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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.

Tying a knot can be tricky. Just ask any kid struggling with shoelaces. And scientists have it even harder when they try to make knots using tiny molecules.

Now, in the journal Science, a team of chemists says it has made a huge advance — manipulating molecules to create the tightest knot ever.

Menopause is a mystery to evolutionary biologists, but new insights could come from a long-term study of killer whales.

In these whales, the explanation may lie in a combination of conflict and cooperation between older and younger females, according to a report published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

Terrorist attacks, hurricanes, a divisive U.S. election, Brexit — 2016 has not been easy. With the year coming to an end, we thought it was time to get some serious perspective — from the scale of the entire universe.

We're tackling big questions: what scientists know, and what they have yet to learn.

So before you ring in another year, take a moment to contemplate the billions of years that led to 2017 and the billions more yet to come.

The holiday season is a time when lots of people take to the air, flying to see relatives or go on vacation. But when it comes to seasonal travel, humans are totally outnumbered by insects.

That's according to a newly published study in the journal Science, which found that more than 3 trillion migrating insects fly over south-central England each year.

In a technological tour de force, scientists have developed a new way to probe antimatter.

For the first time, researchers were able to zap antimatter atoms with a laser, then precisely measure the light let off by these strange anti-atoms. By comparing the light from anti-atoms with the light from regular atoms, they hope to answer one of the big mysteries of our universe: Why, in the early universe, did antimatter lose out to regular old matter?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!' "

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

Lizards are expected to be hard hit by climate change — and a new study suggests it might be even worse for some lizards than scientists thought.

When you praise a dog, it's listening not just to the words you say but also how you say them.

That might not be huge news to dog owners. But now scientists have explored this phenomenon by using an imaging machine to peek inside the brains of 13 dogs as they listened to their trainer's voice.

A potentially habitable planet about the size of Earth is orbiting the star that is nearest our solar system, according to scientists who describe the find Wednesday in the journal Nature.

"The wave" has been a popular diversion among spectators at stadium sporting events since at least the early 1980s, and over the years this pastime has caught the attention of physicists.

Sharks can live to be at least 272 years old in the Arctic seas, and scientists say one recently caught shark may have lived as long as 512 years.

Teens are driving unsupervised too late at night, a recent study suggests, and expanding restrictions on their nighttime driving to include the hours before midnight could save lives.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Jupiter's Great Red Spot is such a crazy, turbulent storm that it creates sound waves that travel hundreds of miles up and actually heat the planet's upper atmosphere.

That's the conclusion of scientists who found a striking hotspot right above the Great Red Spot. They describe their finding Wednesday in the journal Nature.

An African bird called the Greater honeyguide is famous for leading people to honey, and a new study shows that the birds listen for certain human calls to figure out who wants to play follow-the-leader.

The finding underscores the unique relationship that exists between humans and this wild bird.

The way clouds cover the Earth may be changing because of global warming, according to a study published Monday that used satellite data to track cloud patterns across about two decades, starting in the 1980s.

Clouds in the mid-latitudes shifted toward the poles during that period, as the subtropical dry zones expanded and the highest cloud-tops got higher.

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