Geoff Brumfiel

Science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel's reports on physics, space, and all things nuclear can be heard across NPR News programs and on NPR.org.

Brumfiel has carried his microphone into ghost villages created by the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan. He's tracked the journey of highly enriched uranium as it was shipped out of Poland. For a story on how animals drink, he crouched for over an hour and tried to convince his neighbor's cat to lap a bowl of milk. He became a full-time correspondent in March of 2013.

Prior to NPR, Geoff was based in London as a senior reporter for Nature Magazine from 2007-2013. There he covered energy, space, climate, and the physical sciences. In addition to reporting, he was a member of the award-winning Nature podcast team. From 2002 – 2007, Brumfiel was Nature Magazine's Washington Correspondent, reporting on Congress, the Bush administration, NASA, and the National Science Foundation, as well as the Departments of Energy and Defense.

He began his journalism career working on the American Physical Society's "Focus" website, which is now part of Physics.

Brumfiel is the 2013 winner of the Association of British Science Writers award for news reporting on the Fukushima nuclear accident.

He graduated from Grinnell College with a BA double degree in physics and English, and earned his Masters in science writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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11:47am

Mon August 24, 2015
Science

Particles From The Edge Of Space Shine A Light On Fukushima

Originally published on Mon August 24, 2015 5:37 pm

An aerial view of Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, on March 11.
Kyodo Reuters/Landov

It's one of the greatest, and most disturbing, questions of the Fukushima disaster: What happened to the nuclear fuel inside the plant? Now physicists are trying to shed some light on the problem using particles from the edge of space.

The Fukushima accident was broadcast around the world. On March 11, 2011, an earthquake and tsunami struck the plant, knocking out cooling in three working reactors. The uranium fuel inside melted down.

But nobody's quite sure where it went.

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1:17pm

Thu August 13, 2015
Shots - Health News

Chatty Marmosets Have Something To Say About Vocal Learning

Originally published on Mon August 17, 2015 4:06 pm

Common marmosets can copy the sounds and intonations of their parents.
iStockphoto

Learning to make sounds by listening to others is a skill that helps make us human.

But research now suggests a species of monkey may have evolved similar abilities.

Marmosets have the capacity to learn calls from their parents, according to research published Thursday in the journal Science. The results mean that studying marmosets might provide insights into developmental disorders found in humans. It also suggests that vocal learning may be more widespread than many researchers thought.

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4:12pm

Mon August 10, 2015
The Salt

This Salad Is Outta This World: Astronauts Eat Greens Grown In Space

Originally published on Mon August 10, 2015 6:36 pm

It took astronauts 33 days to grow enough red romaine lettuce to make a small salad.
NASA

In space, food is freeze-dried, prepackaged, and frankly not always very tasty. But on Monday aboard the International Space Station, astronauts got a rare treat: fresh lettuce.

The red romaine lettuce was grown by NASA's Veggie project, which has one goal — to bring salad to space.

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3:22am

Thu August 6, 2015
Science

Why Did The U.S. Choose Hiroshima?

Originally published on Thu August 6, 2015 8:45 am

U.S. strategists wanted to flatten an entire city with a single atomic bomb: Hiroshima was the right size.
AP

The name Hiroshima is so tied to the atomic bomb that it's hard to imagine there were other possible targets.

But in early 1945, the U.S. was still months away from building its first bomb and certainly didn't know what to hit.

"Should it be a city? Should it be a military installation? Should you be just displaying the bomb, without killing anybody?" These are questions that were yet to be decided, says Alex Wellerstein, a historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

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4:05am

Wed July 29, 2015
All Tech Considered

Beam Me Up? Teleporting Is Real, Even If Trekkie Transport Isn't

Originally published on Wed July 29, 2015 6:00 pm

Star Trek's Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk never even lose pocket change when they use a transporter to get from TV's Starship Enterprise to distant worlds. What gives?
Paramount Television/The Kobal Collection

"I have a hard time saying this with a straight face, but I will: You can teleport a single atom from one place to another," says Chris Monroe, a biophysicist at the University of Maryland.

His lab's setup in a university basement looks nothing like the slick transporters that rearrange atoms and send them someplace else on Star Trek. Instead, a couple million dollars' worth of lasers, mirrors and lenses lay sprawled across a 20-foot table.

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