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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 hosts Emily Kwong and Aaron Scott for science on a different wavelength.

If you're hooked, try Short Wave Plus. Your subscription supports the show and unlocks a sponsor-free feed. Learn more at plus.npr.org/shortwave

Most Recent Episodes

A general View of Bellevue Hospital in October, 2014. Kena Betancur / Getty Images hide caption

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Kena Betancur / Getty Images

Arts Week: The Literary Magazine Dissecting Health And Healing

New York's Bellevue Hospital is the oldest public hospital in the country, serving patients from all walks of life. It's also the home of a literary magazine, the Bellevue Literary Review, which is now more than 20 years old. In today's encore episode, NPR arts correspondent Neda Ulaby tells Emily how one doctor at Bellevue Hospital decided a literary magazine is essential to both science and healing.

Arts Week: The Literary Magazine Dissecting Health And Healing

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NIH Director Francis Collins and Renée Fleming, who is Artistic Advisor at Large for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., sing a duet. Shelby Knowles/NPR hide caption

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Shelby Knowles/NPR

Arts Week: How Art Can Heal The Brain

Arts therapies appear to ease a host of brain disorders from Parkinson's to PTSD. But these treatments that rely on music, poetry or visual arts haven't been backed by rigorous scientific testing. Now, artists and brain scientists have launched a program to change that. NPR's brain correspondent Jon Hamilton tells us about an initiative called the NeuroArts Blueprint in this encore episode.

Arts Week: How Art Can Heal The Brain

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A flower crafted by Nell Greenfieldboyce, at an American Society for Microbiology event highlighting agar art. Aidan Rogers/Edvotek hide caption

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Aidan Rogers/Edvotek

Arts Week: Harnessing Bacteria For Art

Pull out your art supplies because it's time to get crafty—with agar! We're beginning Arts Week at the intersection of biology and art. Therein lies a creative medium that's actually alive. Scientists and artists practice etching designs on petri dishes with bacterial paint that can grow and multiply. This encore episode, Aaron talks with science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce about her foray into the agar art world.

Arts Week: Harnessing Bacteria For Art

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Happy Thanksgiving, All!

Emily and Aaron wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and explain how you can help the show. Hint: It's giving us feedback about what you love and think we could do better on the show. You can take our survey at npr.org/shortwavesurvey.

Happy Thanksgiving, All!

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Workers wait to get off an elevator at a coal mine in eastern Ukraine. Russia's invasion of Ukraine disrupted global supplies of fossil fuels and led to more reliance on coal for electricity in some countries. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

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Claire Harbage/NPR

Three Takeaways From The COP27 Climate Conference

The climate meeting known as COP27 has wrapped. Representatives from almost 200 countries attended to talk about how to tackle climate change and how to pay for the costs of its effects that the world is already seeing. Rebecca Hersher and Michael Copley from NPR's Climate Desk talk with Emily about why the meeting went into overtime, three big things that came out of it, and the long and bumpy road still ahead to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Three Takeaways From The COP27 Climate Conference

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Cultivated Meat is an alternative to traditional meat derived from cells in a lab. In this photo, a chicken breast is prepared at Upside Foods. Brian L. Frank for NPR/Brian L. Frank for NPR hide caption

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Brian L. Frank for NPR/Brian L. Frank for NPR

A Taste Of Lab-Grown Meat

The idea came to Uma Valeti while he was working on regrowing human tissue to help heart attack patients: If we can grow tissue from cells in a lab, why not use animal cells to grow meat?

A Taste Of Lab-Grown Meat

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Eric Minikel and Sonia Vallabh pivoted from careers in law and urban planning to lead a prion research lab at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Maria Nemchuk/Broad Institute hide caption

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Maria Nemchuk/Broad Institute

A Deeply Personal Race Against A Fatal Brain Disease

In the mornings, Sonia Vallabh and Eric Minikel's first job is to get their two garrulous kids awake, fed and out the door to daycare and kindergarten. They then reconvene at the office and turn their focus to their all-consuming mission: to cure, treat, or prevent genetic prion disease.

A Deeply Personal Race Against A Fatal Brain Disease

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Sonia Vallabh and Eric Minikel at their wedding in 2009. Zamana Photography/Courtesy of Eric Minikel hide caption

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Zamana Photography/Courtesy of Eric Minikel

Science Couldn't Save Her, So She Became A Scientist

The first time Sonia Vallabh understood something was very wrong with her mother Kamni was on the phone on her mom's 52nd birthday. She wasn't herself. By the end of that year, after about six months on life support, Kamni had died.

Science Couldn't Save Her, So She Became A Scientist

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Human prion protein, molecular model. Laguna Design/Getty Images/Science Photo Libra hide caption

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Laguna Design/Getty Images/Science Photo Libra

Killer Proteins: The Science Of Prions

Prions are biological anomalies – self-replicating, not-alive little particles that can misfold into an unstoppable juggernaut of fatal disease. Prions don't contain genes, and yet they make more of themselves. That has forced scientists to rethink the "central dogma" of molecular biology: that biological information is always passed on through genes. The journey to discovering, describing, and ultimately understanding how prions work began with a medical mystery in a remote part of New Guinea in the 1950s. The indigenous Fore people were experiencing a horrific epidemic of rapid brain-wasting disease. The illness was claiming otherwise healthy people, often taking their lives within months of diagnosis. Solving the puzzle would help unlock one of the more remarkable discoveries in late-20th-century medicine, and introduce the world to a rare but potent new kind of pathogen. For the first episode in a series of three about prion disease, Short Wave's Gabriel Spitzer shares the science behind these proteins with Emily Kwong, and explains why prions keep him awake at night.

Killer Proteins: The Science Of Prions

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Visitors walk in the Green Zone of the UNFCCC COP27 climate conference on Nov. 10 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The conference is bringing together political leaders and representatives from 190 countries to discuss climate-related topics including climate change adaptation, climate finance, decarbonisation, agriculture and biodiversity. The conference is running from November 6-18. Sean Gallup/Getty Images hide caption

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Where Do Climate Negotiations Stand At COP27?

Climate negotiations continue at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Tens of thousands of attendees from around the world have gathered in the seaside resort town. They've come to discuss some of the key issues to figure out how to combat climate change, remedy its effects, and to focus on implementing the big changes discussed last year in Glasgow.

Where Do Climate Negotiations Stand At COP27?

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