Geoff Brumfiel

Science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel's reports on physics, space, and all things nuclear can be heard across NPR News programs and on NPR.org.

Brumfiel has carried his microphone into ghost villages created by the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan. He's tracked the journey of highly enriched uranium as it was shipped out of Poland. For a story on how animals drink, he crouched for over an hour and tried to convince his neighbor's cat to lap a bowl of milk. He became a full-time correspondent in March of 2013.

Prior to NPR, Geoff was based in London as a senior reporter for Nature Magazine from 2007-2013. There he covered energy, space, climate, and the physical sciences. In addition to reporting, he was a member of the award-winning Nature podcast team. From 2002 – 2007, Brumfiel was Nature Magazine's Washington Correspondent, reporting on Congress, the Bush administration, NASA, and the National Science Foundation, as well as the Departments of Energy and Defense.

He began his journalism career working on the American Physical Society's "Focus" website, which is now part of Physics.

Brumfiel is the 2013 winner of the Association of British Science Writers award for news reporting on the Fukushima nuclear accident.

He graduated from Grinnell College with a BA double degree in physics and English, and earned his Masters in science writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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3:38am

Thu January 22, 2015
The Two-Way

X-Rays Open Secrets Of Ancient Scrolls

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 12:06 pm

The ancient scrolls look and feel more like blocks of charcoal. A new technique gives a peek inside.
Salvatore Laporta AP

Researchers in Europe have managed to read from an ancient scroll buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. The feat is all the more remarkable because the scroll was never opened.

The Vesuvius eruption famously destroyed Pompeii. But it also devastated the nearby town of Herculaneum. A villa there contained a library stacked with papyrus scrolls, and the hot gas and ash preserved them.

Sort of.

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4:28pm

Tue January 20, 2015
The Two-Way

Scientists Say The NFL's 'Deflate-Gate' Isn't All Hot Air

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 2:15 pm

A deflated football would have been easier for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) to grip in Sunday's rain.
Charles Krupa AP

The New England Patriots are headed to the Super Bowl.

But there is a flat, squishy cloud over the Patriots' 45-7 victory against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday: The NFL is looking into allegations that the Patriots deflated the football to give themselves an advantage.

Two scientists say that "deflate-gate" isn't entirely hot air.

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5:14pm

Thu January 15, 2015
NPR Ed

Do Fictional Geniuses Hold Back Real Women?

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 8:39 am

Geniuses in movies aren't always played by Benedict Cumberbatch, but they are almost always men.
Weinstein Co./Studiocanal/Kobal Collection

The "Lone Genius" character is hot right now in television and movies. Sometimes the genius is real (think Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game), and sometimes he's fictional (think Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock). But one thing is almost always certain: He's a guy.

Now one researcher says that gender stereotype in art may have a real impact on women in academia.

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6:29pm

Thu January 8, 2015
All Tech Considered

Look Out, This Poker-Playing Computer Is Unbeatable

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 9:00 pm

Dealer Omar Abu-Eid adjusts a stack of chips before the first day of the World Series of Poker's main event in Las Vegas last July. Humans still reign in most versions of poker. Whew.
John Locher AP

Researchers have developed a computer program they say can beat any human on the planet at a particular variant of Texas Hold'em poker.

The scientists aren't planning to clean up with their powerful poker bot. Instead, they hope it can help computers become better decision-makers in the face of uncertainty. The work is published Thursday in the journal Science.

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5:57pm

Mon January 5, 2015
The Two-Way

SpaceX Plans A Perfect Landing

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 8:09 am

The massive first stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is designed to return to earth.
SpaceX

Update at 6:46 a.m. ET. Launch Scrubbed:

Early on Tuesday, SpaceX scrubbed a scheduled launch, citing technical problems. The next possible attempt is Friday at 5:09 ET, NASA said.

Our Original Post Continues:

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4:51pm

Tue December 23, 2014
Science

A Vanished Jetliner Still Haunts Families Of The Missing

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 6:26 pm

Sarah Bajc's partner, Philip Wood, disappeared along with Flight MH370. "The issuance of the death certificate is an emotional thing," she says, "because we're not convinced that they're dead."
Mohd Rasfan AFP/Getty Images

In the first months after her partner disappeared, says Sarah Bajc, she still felt his presence.

"For a long time I felt him with me — I mean really physically felt him with me," she says.

"I feel that less frequently now."

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6:57pm

Thu December 11, 2014
Shots - Health News

Birds Of A Feather Aren't Necessarily Related

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 5:25 pm

The updated avian tree shows how many different kinds of birds evolved quickly after a mass extinction 66 million years ago.
AAAS/Carla Schaffer

What do a pigeon and a flamingo have in common? Quite a bit, according to a reordering of the evolutionary tree of birds.

One of a series of studies published Thursday in Science is the latest step toward understanding the origins of the roughly 10,000 bird species that populate our planet.

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4:57am

Mon December 8, 2014
The Two-Way

Oh, Snap! NASA Promises Best Photo Yet Of Faraway Pluto

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 10:22 am

NASA/ESA/M. Buie (Southwest Research Institute)

Humanity has snapped detailed portraits of planets and moons throughout our solar system. But there's one missing from the album: Pluto.

Although Pluto was discovered in 1930, it has remained stubbornly hard to photograph. The Hubble Space Telescope has taken the best pictures, and frankly, they stink.

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4:47pm

Fri December 5, 2014
Space

Lots Of Work Remains After Successful Orion Launch

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 6:30 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Early this morning in Florida, NASA launched Orion, its latest spacecraft.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: And liftoff at dawn. The dawn of Orion and a new era of American Space exploration

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4:42pm

Wed December 3, 2014
Space

NASA To Test Orion Spacecraft For Long Future Missions

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 10:34 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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