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.

 

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4:37am

Mon February 24, 2014
Science

At 4.4 Billion Years Old, Oz Crystals Confirmed As World's Oldest

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 12:06 pm

The colors of the zircon crystals range from transparent to deep red.
Courtesy of University of Wisconsin

Scientists have used a powerful new technique to prove that some tiny crystals found in Western Australia are indeed the oldest known materials formed on Earth.

Back in 2001, scientists reported that one of the zircon crystals was about 4.4 billion years old — so old that not everyone believed it.

"There have been challenges, because nothing in science goes without being questioned. It always has to be proven," says John Valley, a geochemist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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1:30pm

Tue February 4, 2014
Shots - Health News

Drugmakers And NIH Band Together To Speed Up Research

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
NIH

The National Institutes of Health is teaming up with major drug companies in a new effort to identify disease-related molecules and biological processes that could lead to future medicines.

The public-private partnership is called AMP, for the "Accelerating Medicines Partnership," and it will focus first on Alzheimer's disease, Type 2 diabetes, and two autoimmune disorders: rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

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12:59am

Wed January 29, 2014
Shots - Health News

Ancient Plague's DNA Revived From A 1,500-Year-Old Tooth

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 9:11 am

Graduate student Jennifer Klunk of McMaster University examines a tooth used to decode the genome of the ancient plague.
Courtesy of McMaster University

Scientists have reconstructed the genetic code of a strain of bacteria that caused one of the most deadly pandemics in history nearly 1,500 years ago.

They did it by finding the skeletons of people killed by the plague and extracting DNA from traces of blood inside their teeth.

This plague struck in the year 541, under the reign of the Roman emperor Justinian, so it's usually called the Justinian plague. The emperor actually got sick himself but recovered. He was one of the lucky ones.

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5:25am

Mon January 27, 2014
Science

Grand Canyon May Be Older (And Younger) Than You Think

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 9:31 am

The eastern Grand Canyon was about half-carved (to the level of the red cliffs above the hiker) from 15 million to 25 million years ago, an analysis published Sunday suggests. But the inner gorge was likely scooped out by the Colorado River in just the past 6 million years.
Laura Crossey University of New Mexico

In recent years geologists have hotly debated the age of the Grand Canyon. Some think it's young (just 6 million years old), while others argue that it dates back 70 million years — to the days of dinosaurs.

Now one group says the Grand Canyon is neither young nor old. Instead, these geologists say, it's both.

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3:22pm

Fri January 24, 2014
Science

Tickety-Tock! An Even More Accurate Atomic Clock

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 8:24 pm

Computer networks and GPS systems are only possible because of the precision timekeeping of atomic clocks like the one above, says clockmaker and physicist Jun Ye.
Ye Group and Baxley/JILA

Scientists announced this week that they have created the most advanced clock in the world.

The clock, described this week in the journal Nature, is so precise that it would neither lose nor gain one second in about 5 billion years of continuous operation. That's pretty good, considering that the Earth itself is only around 4.5 billion years old.

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