Nell Greenfieldboyce

Nell Greenfieldboyce joined NPR News in January 2005 to cover the media organization's newly created technology beat for NPR's science desk. The Johns Hopkins alumna has reported on topics such as pet cloning, gene therapy, ballistics, and federal laws surrounding new technology. Her primary interest is researching how applied science and technology connects with people and culture.

Greenfieldboyce's features can currently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, but before her life at NPR she worked for magazines including U.S. News & World Report and New Scientist. After working in print for ten years, Greenfieldboyce is excited to explore the field of radio and the added effects sound can bring to a piece.

In addition to receiving her B.A. in social sciences and a M.A. in science writing from Johns Hopkins, Greenfieldboyce also taught science writing for four years at the university. Greenfieldboyce was honored for her talents with the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for Young Science Journalists.

Greenfieldboyce lives with her husband in Washington, D.C., and does a bit of rug-hooking in her free time, creating complicated geometric patterns out of burlap and scraps of wool.

 

Pages

6:23am

Fri December 7, 2012
Space

Is Another Moon Mission Written In The Stars?

Apollo 17 was the sixth and final Apollo mission to the moon. Here, lunar module pilot Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, Cmdr. Eugene Cernan and command module pilot Ron Evans pose in the lunar vehicle.
NASA

On Dec. 7, 1972, NASA launched its final human mission to the moon. Forty years later, Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan says he'd love to give up his claim to fame as "the last man on the moon."

"I'd like to be able to shake the hand of that young man or young woman who replaces me in that category," Cernan told NPR. "But unfortunately, the way things have gone and the way things are looking for the future, at least the near-term future, that won't happen in my lifetime. And that truly is disappointing."

Read more
Tags: 

5:25pm

Fri November 23, 2012
Science

Experiments That Keep Going And Going And Going

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 8:00 pm

William Beal, standing at center, started a long-term study on seed germination in 1879. He buried 20 bottles with seeds in them for later researchers to unearth and plant.
Michigan State University

A biologist who has been watching a dozen bottles of bacteria evolve for nearly a quarter of a century is hoping he can find someone to keep his lab experiment going long after he dies.

Meanwhile, just by coincidence, a botanist who works across campus is carefully tending an experiment that started before he was born, all the way back in 1879.

These two researchers, both at Michigan State University in East Lansing, represent different sides of an unusual phenomenon in science: experiments that outlive the people who started them.

Read more

3:58am

Thu November 22, 2012
The Salt

Ingredients For A Homestyle Thanksgiving, 200 Miles Above The Earth

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 4:20 pm

Space food.
courtesy NASA

For Thanksgiving, NASA's space food experts always try to make sure astronauts get to enjoy traditional holiday fare, even if its not exactly home cooking. And being so far from home, astronauts can get pretty attached to their comfort foods.

This year, Kevin Ford, the commander of Expedition 34 and currently working at the International Space Station, says he has the ingredients to make one favorite Thanksgiving dish the NASA nutritionists may not have anticipated: Candied yams with marshmallows.

The yams are thermostablized and come in a plastic pouch.

Read more

3:03pm

Wed November 21, 2012
Shots - Health News

When Fetuses Yawn In The Womb

Could that be a yawn? An ultrasound scan catches an opened-mouth fetus.
Courtesy of A Little Insight 3D 4D Ultrasound.

Why people yawn is a mystery. But yawning starts in the womb.

Past studies have used ultrasound images to show fetuses yawning, but some scientists have argued that real yawns were getting confused with fetuses simply opening their mouths.

So Nadja Reissland, a researcher at the University of Durham in the United Kingdom, used a more detailed ultrasound technique to get images of fetal faces that could distinguish a true yawn from just an open mouth.

Read more
Tags: 

6:00pm

Thu November 1, 2012
Animals

Move Over, Parrot: Elephant Mimics Trainer At Zoo

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 9:43 am

Koshi, an elephant, makes sounds that imitate Korean words.
Stoeger, et. al. Current Biology

Scientists say an Asian elephant at a South Korean zoo can imitate human speech, saying five Korean words that are readily understood by people who speak the language.

The male elephant, named Koshik, invented an unusual method of sound production that involves putting his trunk in his mouth and manipulating his vocal tract.

"This is not the kind of sound that Asian elephants normally make, and it's a dead-on match of the speech of his trainers," says Tecumseh Fitch of the University of Vienna in Austria.

Read more

Pages