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.

If you could change the way a monkey or an ape's brain is wired, that animal would be capable of producing perfectly intelligible speech. That's the conclusion of a study that closely tracked the movements of a monkey's mouth and throat with X-rays, to understand the full potential of its vocal tract . Researchers then used that information to create a computer model of what it would sound like if the monkey were able to say phrases such as "happy holidays." The finding calls into question...

The surprise find of smallpox DNA in a child mummy from the 17th century could help scientists start to trace the mysterious history of this notorious virus. Smallpox currently only exists in secure freezers, after a global vaccination campaign eradicated the virus in the late 1970s. But much about this killer remains unknown, including its origins. Now scientists have the oldest complete set of smallpox genes, after they went hunting for viral DNA in a sample of skin from a mummified young...

President-elect Donald Trump intends to nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, announcing his decision in a statement Thursday. As attorney general, Pruitt has made no secret of his disdain for the EPA. His official biography calls him "a leading advocate against the EPA's activist agenda." He has repeatedly challenged the agency's rules in court, and he has even sued the EPA for an allegedly cozy "sue and settle" relationship with...

When a robotic probe finally lands on a watery world like Jupiter's moon Europa , what do scientists have to see to definitively say whether the place has any life? That's the question retired astronaut John Grunsfeld posed to some colleagues at NASA when he was in charge of the agency's science missions. "We looked at him with blank faces," recalls Jim Green , head of NASA's planetary sciences division. "What do we need to build to really find life? What are the instruments, what are the...

Around the corner from the famous Diamond District in New York City, David Weinstein sorts through some envelopes on his cluttered desk. All of them are full of diamonds. "I deal with diamonds all day long, for three decades," says Weinstein, executive director of the International Gemological Institute , a commercial testing laboratory. "To me, diamonds aren't anything spectacular. It's hard to get me to say, 'Wow!' " But lately he has been impressed by certain diamonds — those created in...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: If you're looking for a way to stay young, you might want to try living out the rest of your life in the dark, frigid waters of the Arctic. You will also need to become a Greenland shark. Scientists have discovered this species can live for about 400 years and maybe even longer, as we hear in this encore report from NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce. NELL GREENFIELDBOYCE, BYLINE: The first time Julius Nielsen ever saw...

The good news for those worried that the U.S. will lose its leadership role in confronting climate change: President-elect Donald Trump said Tuesday , "I have an open mind to it. ... I do have an open mind." At a meeting Tuesday with New York Times journalists and executives, Trump said he thinks "there is some connectivity" in terms of human activity causing climate change. However, he went on to say that "it depends on how much" connectivity. "It also depends on how much it's going to cost...

A rusty-brown rock found on a beach by a fossil hunter might contain a bit of preserved dinosaur brain. If so, it would be the first time scientists have ever found fossilized brain tissue from a dinosaur. The fossil comes from a species closely related to Iguanodon , a large herbivore that lived about 130 million years ago. A collector named Jamie Hiscocks found it in 2004, near Bexhill in the United Kingdom. "He picked it up and noticed that it was slightly unusual in its shape and its...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N0FY-fe_hA When scientists recently announced that they had discovered a new planet orbiting our closest stellar neighbor, Proxima Centuri, they also released an artist's conception of the planet. The picture of a craggy canyon, illuminated by a reddish-orange sunset, looked like an image that could have been taken on Mars by one of NASA's rovers. But the alien scene was actually completely made-up. It's part of an ever-increasing gallery of images depicting...

On Election Day this November, about 1 in 4 Americans will vote using a device that never lets the voter see a copy of his or her vote on paper. The idea of relying on such machines has troubled some security experts for years. And this year the stakes may be even higher, because one candidate is charging that the election is rigged , and government officials have warned that state election systems have been targeted by foreign hackers with ties to Russia. Five states exclusively use voting...

On Friday, the Rosetta spacecraft will smack into the icy surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and go silent. Scientists with the historic mission are wondering how they'll feel as the orbiter makes its death-dive toward the comet that has been its traveling companion for more than two years. "There's mixed emotions here," says Matt Taylor of the European Space Agency, who is the project scientist for Rosetta. "You know, people have invested their lives and their mentality, I think,...

Scientists have seen what might be plumes of water vapor erupting out of the icy surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, suggesting that its subsurface ocean could be probed without having to drill through miles of ice. That's according to new findings from images captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope that were released Monday and that will be published this week in The Astrophysical Journal . Europa is one of the most intriguing places in the solar system because it's thought to have a vast...

A mysterious glowing "blob" in outer space has puzzled astronomers for more than 15 years. Now, a team of researchers says it has uncovered the secret behind the blob's eerie light. The blob was first spotted back in the late 1990s by Chuck Steidel , an astronomer at Caltech, and some colleagues. They were observing a bunch of galaxies in the distant reaches of the universe, he recalls, "but we also saw these big blotchy things." At first, they thought they had somehow accidentally screwed up...

NASA sent a robotic spacecraft from Florida out to an asteroid Thursday, but that's not the only asteroid mission the space agency has in the works. Officials also want to study a different asteroid with the help of astronauts. And it looks like the next president, plus Congress, will have to decide whether this human mission to a flying rock should ever get off the ground. The idea of visiting an asteroid goes back to 2010, when President Obama went to Kennedy Space Center in Florida to lay...

Most populations of humpback whales no longer need endangered species protections, according to a decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The U.S. government listed all humpback whales as endangered back in 1970, after commercial whaling had drastically reduced their numbers. But now, officials say they have divided humpback whales into 14 distinct populations. And after a scientific review, they say that nine of those populations have recovered enough that they no longer need to...

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