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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3:45am

Mon July 6, 2015
The Two-Way

Pluto-Bound Spacecraft Nears Its Quarry

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 8:12 am

NASA's New Horizons mission will be the first ever to visit Pluto and its moons. This artist's conception shows the probe as it passes the dwarf planet.
JHUAPL/SwRI

It's taken nearly a decade and three billion miles to get there, but scientists are about to get their first look at Pluto.

The New Horizons spacecraft is closing fast on the tiny world once thought to be at the edge of our solar system. On Tuesday the probe will begin an intensive nine-day scientific study of Pluto and its moons.

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1:37pm

Thu July 2, 2015
The Two-Way

Russian Rocket Poised For Crucial Supply Run To Space Station

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 6:45 pm

On Friday, a Russian Soyuz rocket will send an unmanned cargo ship with more than 3 tons of food, water and fuel for astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
Russian Federal Space Agency

The stakes are high for a routine cargo mission to the International Space Station, after a string of failures has left the orbiting outpost running somewhat low on supplies.

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4:15pm

Tue June 30, 2015
Science

To Keep Up With Earth's Rotation, Clocks Will Tick An Extra Second Tonight

Originally published on Tue June 30, 2015 7:14 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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1:03pm

Wed June 17, 2015
The Two-Way

NASA Satellites Show World's Thirst For Groundwater

Originally published on Wed June 17, 2015 6:25 pm

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, used a pair of satellites to measure water use in the world's aquifers.
NASA

New data from NASA's GRACE satellites show that many of the world's biggest aquifers are being sucked dry at a rate far greater than they are being replenished. Although scientists don't know how much water is left, they hope their findings will serve as a "red flag" for regions that may be overusing water.

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3:37am

Fri June 5, 2015
The Two-Way

The Pentagon Wants These Robots To Save The Day

Originally published on Sat June 6, 2015 7:13 am

NASA's RoboSimian is among the robots taking part in the Defense Department competition. The Space Agency may one day use it to explore caves on other planets.
Dan Goods JPL

On Friday, 24 robots and their masters will be going head-to-head in California for a $2 million prize. The robotics challenge is sponsored by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Those fearing the Pentagon-sponsored prize could signal the dawn of Terminator-style cyborgs needn't worry. "Even though they look like us, and they may look a little bit mean, there's really nothing inside," says Gill Pratt, the program manager running this competition. "What you're really seeing is a puppet."

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6:38pm

Thu June 4, 2015
Environment

Scientists Cast Doubt On An Apparent 'Hiatus' In Global Warming

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 8:31 pm

A fully loaded container ship sails along the coast. Historically, ships have taken most of the sea measurements that go into the estimate of Earth's average surface temperature.
iStockphoto

A team of government scientists has revised its estimate for how much the planet has been warming.

The new results, published in the journal Science, may dispel the idea that Earth has been in the midst of a "global warming hiatus" — a period over the past 20 years where the planet's temperature appears to have risen very little.

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5:49pm

Thu May 28, 2015
Shots - Health News

CDC Investigates Live Anthrax Shipments

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 9:01 pm

A security fence surrounds the main part of the U.S. Army's Dugway Proving Ground, a testing laboratory in the Utah desert. The Army says it mistakenly shipped live anthrax from Dugway to several labs in the U.S. and Korea.
George Frey Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still trying to figure out how the military managed to ship anthrax spores that were apparently live from one of its facilities to more than a dozen labs across the United States.

"We have a team at the [military] lab to determine what may have led to this incident," says CDC spokesman Jason McDonald. In addition, he says, the agency is working with health officials in nine states to make sure the potentially live samples are safely disposed of and the labs affected are decontaminated.

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3:56am

Fri April 24, 2015
Science

After 25 Years, The Hubble Space Telescope Still Wows Humanity

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 4:26 pm

(Left) This is one of two cameras that the telescope originally carried, and it has since been replaced with a more up-to-date version. (Right) Workers study Hubble's 8-foot main mirror. After launch the mirror was found to have a problem, which astronauts corrected in 1993.
SSPL/Getty Images; Hubblesite

Mike Massimino is one of the last people to ever see the Hubble Space Telescope in person.

From inside his orbiting space shuttle, the telescope first appeared on the horizon as a star, says Massimino, who was an astronaut on the final mission to service the space telescope in 2009.

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6:25pm

Sat April 18, 2015
Science

Gazing Into Those Puppy-Dog Eyes May Actually Be Good For You

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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2:56pm

Thu April 16, 2015
Shots - Health News

Scientists Probe Puppy Love

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 5:28 pm

A direct, friendly gaze seems to help cement the bond of affection between people and their pooches.
Dan Perez/Flickr

It's a question that bedevils dog owners the world over: "Is she staring at me because she loves me? Or because she wants another biscuit?"

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3:42am

Wed April 15, 2015
The Salt

The Space Station Gets A Coffee Bar

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 2:14 pm

ESA/NASA

In space, all they have is instant.

"For an instant coffee, it's an excellent instant coffee," says Vickie Kloeris, who manages the space station's food supply for NASA. Astronauts are allotted up to three freeze-dried cups (pouches, actually) a day, and Kloeris says it's "extremely popular."

But, she adds, "Can it compete with brewed espresso? No."

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4:59am

Tue March 31, 2015
National Security

After Snowden, The NSA Faces Recruitment Challenge

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 10:16 am

Daniel Swann is exactly the type of person the National Security Agency would love to have working for it. The 22-year-old is a fourth-year concurrent bachelor's-master's student at Johns Hopkins University with a bright future in cybersecurity.

And growing up in Annapolis, Md., not far from the NSA's headquarters, Swann thought he might work at the agency, which intercepts phone calls, emails and other so-called "signals intelligence" from U.S. adversaries.

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7:39am

Sat March 28, 2015
The Two-Way

A Day's A Day The World Around — But Shorter On Saturn

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 4:38 pm

Saturn has a rocky surface, but it's deep beneath the clouds. That makes it hard to tell exactly how long the day is.
NASA

Researchers have answered a question that has been nagging them for years: Exactly how long is a day on the planet Saturn? The result (10 hours and 32 minutes or so) was published this week in the journal Nature, and could teach scientists more about the giant, ringed planet.

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4:24am

Thu March 12, 2015
The Two-Way

Researchers Think There's A Warm Ocean On Enceladus

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 8:07 pm

A new analysis suggests that Enceladus' ocean is being heated from the bottom up. That could explain plumes of ice seen at its south pole.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Saturn's moon Enceladus is a mystery. From Earth it looks tiny and cold, and yet it's not a dead hunk of rock. Passing spacecraft see trenches and ridges, similar to Earth's, and in 2005 NASA's Cassini mission spotted ice geysers streaming from its south pole.

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5:07pm

Tue March 10, 2015
Science

As Climate Wars Heat Up, Some Skeptics Are Targets

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 7:57 pm

Climate skeptic Willie Soon has argued in the past that too much ice is bad for polar bears. An investigation into Soon's funding found he took money from the fossil fuel industry and did not always disclose that source.
iStockphoto

Scientists who warn that the earth's climate is changing have been subjected to hacking, investigations, and even court action in recent years. That ire usually comes from conservative groups and climate skeptics seeking to discredit the research findings.

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