focus" website, which is now part of Physics.

Brumfiel is the 2013 winner of the Association of British Science Writers award for news reporting on the Fukushima nuclear accident.

He graduated from Grinnell College with a BA double degree in physics and English, and earned his Masters in science writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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The Two-Way
3:34 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Physicists Crush Diamonds With Giant Laser

Physicists put diamonds at the center of this massive laser, to see what would happen.
Matt Swisher Matt Swisher/LLNL

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 11:09 am

Physicists have used the world's most powerful laser to zap diamonds. The results, they say, could tell us more about the cores of giant planets.

"Diamonds have very special properties, besides being very expensive and used for jewelrey etc.," says Raymond Smith, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. "It's the hardest substance known to man."

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Science
4:40 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

In A Lab Store Room, An Unsettling Surprise: Lost Vials Of Smallpox

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 6:13 pm

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health made an unpleasant discovery last week as they cleaned out an old laboratory: The lab contained vials of the smallpox virus, previously unknown to authorities. The vials have since been transferred to a secure lab at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

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Space
5:21 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Carbon Observatory To Monitor Greenhouse Gas From Space

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 6:32 am

NASA is preparing to launch a new satellite to observe carbon dioxide from space. The satellite could revolutionize our understanding of where this greenhouse gas comes from and where it goes.

The Two-Way
4:35 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Carbon-Sensing Satellite Prepares For Second Launch

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 will monitor carbon dioxide emissions.
jhoward NASA/JPL

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:27 pm

NASA is preparing to launch a satellite capable of monitoring carbon dioxide emissions from space. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) will be the first U.S. spacecraft dedicated to seeing the greenhouse gas from orbit, and could pave the way for new technology to enforce future global warming treaties.

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The Two-Way
5:35 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Dust Clouds Big Bang Signal

The BICEP2 telescope in Antarctica was looking for ripples from the Big Bang.
Robert Schwarz, University of Minnesota

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 8:25 pm

In March, a team of physicists announced it had found a signal from the very first moments after the Big Bang. But in a paper published Thursday, the researchers expressed considerably more caution and conceded that they could have actually been detecting little more than interstellar dust.

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The Two-Way
3:38 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Scientists Keep A Careful Eye On The World Cup Ball

A close up of the Brazuca ball in NASA's Ames Fluid Mechanics Laboratory. Smoke highlighted by lasers visualizes air flow around the ball.
NASA's Ames Research Center

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 8:45 am

While many millions are enjoying the drama of the World Cup, a handful of scientists are keeping their eyes very closely on the ball.

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Science
4:33 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Bye-Bye To The Home Of A Favorite Internet Conspiracy Theory

The remote HAARP facility in Alaska has 180 antennas that are used to study the ionosphere.
Courtesy of Christopher Fallen

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:05 pm

It sure looks suspicious: a remote military compound in the south-central Alaskan wilderness filled with 180 weird-looking antennas.

It's the home of the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP). Conspiracy theorists have accused the program of doing everything from mind control to global communications jamming.

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Asia
5:10 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Ice Wall May Stop Radioactive Leak At Japanese Nuclear Plant

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 4:02 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Earlier this week, workers in Japan began construction of an underground ice wall around the melted-down nuclear reactors at Fukushima. It is hard to even say that sentence without feeling like you're relating some science fiction tale. But it's true. The ice wall is designed to stop hundreds of tons of radioactive groundwater from leaking into the nearby Pacific Ocean. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel has been covering this story for a long time. Welcome back to the program.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: Thank you, nice to be here.

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The Two-Way
4:38 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

SpaceX Unveils A Sleek New Ride To Orbit

SpaceX's new crew capsule was unveiled yesterday.
SpaceX

Yesterday, entrepreneur Elon Musk sauntered on to stage and unveiled his latest product: not a smart phone, but a spaceship.

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Business
5:24 am
Fri May 30, 2014

SpaceX Founder Elon Musk Reveals New Spacecraft

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 12:36 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's Business News begins with - not kidding - riding a dragon. Last night, the private spaceflight company, SpaceX, unveiled a new capsule called Dragon to take astronauts into orbit. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports that this is part of the company's promise to make spaceflight cheap.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: When Internet entrepreneur, Elon Musk, announced he was starting a space launch company, there were doubters.

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