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Fifty Years Ago, A Bright Idea

In October 1962, Nick Holonyak and colleagues at General Electric built the first practical light-emitting diode, or LED, that could emit visible light. Semiconductor LEDs are now a part of uncountable electronic devices. Holonyak discusses the invention, and his work since then.
NPR

Enter an Optical Illusion

Artist Julian Hoeber's "Demon Hill," now on view at the Harris Lieberman Gallery in New York City, is modelled after a roadside attraction called a "gravitational mystery spot" — where water runs uphill and gravity doesn't behave as expected. Science Friday talked to cognitive scientist Michael Landy about what happens to our perceptual system inside the exhibition.
NPR

Curiosity Rover Gets the 'Scoop' on Mars

Curiosity scooped its first sample of Martian soil on Oct. 7, but activities were halted after a small, bright object — which NASA now says is likely a piece of plastic from the rover — was spotted on the ground. Mike Watkins, Curiosity's mission manager, provides an update.
NPR

The Secret To Making Ultrastrong 'Gorilla Glass'

Corning's Gorilla Glass isn't totally unbreakable, as anyone who's dropped a smartphone knows. But it's twice as durable as regular glass--at half the thickness. How do they do it? Dave Velasquez, director of marketing and commercial operations for Gorilla Glass, talks about the innovations that make this ultrastrong, ultralight glass possible.
NPR

Feds To Debate Marijuana As Medicine

The federal government lists marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance--meaning it has no medically accepted use. Next week, interest group Americans for Safe Access will present the scientific case for marijuana's therapeutic effects to a federal appeals court, in hopes of relaxing federal restrictions. Oncologist Donald Abrams reviews the evidence on cannabis.
NPR

Prehistoric 'Kennewick Man' Was All Beefcake

"K-Man," as he's known to locals, lived more than 9,500 years ago in what is now Washington state. Scientists studying his ancient bones say he was all athlete, with a soccer player's leg muscles and a killer arm that might fit right in among today's major league players.
NPR

Sun Goes Down. Up Comes A Mystery

A child's question and an old paradox: If the sky is filled with stars, why is it dark at night? Physicists say the answer lies in those deep dark spaces between stars — evidence of our expanding universe.

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