The Leading Edge

  • September 28, 2016  

    Our love/hate relationship with lead is as old as history itself. The origin of “plumbing” comes from the Latin word for lead. But only in the 1970s did we realize the consequences of even low doses of the hazardous metal, and by then it was in our pipes, our paint and our fuel. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien examines the lasting health consequences. Continue reading

  • September 21, 2016  

    In light of the recent bombings in New York and New Jersey, science correspondent Miles O’Brien takes a look at a new technology that is increasingly being used by law enforcement: bomb-disarming robots. Operated from a safe distance, these robots can blast through car windows and even kill, raising ethical issues about how they should be used. Continue reading

  • August 31, 2016  

    It’s back-to-school season, but these students have taken their brainstorming outside the classroom to solve pressing, real-life problems. Visit a competition where teams of student inventors pitch their entrepreneurial ideas to guests posing as investors, who vote on the best startup ideas. Special correspondent Cat Wise reports from Portland, Oregon. Continue reading

  • August 24, 2016  

    Scientists have discovered a potentially habitable new world, a mere four light years away from Earth. They call the planet “Proxima B,” and it may feature characteristics that are just right for human life. Nonetheless, it has some major differences from Earth — a year on the planet lasts only 11 days. Hari Sreenivasan speaks with WGBH’s science correspondent Miles O’Brien for background. Continue reading

  • August 17, 2016  

    Hawaii’s Kilauea has been erupting for over 30 years, making it the longest-flowing volcano on earth. Because of this remarkable activity, it is also currently the most researched. Geologist Mike Garcia has studied Kilauea for decades and believes that analyzing the chemical composition of pieces of the volcano may yield clues to its future behavior. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports. Continue reading

  • August 10, 2016  

    Can artificial intelligence be emotionally intelligent? In Boston, researchers have programed BB-8, the little droid from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” to detect expressions and determine how people are feeling. And that technology is being adapted for marketing, video games, even therapy for children diagnosed with autism. The NewsHour’s April Brown reports. Continue reading

  • August 3, 2016  

    Climate change, overfishing and pollution would naturally seem harmful for marine life. But one group of animals appears to be thriving: jellyfish. The blob-like creatures reproduce rapidly in higher temperatures and can prosper in waters tainted by human activity, such as the Gulf of Mexico’s oxygen-depleted “dead-zone.” Plus, declining fish populations mean reduced competition for food. Continue reading

  • July 13, 2016  

    It was an unprecedented meeting of the minds and it happened at Harvard Medical School. The subject of April’s confab? Medical cannabis. Researchers suspect cannabis can do so many things, from fighting cancer to easing concussions and Crohn’s disease. There are still tight restrictions but weed is increasingly coming into the scientific mainstream. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports. Continue reading

  • Russo admits the scientific literature is lacking but he remains firm in his belief in the entourage effect. Photo by Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
    July 6, 2016  

    Lenny and Amy’s 5-year-old son has epilepsy. When conventional medications caused terrible side effects, they started giving him a daily drop of cannabis oil, with dramatic results. But it’s a calculated risk: While there is anecdotal evidence of cannabis’ effectiveness, scientists face research roadblocks because it’s a schedule 1 controlled substance. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports. Continue reading

  • June 29, 2016  

    On Independence Day NASA’s Juno spacecraft reaches the largest planet in our solar system and is expected to transmit pictures the 1.8 billion miles back to Earth. But even more interesting than pictures, scientists hope to collect tons of data to help them understand Jupiter’s formation — and our own. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien joins William Brangham.
    Continue reading

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