Short Wave

Short Wave

664 episodes


New discoveries, everyday mysteries, and the science behind the headlines — all in about 10 minutes, every weekday. It's science for everyone, using a lot of creativity and a little humor. Join host Emily Kwong for science on a different wavelength.

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27 May 2022

James Kagambi: The 62 Year Old Who Just Summited Everest

The first all-black team of climbers reached the summit of Mount Everest last week, including the first Kenyan ever to do so. Today on the show Short Wave Host Aaron Scott talks with Science Reporter Ari Daniel about his interview with James Kagambi, a snow-loving, 62-year-old with a bum knee who made the trek despite his doctor's orders.

You can follow Aaron on Twitter @AaronScottNPR and Ari on Instagram @mesoplodon_. Email Short Wave at
26 May 2022

Dog Breeds Are A Behavioral Myth... Sorry!

Is your border collie a lethargic couch potato? Is your golden retriever bad with kids? Is your German shepherd too timid to guard your home?

Turns out, there may be good reason why your pooch doesn't act as expected. Regina G. Barber talks with writer Katie Wu about the science of dog breeds, including how much a dog's personality is linked to breed. (Hint: less than you might think!)

Got personal stories of your dog breaking its behavioral mold? Share with us at
25 May 2022

How Changes in Abortion Law Could Impact Community Health

Depending how the Supreme Court votes on a pending case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, many pregnant people may lose the right to seek an abortion in their state. Host Emily Kwong talks to research scientist Liza Fuentes about the shifting reality of abortion as health care — and how the states with the greatest restrictions generally invest the least in maternal and children's health.

Today is part two of Emily and Liza's conversation. Listen to part one of Emily and Liza's conversation to hear how abortion is used as a tool to improve public health.
24 May 2022

Why Abortion Access Is Important For A Healthy Community

Abortion access has been leading political news in recent weeks. But what happens when we look at abortion as a health care tool that betters public health? Today, Emily talks to Liza Fuentes, a Senior Research Scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that focuses on sexual and reproductive health. Fuentes says abortion access is an important part of health care for a community and losing access can exacerbate income and health inequalities.
23 May 2022

The Queen of Nuclear Physics (Part Two): Forming Chien-Shiung Wu's Story

Growing up, Jada Yuan didn't realize how famous her grandmother was in the world of physics. In this episode, Jada talks to Emily about the life of physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, whom Jada got to know much better while writing the article Discovering Dr. Wu for the Washington Post, where she is a reporter covering culture and politics.

Check out part one in which Emily talks to Short Wave's scientist-in-residence about how Chien-Shiung Wu altered physics. She made a landmark discovery in 1956 about how our universe operates at the tiniest levels.

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20 May 2022

The Queen of Nuclear Physics (Part One): Chien-Shiung Wu's Discovery

In the 1950's, a particle physicist made a landmark discovery that changed what was known about how the universe operates. Chien-Shiung Wu did it while raising a family and an ocean away from her relatives in China.

Short Wave's Scientist-In-Residence Regina Barber joins host Emily Kwong to talk about that landmark discovery—what it meant for the physics world, and what it means to Regina personally as a woman and a Chinese and Mexican American in physics.

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19 May 2022

TASTE BUDDIES: Why Bitter Tastes Better For Some

Love the bitter bite of dark chocolate, leafy greens or black licorice? Your genetics may be the reason why. Today on the show, host Aaron Scott talks to scientist Masha Niv about how our bitter taste buds work and how a simple taste test can predict your tolerance for some bitter things. Plus, what bitter receptors elsewhere in the body have to do with your health.

To listen to more episodes about how we taste, check out our TASTE BUDDIES series:
18 May 2022

Who Else Can See Your Period Tracker Data?

Apps can be a great way to stay on top of your health. They let users keep track of things like exercise, mental health, the quality of their skin, and even menstrual cycles.

But health researchers Giulia De Togni and Andrea Ford have found that many of these health apps also have a dark side — selling your most personal data to third parties like advertisers, insurers and tech companies. Emily talks to the researchers about the commodification of data, and their suggestions for increasing the security of your - the consumer's - information.

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