Science & Environment

The Salt
12:57 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Liquid Nitrogen Cocktails: Smoking Hot Trend Or Unnecessary Risk?

A bartender prepares cocktails using liquid nitrogen at Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco.
John Joh/star5112 Flickr.com

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 3:21 pm

Doctors use liquid nitrogen — a substance registering a wickedly cold 321 degrees below zero Fahrenheit — to freeze warts so they dry up and fall off. Yes, folks, this stuff kills tissue. So imagine what it might do to your stomach if you drink some.

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The Salt
10:41 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Too Busy To Peel Garlic? Try The 20-Second Microwave Tip

Garlic's papery skin slips off quick after a little turn in the microwave. Yes, the microwave is back.
khrawlings Flickr.com

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 11:03 am

If I were rich, I might hire a sous chef. But for now, I'm learning to cheat time. And here's a new way I've stumbled upon to save a minute or two every time I use garlic.

Toss it in the microwave. I put the whole bulb in — 15 to 20 seconds will do the trick. It makes peeling much easier. The cloves practically slide -– or pop — out of their skins, though I won't make any promises about stickiness.

But, since I'm on the science desk, I have to ask, how does it work?

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Science
7:35 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Nobel Prize Winner Proves Teacher Wrong

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. It was the sort of report card that could crush a budding young talent. In 1949, a teacher at Eton belittled John Gurdon's dreams of becoming a scientist as quite ridiculous. If he can't learn simple biological facts, the teacher sniffed, pursuing science would be a waste of time. Gurdon eventually did go on to study zoology. And this week his breakthrough in reprogramming cells received the Nobel Prize for Medicine. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
7:08 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Chemistry Nobel Goes To Scientists Who Studied Body's Receptors

This year's winners of the Chemistry Nobel: Robert Lefkowitz (left) and Brian Kobilka.
NobelPrize.org

Americans Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka have been awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their "groundbreaking discoveries" about the "fine-tuned system of interactions between billions of cells" in the human body, the Nobel Prize committee announced this morning.

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Research News
4:32 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Nobel In Chemistry Is Shared By Two Americans

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 7:12 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

All this week, we've been reporting on the winners of this year's Nobel Prizes. And today in Stockholm, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the winners of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. The chair of the Nobel Prize committee for chemistry described the importance of the discovery by giving the assembled reporters a little scare.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:17 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Fun With Physics: How To Make Tiny Medicine Nanoballs

Álvaro Marín

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 9:20 am

For the past decade, scientists have been toying with the notion of encapsulating medicine in microscopic balls.

These so-called nanospheres could travel inside the body to hard-to-reach places, like the brain or the inside of a tumor. One problem researchers face is how to build these nanospheres, because you'd have to make them out of even smaller nanoparticles.

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Science
7:15 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Nobel In Physics: Your Tax Dollars At Work

In this combination of photos, American physicist David Wineland (left) speaks at a news conference in Boulder, Colo., and French physicist Serge Haroche speaks to the media in Paris after they were named winners of the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics.
Ed Andrieski, Michel Euler AP

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 10:45 am

You wouldn't be surprised to learn that a laboratory run by the U.S. Department of Commerce is working on more precise methods to measure stuff.

However, you might not expect it to be at the cutting edge of the mind-bending world of quantum physics. But on Tuesday, David Wineland became the fourth employee at the National Institute for Standards and Technology, a federal lab, to win a Nobel since 1997. Wineland learned he will share the Nobel Prize in physics with Frenchman Serge Haroche for work that's both esoteric and practical.

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All Tech Considered
5:49 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

To This Agency, There's Only One Way To Operate: Precisely

NIST physicist and Nobel Prize-winner David Wineland adjusts an ultraviolet laser beam used to manipulate ions in a high-vacuum apparatus containing an "ion trap." These devices have been used to demonstrate the basic operations required for a quantum computer.
Copyright Geoffrey Wheeler National Institute of Standards and Technology

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 10:46 am

David Wineland is the American half of the scientific duo celebrating the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics today.

Wineland and French scientist Serge Haroche developed new ways for scientists to observe individual quantum particles without damaging them. This may not sound so impressive, but the work opens a world of possibilities— including the development of a quantum computer and super-precise clock.

But who needs a better clock? Don't we have pretty good ones already?

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Science
4:50 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Nobel Scientist Was Dissed By His Schoolmaster

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 7:10 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Of course, Nobel Prize winners get about $1.2 million and the winners of the physics Nobel will split that. At a news conference today in Boulder, Colorado, Dave Wineland said he has no idea what he will do with the money. As Boulder's Daily Camera newspaper reported, his colleague, also a Nobel laureate, suggested that Wineland might upgrade his wardrobe. Wineland was wearing a fleece jacket and a polo shirt.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Shots - Health Blog
11:11 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Debate Heats Up About Contentious Bird Flu Research

When a case of the potentially lethal H5N1 bird flu was found in British poultry in 2007, Dutch farmers were told to keep their poultry away from wild birds by closing off outdoor areas with wire mesh.
Ed Oudenaarden AFP/Getty Images

What was supposed to be a 60-day moratorium on certain experiments involving lab-altered bird flu has now lasted more than eight months. And there's no clear end in sight.

Researchers still disagree on how to best manage the risks posed by mutant forms of highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu. The altered viruses are contagious between ferrets, which are the lab stand-in for humans. The fear is that these germs could potentially cause a deadly flu pandemic in people if they ever escaped the lab.

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