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.

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1:01pm

Wed March 25, 2015
The Two-Way

Scientists Discover A New Form Of Ice — It's Square

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 7:00 pm

Water molecules between two layers of graphene arranged themselves in a lattice of squares — unlike any other known form of ice.
NPG Press via YouTube

Scientists recently observed a form of ice that's never been seen before, after sandwiching water between two layers of an unusual two-dimensional material called graphene.

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6:11am

Sat March 21, 2015
Science

Why Some Mushrooms Glow In The Dark

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 9:56 am

N. gardneri mushrooms grow at the base of young babassu palms in Brazil. A bland tan by day, the fungi emit an eerie green light by night.
Michele P. Verderane/IP-USP

A team of scientists recently created some fake, glowing mushrooms and scattered them in a Brazilian forest in hopes of solving an ancient mystery: Why do some fungi emit light?

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2:17am

Tue March 17, 2015
Science

Are Humans Really Headed To Mars Anytime Soon?

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 8:15 am

Mars, anyone? Six researchers from the Mars Society sport their best space duds during this 2014 simulation of the conditions that explorers of the Red Planet might face. (From left) Ian Silversides, Anastasiya Stepanova, Alexandre Mangeot and Claude-Michel Laroche.
Micke Sebastien Paris Match via Getty Images

With recent news headlines proclaiming that dozens of people have been selected as finalists for a Martian astronaut corps, it might seem like a trip to this alien world might finally be close at hand.

But let's have a little reality check. What are the chances that we really will see people on the Red Planet in the next couple of decades?

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2:46pm

Thu March 12, 2015
The Two-Way

Moon River? No, It's An Ocean On One Of Jupiter's Moons!

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 3:41 pm

The moon Ganymede (right) orbits the giant planet Jupiter in this artist's rendering. Scientists say a saline ocean lurks under the moon's icy crust.
NASA/ESA

NASA says the biggest moon in our solar system has a salty ocean below its surface.

Researchers had suspected since the 1970s that a moon of Jupiter called Ganymede had an ocean. Now they've confirmed it, scientists announced in a teleconference held by the space agency.

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1:18pm

Thu February 19, 2015
Shots - Health News

Just A Bit Of DNA Helps Explain Humans' Big Brains

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 12:57 pm

The human version of a DNA sequence called HARE5 (inserted into this mouse embryo) turned on a gene that's important for brain development. (Gene activity is stained blue.) By the end of gestation, the embryo's brain was 12 percent larger than the brain of an embryo injected with the chimpanzee version of HARE5.
Silver Lab/Duke University

Scientists studying the difference between human and chimpanzee DNA have found one stretch of human DNA that can make the brains of mice grow significantly bigger.

"It's likely to be one of many DNA regions that's critical for controlling how the human brain develops," says Debra Silver, a neurobiologist at Duke University Medical School.

It could also help explain why human brains are so much bigger than chimp brains, says Silver, who notes that "there are estimates of anywhere from two to four times as big."

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