Joe's Big Idea
Feb 14, 2014 — NASA has reactivated a mothballed spacecraft to look for big objects that might strike Earth. It's part of an increased effort to find potential hazards — but some scientists sizing up the sky think we should try harder.
Jan 21, 2014 — Computer scientist Peter Stone has taken his passion for soccer into the lab. He's developing robots that can play soccer. The work requires expertise in computer vision, robotics and understanding about how autonomous agents work together.
Jan 3, 2014 — Students at Rice University in Houston are finding low-cost solutions to big global health problems. The women running the program are hoping to get these young engineers hooked on helping. One particularly successful device that helps infants breathe has already been tested in Malawi and will be distributed to hospitals around the country.
Nov 28, 2013 — For a class project, three engineering students at Rice University devised an inexpensive robotic arm to help a teenager with an uncommon bone disease. The work took two years to complete, far longer than the class that was its starting point.
Sep 13, 2013 — Lessons in optimism from very ill children inspire pediatric oncologist Jim Olson in his hunt for better treatments for brain tumors. If a boy too sick to get out of bed can still find a way to have a snowball fight with his older brother, then Olson figures he can find ways to improve brain surgery.
Sep 12, 2013 — Cut a tumor from a child's brain and you may save a life. But surgery can hurt the child if healthy brain cells are removed. A Seattle doctor is working on a substance that might help. It binds tightly to cancer cells and makes them glow, so they're easier to distinguish from healthy tissue.
Sep 5, 2013 — Scientists aren't sure exactly why holes form in the hot and glowing outermost layer of gas surrounding the sun. But one theory is that the dark blotches we see on images of the sun could be the remnants of the (relatively) cool splotches called sunspots.
Aug 21, 2013 — Late summer tends to be a slow month for news. But at All Things Considered, we put on a two hour program, no matter what. So — without a trace of irony — one of our science correspondents offered to help fill some holes in the show with a series of stories about holes. Today, he explores the complex philosophical question, what is a hole? And when is a hole not a hole?
Aug 15, 2013 — Smart windows change how much sunlight they let through on a hot day. Such windows could reduce the demand for energy by reducing the need for air conditioning. This quest has been going on for years but it's got years to go before the project becomes a reality.
Aug 12, 2013 — What happens when you drop a ball down a hole drilled through the center of the Earth? The answer might surprise you.