Short Wave 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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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.

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

This photo provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick, a carrier of Lyme disease. James Gathany/AP hide caption

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James Gathany/AP

Tick Check! The Tiny Bloodsuckers In Our Backyards

Short Wave is going outside every Friday this summer! In this second episode of our series on the National Parks System, we head to Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas. Among the trees and trails, researchers like Adela Oliva Chavez search for blacklegged ticks that could carry Lyme disease. She's looking for answers as to why tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease are spreading in some parts of the country and not others. Today: What Adela's research tells us about ticks and the diseases they carry, and why she's dedicated her career to understanding what makes these little critters... tick.

Tick Check! The Tiny Bloodsuckers In Our Backyards

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Patricia Neves (left) and Ana Paula Ano Bom helped launch a global project to revolutionize access to mRNA technology. Ian Cheibub for NPR hide caption

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Ian Cheibub for NPR

The Brazilian Scientists Inventing An mRNA Vaccine — And Sharing The Recipe

When Moderna and Pfizer first came out with their mRNA vaccines for COVID-19, supply was limited to rich countries and they did not share the details of how to create it. That left middle income countries like Brazil in the lurch. But for Brazilian scientists Patricia Neves and Ana Paula Ano Bom, that wasn't the end. They decided to invent their own mRNA vaccine. Their story, today: Aaron talks to global health correspondent Nurith Aizenman about the effort and how it has helped launch a wider global project to revolutionize access to mRNA vaccine technology.

The Brazilian Scientists Inventing An mRNA Vaccine — And Sharing The Recipe

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In this 30 second exposure, a meteor streaks across the sky during the annual Perseid meteor shower, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, in Spruce Knob, West Virginia. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls) NASA/Bill Ingalls/(NASA/Bill Ingalls) hide caption

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NASA/Bill Ingalls/(NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Twinkle, Twinkle, Shooting Star

Ahead of the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, we're re-airing our first episode with Scientist in Residence Regina G. Barber. In it, Regina and planetary scientist Melissa Rice explore all things shooting star. They talk about the different types, where they come from and what they actually are (hint: not stars).

Twinkle, Twinkle, Shooting Star

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This iamge provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) shows a colorized transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox particles (orange) found within an infected cell (brown), cultured in the laboratory. NIAID via AP hide caption

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NIAID via AP

How Monkeypox Became A Public Health Emergency

The White House officially declared monkeypox a public health emergency in the United States last week. More than 7,500 cases of the virus have been confirmed since it began spreading across the country in May.

How Monkeypox Became A Public Health Emergency

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Photo illustration: Getty Images/Vanessa Leroy/NPR

Carry The Two: Making Audio Magic With Math

Math is a complex, beautiful language that can help us understand the world. And sometimes ... math is also hard! Science communicator Sadie Witkowski says the key to making math your friend is to foster your own curiosity. That's the guiding principle behind her new podcast, Carry the Two. It's also today's show: Embracing all math has to offer without the fear of failure.

Carry The Two: Making Audio Magic With Math

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A researcher holds a Northern long eared bat in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Nick Kalen / Virginia Tech hide caption

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Nick Kalen / Virginia Tech

A Tale Of Two Parks And The Bats Within Them

Buckle up! Short Wave is going on a road trip every Friday this summer. In this first episode of our series on the research happening in the National Parks System, we head to Shenandoah National Park and the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Some bats there are faring better than others against white-nose syndrome, a fungus that has killed more than 7 million bats in the last decade. Today — what researchers like Jesse De La Cruz think is enabling some bat species to survive.

A Tale Of Two Parks And The Bats Within Them

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Elizabeth and James Weller at their home in Houston two months after losing their baby due to a premature rupture of membranes. Elizabeth could not receive the medical care she needed until several days later because of a Texas law that banned abortion after six weeks. Julia Robinson/NPR hide caption

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Julia Robinson/NPR

Abortion Laws in Texas are Disrupting Maternal Care

New abortion bans have made some doctors hesitant to provide care for pregnancy complications. That's led to life-threatening delays, and trapped families in a limbo of grief and helplessness.

Abortion Laws in Texas are Disrupting Maternal Care

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A conceptual illustration of a double stranded deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule with mutation in a gene. Kateryna Kon/Getty Images/Science Photo Library hide caption

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Kateryna Kon/Getty Images/Science Photo Library

The Secret History of DNA

It's been over 150 years since the first article was published about the molecular key to life as we know it — DNA. With help from researcher Pravrutha Raman, Short Wave producer Berly McCoy explains how DNA is stored in our cells and why the iconic double helix shape isn't what you'd see if you peeked inside your cells right now. (encore)

The Secret History of DNA

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A band of wild horses on a mountainside near the Soda Mountain Wilderness area. Photo Courtesy of: Wild Horse Fire Brigade - a non-profit organization hide caption

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Photo Courtesy of: Wild Horse Fire Brigade - a non-profit organization

Wild Horses Could Keep Wildfire At Bay

Stephanie O'Neill reports that's the hope behind the Wild Horse Fire Brigade, a non-profit program piloted by William Simpson.

Wild Horses Could Keep Wildfire At Bay

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twomeows/Getty Images

TASTE BUDDIES: The Controversial World Of Taste Science

Not much is known about why people experience tastes differently and why some people can detect certain tastes and not others. There also might be other tastes out there to add to the list beyond the five known ones now. In this finale to Short Wave's Taste Buddies series, we're tackling the science of the five tastes, and in this episode, we look at why there is so much more research to be done.

TASTE BUDDIES: The Controversial World Of Taste Science

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