Hurricane Lane, Disposable Contacts, Brief History of Time. Aug 24, 2018, Part 1
This year was both the 30th anniversary of Stephen Hawking’s science blockbuster A Brief History of Time, but also the year the famed physicist himself passed away. In memory of Hawking and celebration of his work, Science Friday Book Club listeners joined up to read A Brief History of Time, ask questions, and explore the far reaches of what we know about the universe—how it began, how it will end, and what it’s made of in the meantime. In the final chapter of this summer’s book club, Yale astronomer and physicist Priya Natarajan and physicist Clifford Johnson of the University of Southern California join Ira Flatow and SciFri producer Christie Taylor to talk about the man, the book, and the science—and where the field has gone since.
Unlike their reusable counterparts that are changed out weekly or even monthly, daily single-use contact lenses don’t need to be cleaned and stored at the end of the day. While these contacts are better for the health of your eyes, it also means throwing out little pieces of plastics every day—and some of these contact lenses are infiltrating our waterways. Research from Arizona State University estimates that 20 to 23 metric tons of contact lenses end up in waterways each year. Charles Rolsky, a Ph.D. student in the Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering at Arizona State University, joins Ira Flatow to discuss how contacts are polluting our water.
Plus, a strong Pacific hurricane, fueled by unusually warm water, has Hawaii in its sights—and more short stories in science news.