Science and Technology

Science news

Emily Siner / WPLN

Astronomy enthusiasts across the country are already planning out where they’ll be on Aug. 21, when a total solar eclipse will make a path across North America.

As the largest city on that path, Nashville is expecting a boost in tourism from visitors excited about the eclipse. But the Adventure Science Center is also trying to make sure people who live here understand the importance of the celestial occasion, too.

Ken Catania

The star-nosed mole is unlike any mole you might have seen wreaking havoc on your garden. Bursting from its snout is a ring of 22 retractable fleshy appendages arranged in a bright pink star. While one look at the nose of the slick dark-furred creature might be frightening to most, neuroscientist Ken Catania sees past its unusual appearance.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Sometimes, the desire to fit in stops people from doing things they really love. Morley Bankston, a computer programmer in Nashville, avoided anything related to math or science in high school because she was afraid of being labeled a “nerd.” She talked to WPLN’s Emily Siner as part of our live series Movers & Thinkers about discovering that side of herself as an adult.


Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

There’s a frustrating phenomenon that happens to some people who are very successful. Take Kelly Holly-Bockelmann, an astrophysicist at Vanderbilt: Even after getting multiple degrees and receiving high-profile grants, she says she still often feels like she’s not good enough. And that feeling can intensify the more successful she gets. She talked to WPLN’s Emily Siner during the live taping of our Movers & Thinkers podcast about the dreaded "imposter syndrome." 

Emily Siner / WPLN

Over the past year and a half, doctors and researchers in Nashville have diagnosed eight of the rarest genetic diseases. One doctor on the team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center says its progress is now speeding up.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

A hospital trauma ward is filled with unexpected emergencies: Doctors see patients with sudden and severe injuries, like those in a car crash, and they often have to make life-changing decisions on a moment's notice. It's a stressful job, but Vanderbilt trauma surgeon Tim Nunez explains how he and others deal with the pressure.

Emily Siner / WPLN

You could say Butch Wilmore has star power.

The Tennessee native is an astronaut who spent six months on the International Space Station, and students at William Henry Oliver Middle School in Nashville were clearly excited that he was visiting Thursday. The school band welcomed him with a Star Wars medley. Students lined up to take selfies.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

A video that purported to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal tissue has been discredited. But it spawned an inquiry that carries on, led by Congressman Marsha Blackburn.

Her investigative panel has been forcing researchers to turn over emails and billing information. They're trying to root out people who may have profited from the sale of fetal parts, which is illegal.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are starting to build applications for a supercomputer that might not go live for another seven years.

The lab recently received more than $5 million from the Department of Energy to start developing several longterm projects.

Brookings Institute

Nashville needs to build better relationships between big health care companies and tech startups if it wants to remain a powerhouse in the health care industry, according to a new report by the Brookings Institute.

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