Mathematicians Could Help In Gerrymandering Legal Cases

•August 19, 2017 • 1 Comment

Legal fights over racial and partisan gerrymandering are intensifying and mathematicians think they can help. Specialists in geometry are training to become expert witnesses in redistricting cases around the country.

My story aired this week on NPR’s All Things Considered.


What will we learn from this year’s solar eclipse?

•August 15, 2017 • 1 Comment

In less than a week — on Monday, August 21 — an eclipse will race from Oregon to South Carolina, plunging a narrow strip of America into darkness. Total solar eclipses are notable for what they hide: the face of the Sun. But over the centuries, they’ve also been remarkable for what they’ve revealed to us.

My radio story aired today on PRI’s The World.

Front row seat to Saturn

•May 1, 2017 • Leave a Comment

For almost 13 years, the spacecraft Cassini has been in the Saturn system, documenting the planet and its moons. Cassini’s days are numbered — on 15 September, it will be sent hurtling towards Saturn. But just because it’s running out of fuel doesn’t mean it’s running out of fire. Cassini has a lot more science to do in its final, riskiest chapter.

I made a web video on the subject for PBS NOVA and I was interviewed about it on PRI’s The World (see below for both). Also, here’s an article my colleague at NOVA, Allison Eck, wrote on the subject.

Syrian refugee kids find success in school. They’re the lucky ones.

•March 14, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Lebanon’s public education system can’t cope with hundreds of thousands of extra Syrian refugee kids. So nonprofit groups are trying to fill the gaps.

My radio story aired on PRI’s The World.

A Scientist Walks into a Bar, Twice

•February 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

An astrophysicist must explain her work so two comedians can understand it. Here are two of my latest videos for PBS NOVA:

Using Quantum Physics to Prevent Voter Fraud

•November 3, 2016 • 2 Comments

There’s a way to make your vote incredibly secure this election season — all thanks to quantum mechanics. Check out my latest video for NOVA.

A remembrance: Glaciologist Gordon Hamilton

•October 25, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Climate scientist Gordon Hamilton died in Antarctica over the weekend when his snowmobile plunged into a deep glacial crevasse. His research at the poles focused on the relationship between melting ice sheets and rising sea levels.

My remembrance of Gordon aired today on PRI’s The World.

Massachusetts brews up new green businesses

•September 28, 2016 • 1 Comment

Solar and wind power are important, but solving the climate crisis will take a whole new generation of energy-efficient technologies, and even new companies to develop them. And there’s a growing force in the field — the green tech incubator.

My story aired a couple weeks back on PRI’s The World.

NOVA’s Black Holes iPad App!

•June 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Hurl your star across spacetime, hitting targets and avoiding celestial hazards in your quest to earn a star that’s big and bright enough to go supernova. As you play through the game’s 50-plus levels, you’ll meet new cosmic objects like small but dense neutron stars and massive blue supergiant stars. Get gravitational assists from these and other objects to slingshot around the galaxy and hit your targets. Detect and avoid invisible black holes that will shred your star if it gets too close. Beat all the levels and watch your star become a supernova and collapse into a black hole.

Download the free NOVA Black Holes iPad App from iTunes.


‘Infinite Possibilities’ Unite Jazz And Physics

•June 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Stephon Alexander once downplayed the connections he saw between jazz and physics, concerned that — as “the only black person” in his professional circle — his credibility would be questioned. But no longer.

My story aired today on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Our ability to speak doesn’t begin with our first words. It begins in the womb.

•March 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Whether you grew up speaking one or more languages, chances are you picked your first cues in utero. Scientists are learning much more about those early moments of language acquisition.

My story aired yesterday on PRI’s The World.

Listen to two black holes colliding. Einstein was right.

•February 11, 2016 • 1 Comment

A hundred years ago, Einstein predicted the existence of gravity waves. Today, for the first time, scientists announced that they’ve actually been detected. Here’s what the discovery might mean for our understanding of the universe.

My story aired today on PRI’s The World.

In Greenland, a climate change mystery with clues written in water and stone

•January 20, 2016 • 1 Comment

About a decade ago, several of Greenland’s biggest glaciers suddenly began melting. A decade later, two groups of scientists are trying to unlock the secrets behind a scientific mystery story with potentially big consequences for the future of the island’s rapidly-melting ice sheet.

My story aired this week on PRI’s The World.

Chemist Wants To Change The Color Of Science

•January 1, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Minorities are historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math fields. John Dimandja is a Congolese chemist on the faculty of Spelman College who’s pointing the way into STEM careers for students of color.

My story aired on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.

Turning ice into fire. Iceland goes for drama.

•November 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Iceland is — geologically speaking — a crazy place. The local language, for instance, includes a specific word to describe the phenomenon for a volcano detonating beneath a glacier and triggering a flash flood. And now our changing planet may be setting a new geological domino effect in motion.

My story aired yesterday on PRI’s The World.

A New Way to See the Brain

•October 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Scientists at MIT have embedded slices of brain in the absorbent material found in diapers, which swells 4-5 times its normal size. And when they look at the expanded result using an ordinary light microscope, they see an unprecedented view of nerve fibers, cells, and proteins. It’s the deepest look into the brain we’ve ever had.

Check out my latest video for NOVA.

Is an artificial tree part of the solution to climate change? These guys think so.

•September 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Trees are nature’s tool for pulling carbon dioxide out of the air, but there aren’t enough trees in the world to suck up all the CO2 humans are putting there. That’s why researchers are pushing to create artificial leaves to help fight climate change. I visit with two teams of researchers pursuing different approaches to the formidable challenge.

My story aired earlier this week on PRI’s The World.

Glacial Time Travel

•July 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I’m currently traveling to the future, with the help of a couple magnificent glaciers. (Translation: I’m on a 3-week reporting trip in Greenland and Iceland!)

In due time, my radio stories will air on PRI’s The World and my web videos will be published by NOVA.  My trip is supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

You can follow my Arctic adventure on Instagram.


Pitching Your Stories

•July 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment just published an essay of mine about how to pitch your story ideas to editors and shows — both within and beyond public radio. If you’ve got a few minutes, I encourage you to give it a read!


Rocks Aren’t Dumb

•June 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Videographer Amanda Kowalski and I produced a series of 4 videos in association with NNOCCI (National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Information), a collaborative effort to establish a national network of professionals who are skilled in communicating climate science to the public.

NOVA’s Evolution Lab!

•April 27, 2015 • Leave a Comment

What could you possibly have in common with a mushroom, or a dinosaur, or even a bacterium? More than you might think. In NOVA’s Evolution Lab, you’ll puzzle out the evolutionary relationships linking together a spectacular array of species. Explore the tree of life and get a front row seat to what some have called the greatest show on Earth.

Interested in telling others about the Lab? We’ve prepared a launch toolkit with a press release, Lab overview, and social media guide. So tweet and forward to your heart’s content, but most importantly, play!

A new kind of nuclear reactor?

•April 9, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Nuclear energy is fraught. What do you do with the spent radioactive fuel rods? What happens if there’s a meltdown? These worries have led many to write the whole thing off, and some to rebel against it. But a startup in Cambridge, Mass. thinks things can be different –- like, revolutionary different.

My story aired yesterday on Here & Now.

The Rules for the Black Birdwatcher

•March 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

A 2-minute video featuring Clemson University ecologist Drew Lanham. Amanda Kowalski shot the video footage and I produced the film for BirdNote. We’ve got the video on Facebook as well — please share!

Are we witnessing the death of ‘uh’? Um, maybe — and not just in English

•February 13, 2015 • 1 Comment

We’ve have been peppering our speech with “um,” “uh” and other expressions of hesitation for a long time — maybe for as long as we’ve had language. More recently, linguists are noting a shift in usage across a number of Germanic languages from “uh” to “um.”

My story aired last week on PRI’s The World and the BBC News Magazine.

The energy efficiency revolution is coming — just don’t tell consumers

•January 30, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Energy-saving, environmentally friendly devices are starting to work their way into the consumer market, and many were on display at this year’s Consumer Electronics Shows. But to make sure they sell, their manufacturers are leaving the efficiency out of their sales pitches.

My story aired yesterday on PRI’s The World.

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