Craik Sustainable Living Project via Flickr/CC -

This is a time of year when heating bills usually go up, and some residents consider alternative energy sources for their heating.

Proponents of geothermal heat say their systems ought to be a bigger part of New Hampshire's energy landscape.

The prospects for geothermal - that's the topic of this month's Science Café discussion, which takes place Wednesday, January 21st, at Killarney's Pub in Nashua.

While production of certain types of produce is seasonal, demand doesn’t stop when the growing season ends.

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire may have taken a step toward a solution to that dilemma.

In a study, they successfully grew bulbing onions planted in fall for a spring harvest with the aid of low tunnels.

Becky Sideman is a researcher with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station.

She joins Morning Edition to talk about her findings.

Momotarou2012 via WikiCommons/CC -

New Hampshire has plenty of state symbols. The state rock is – no surprise - granite; the state fish is the brook trout. Our state tree is the white birch; our state insect, the ladybug; our state gem, smoky quartz, and so on.

Unlike many other states, New Hampshire does not have a state fossil – at least not yet.

Vaporizers_ / Flickr/CC

This week, The Exchange will play the five best shows of 2014, as voted by you. Here's a November program on the science of marijuana. With legalization in two states now, and a growing number of others allowing medical use of marijuana, advocates and opponents alike are looking for answers to back up their positions.

Katie McColgan via Flickr/CC -

These days many stoplights will start changing to green when the intersection detects a car or truck. But some of these intersections don't detect motorcycles, at least not regularly. And a bill before New Hampshire's legislature would let those otherwise stuck bikers ride on through red lights.

The Sky Guys' Top Space Stories Of 2014

Dec 22, 2014
Dan Beaumont Space Museum / Flickr/CC

It was a big year for Mars, with India getting into the game and launching its first spacecraft. Meanwhile, the European Space Agency celebrated the successful landing of its probe on a comet. And the private space travel industry lamented the crash of Virgin Galactic’s test craft.


Good Gig: Professional Science Geek Howard Eglowstein

Dec 17, 2014

Good Gig is a series of conversations with individuals who have landed their dream job.

Howard Eglowstein’s Good Gig involves working to encourage girls in the computer science and math areas for a company called Science Buddies.  They give kids ideas and guidance for science fair projects that deviate from the well-trod robotics and erupting volcano paths. Howard’s background in tinkering started with toy making, but he's always been a creator.

Via Popular Science /

For the past 27 years the editors of Popular Science have identified products and technologies designed to change our world. On today’s show we’ll review some of 2014’s groundbreaking technology.

Then, we’ve come to accept retouched images on magazine covers and billboard ads, but now the practice has moved to movies and television. We’ll take a look at the latest advancement in digital-alteration: frame-by-frame beauty work.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

Last week, a GOP staffer resigned after political Facebook faux-pas - criticizing President Obama’s daughters for dressing like teenagers. On today’s show, we’ll take a look back at the long and fraught history of judging the President’s kids.

Then, these days just about every coffee shop, bookstore, and restaurant touts a free Wi-Fi hotspot – but at what cost? We’ll find out the hidden dangers of public Wi-Fi.

Plus, the industry secret behind the robust flavor of orange juice.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Kelsey Ohman via flickr Creative Commons

In New Hampshire, skiing is one of winter’s biggest perks and the best cure for cabin fever. The first skiers put two planks on their feet and slid down a mountain, not as a past time but as a way to hunt. On today’s show, a National Geographic reporter sets out on the trail of the earliest skiers in human history and finds himself elk hunting in the far reaches of western China where he witnesses a skiing tradition thousands of years old.

Also, a couple embarks on a medical odyssey to find relief from a devastating illness. And talking to strangers may be good for your health. The psychology behind interacting with people you don't know.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

James Mutter via flickr Creative Commons

In the last decade, cosmetic procedures performed on Asian-Americans, Hispanics and African-Americans have far outpaced those among the white population. The goal? Westernizing ethnic features.  Today we put ethnic plastic surgery on the examination table. Then, NHPR's Sean Hurley brings us the story of a secret Santa with a secret identity.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Emre Ayaroglu via flickr Creative Commons

While the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs may be most familiar, the earth has experienced five great extinctions, and we may be in the midst of the sixth…right here, right now. On today’s show: a startling account of the planet's biodiversity crisis, and the role humans have played in creating it.

Plus it’s easy to condemn the office gossip – but getting the inside scoop at work might just save your career. We’ll discuss why gossip can be good for you. And, America’s only water sommelier explains why his restaurant features a 44-page water menu.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Driek via flickr Creative Commons

A postdoctoral appointment, commonly known as a “postdoc”, was once considered an apprenticeship position to help scientists hone their skills before one day running labs of their own. On today’s show, has the postdoc appointment become a temporary purgatory? And colonial history, one panel at a time.  As kids we’re taught the basics about the Mayflower, the Salem witch trials, and the first Thanksgiving. A new collection aims to broaden our perspective on the period, through an unusual medium.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Illustration by Renee Carlson/Argonne National Laboratory / via flickr Creative Commons

The fingerprint was once law enforcement’s “smoking gun”, next came DNA evidence. Now, scientists are researching another bio-marker that may be able to tell us even more about a crime scene. On today’s show, we’ll find out what a perp’s microbiome reveals after they leave the room.

Plus, after Ferguson, President Obama said that the nation seriously needs a conversation about race. A filmmaker asks: is dialogue possible if America’s most privileged race can’t clearly see itself? What does it mean to be white?

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

11.4.14: Winners & Losers

Nov 4, 2014
Garry Night via flickr Creative Commons

While we can’t predict the outcome of the midterm elections, two things are certain: there will be winners and there will be losers.  Today’s show is all about winning and losing, starting with the brain chemistry of champions. And we’ll examine the victors and the vanquished in the natural world through the parasite-host relationship.

Plus, we’ll take a look back at political losers throughout history, including Samuel Tilden, who never got over his loss to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Michelle Souliere via Flickr/CC -

Ancient archaeology is the kind of thing that, with the right find, can quickly capture the public’s attention and fascination.

And yet a New Hampshire group that studies ancient stone structures is turning 50 this week – and few Granite Staters have heard of it.

What's Next For The Electric Car?

Oct 20, 2014
James Pouliot / NHPR

With charging stations expanding across New England, including a new super-charger coming to Portsmouth, this niche automobile market is growing.  We’ll dig into the science of electric cars: how they work, new technology to expand their range, and why – depending on where you live – they may not be as green as you might think.

(originally broadcast August 4, 2014)


Faith Meixell / NHPR

In recent years, the Red Planet has been bombarded with space craft, rovers, observers, orbiters and studied intently from here on Earth.  But the idea of human boots on Mars has remained in the realm of science fiction. Now though, serious planning is underway, for missions and even colonies there, and possibly much sooner than you might think. (digital post by Faith Meixell)


Isabelle via flickr Creative Commons

In the early sixties, social psychologist Stanley Milgram tested the limits of humans’ obedience to authority with an actor, an unsuspecting volunteer and a fake electroshock machine. On today’s show: the experiment that stunned the world and the repercussions Dr. Milgram faced as a result. 

Then, we’ve all heard the self-help mantra: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Turns out, there may be some truth behind it. A psychiatrist explores the benefits of adversity.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Sara Robertson via flickr Creative Commons

As the air grows colder, we leave behind the hot summer blockbusters, and move to more serious films, many of which will be vying heavily for award show attention. On today’s show we go behind the spotlight to examine the art of how actors create characters. Then, we’ll explore the next frontier: exo-solar planets.  The search for planets outside our solar system – with the idea that discovering one just like ours – is a real possibility.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

hillary h via flickr Creative Commons

USA Today recently published the U.S. Senate handbook, a 380 page document of rules intended to keep Senate offices running smoothly. On today’s show, from carpet color to telephone hold music, we reveal the handbook’s most confounding regulations.

Plus, ‘tis the season of ghosts, witches, and vampires. We’ll explore how cultures around the world interpret the supernatural.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Davide De Col via flickr Creative Commons

As more and more countries plan their future lunar missions, the question becomes, who gets to decide what happens to the evidence of past missions that has remained perfectly preserved on the surface of the moon? We'll hear from a space law expert and an anthropologist about plans to preserve America's lunar legacy. Plus, a sociology professor thinks that men need to make more friends. A study published by the American Sociological Review found that white, heterosexual men have the fewest friends of any American demographic – which may be why the 'bro-mance' movies like I Love You, Man hit so close to home.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Hadley Paul Garland via Flickr/CC

Humans can't see ultraviolet light - but many types of wildlife can. And a man in Nashua is researching whether that difference may help humans and wildlife better co-exist in the future.

David Brooks writes the weekly GraniteGeek science column for the Nashua Telegraph and Granite

Matt Novak via flickr Creative Commons

In Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001 A Space Odyssey, future technologies take center stage in the form of Hal 9000, a sentient, yet sinister, computer aboard the spacecraft Discovery One. On today’s show, an instructor at the MIT Media Lab envisions a brighter future, in which the interaction between humans and technology will be useful, and even playful. 

Plus, a science writer plays nuclear tourist and visits the site of the Chernobyl disaster, where he finds some surprising imagery.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Brady Carlson, NHPR

A 16 year old inventor from New Hampshire has caught the attention of federal environmental officials.

Deepika Kurup of Nashua has won a President’s Environmental Youth Award from the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency for her work in finding sustainable ways to purify water.

She joined us to talk about her invention.

How does this method that you’ve developed work?

Jonathan Haeber via Flickr/CC

There are lots of ways to make and transmit electricity – solar energy hitting photovoltaic panels. Or causing turbines to spin with wind, or fossil fuels.

W10002 via Flickr CC

 Anyone who has taken a personality test knows that they tend to be long, indepth, and even invasive. But today we discover how a group of researchers is testing levels of narcissism with one simple question. And, we’ll look into what an inflated sense of self means for society at large. Then, a philosopher and ethicist joins us to discuss the delicate balance between confidence and vanity in the age of the selfie. Plus, New Hampshire has a bigger role in cinema than you may have realized. We look at what roles put our state on the map.

istolethetv via Flickr CC

As long as transplants have been medically possible, there have been horror stories about the black market organ trade.  Today, an anthropologist sheds the trappings of academia to take on, and even indict, illegal organ brokers.  Plus, a less frightening example removing body parts – we’ll investigate the growing controversy behind men who shave, wax, or Nair their backs. And now, some hairy men are fighting back against a standard of beauty few of us even knew existed. Plus, the future is now – we investigate an algae powered building that actually works.

8.14.14: All About Language

Aug 14, 2014
Taylor Quimby

Prove it, learned behavior, survival of the fittest, organic produce… scientific terminology is part of our common language, but are we using the terms correctly? Today is all about language: starting with our frequent misuse of scientific terms. Plus, France’s government is banning English words like ‘fast-food’ and ‘hashtag’ in the name of cultural preservation…we find out why the words are unlikely to disappear from the vernacular anytime soon. And, deaf Americans who work in science have a unique challenge – helping to develop a scientific vocabulary for sign language.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

CybherHades via Flickr CC

Some of the biggest technology companies in the world are on a chase for what some consider the holy grail of the information age: Quantum computing. And some of that research is going on right there in New Hampshire. But one big challenge is to get the quantum bits to dance how we want them to. 

Before getting too high-tech, let's go back to 1938. A brilliant physicist, an Italian named Ettore Majorana, withdraws all his money from a bank and boards a boat. Then, somewhere between Palermo and Naples, he vanishes without a trace.