Nell Greenfieldboyce

Nell Greenfieldboyce is a NPR science correspondent.

With reporting focused on general science, NASA, and the intersection between technology and society, Greenfieldboyce has been on the science desk's technology beat since she joined NPR in 2005.

In that time Greenfieldboyce has reported on topics including the narwhals in Greenland, the ending of the space shuttle program, and the reasons why independent truckers don't want electronic tracking in their cabs.

Much of Greenfieldboyce's reporting reflects an interest in discovering how applied science and technology connects with people and culture. She has worked on stories spanning issues such as pet cloning, gene therapy, ballistics, and federal regulation of new technology.

Prior to NPR, Greenfieldboyce spent a decade working in print, mostly magazines including U.S. News & World Report and New Scientist.

A graduate of Johns Hopkins, earning her Bachelor's of Arts degree in social sciences and a Master's of Arts degree in science writing, Greenfieldboyce taught science writing for four years at the university. She was honored for her talents with the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for Young Science Journalists.

Tiny bits of blue pigment found in the teeth of a medieval skeleton reveal that more than 850 years ago, this seemingly ordinary woman was very likely involved in the production of lavishly illustrated sacred texts.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

New images of a mysterious world at the far reaches of our solar system show that it's shaped much like a snowman, with one large icy sphere attached to a smaller one.

The shape indicates that a rotating cloud of innumerable tiny objects must have coalesced into two balls that slowly spiraled closer and closer together until they gently touched, forming the object out beyond Pluto that scientists have nicknamed "Ultima Thule," which means "beyond the known world."

About a billion miles beyond Pluto, a spacecraft is closing in on an icy minor planet — a mysterious little place that's only about 20 miles across.

If all goes well, NASA will start the new year with the most far-off exploration of a world ever, flying past it about 2,200 miles from the surface while taking images with an onboard telescope and camera. The closest approach will be at 12:33 a.m. ET on Jan 1.

The next time you swat a fruit fly in your kitchen, take heart from the fact that people have apparently been struggling with these fly infestations for around 10,000 years.

A study published Thursday suggests Drosophila melanogaster first shacked up with humans when the insects flew into the elaborately painted caves of ancient people living in southern Africa.

That's according to a report published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has responded to recent allegations of sexual misconduct by posting a lengthy statement online, in which he denies wrongdoing and says he welcomes an impartial investigation by the producers of his show Cosmos.

Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET, Friday

The vote to redefine the kilogram was, as expected, unanimous, with representatives from more than 50 countries saying "yes" or "oui" at the historic meeting in Versailles, France.

Bill Phillips, a Nobel laureate from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland, told the assembled delegates that basing the kilogram's official definition on a hunk of metal held in a vault was "a situation that is clearly intolerable."

The oldest evidence of life on Earth probably isn't found in some 3.7 billion-year-old rocks found in Greenland, despite what a group of scientists claimed a couple of years ago.

That's according to a new analysis, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by a different team of experts.

Scientists may have detected the first moon orbiting a planet in a far-off solar system, though they caution that they still want to confirm the finding with another round of telescope observations.

"The fact is, it's so strange and it's the first of its kind," says David Kipping, an astronomer at Columbia University. "That demands a higher level of rigor and skepticism than you would normally apply to a run-of-the-mill detection."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It is Nobel Prize week. So far, Nobels have been handed out for physics and medicine, and today is chemistry. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the winners in Stockholm.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Speaking in Swedish)

The psychoactive drug known as ecstasy can make people feel extra loving toward others, and a study published Thursday suggests it has the same effect on octopuses.

Hurricane Florence has captured people's attention this week, and it's a sure bet that this unusual weather is also being closely monitored by hundreds of millions of migrating birds.

This is the peak of the fall migration season, after all, and birds avoid bad weather — which is helping scientists predict migration patterns.

An intriguing study published this week suggests that bonobos, among the closest relatives to humans, are surprisingly willing to hand over food to a pal. But they didn't share tools.

The discovery adds a new wrinkle to scientists' efforts to understand the evolutionary origins of people's unusual propensity to help others.

Insects and birds might have an innate drive to migrate at certain times and in certain directions, but a new study suggests that large mammals such as moose and bighorn sheep have to learn to do it.

In fact, it takes decades for cultural knowledge about migration to build up before populations can effectively move across the land to find the best food, according to a report in the journal Science.

Sarah Anne, a 59-year-old chimpanzee, is famous enough to have her own Wikipedia page. That's because she was captured from the wild as an infant and raised in the home of a language researcher who taught her to use symbols for words. These days, she lives at Chimp Haven, a wooded sanctuary for former research chimps in Louisiana, along with a new pal named Marie.

Pages