Champagne Fizzics, Last Days of the Dinosaurs, Vole Girl. Dec 30, 2022, Part 1

Dec 30, 2022, 05:00 PM

Keeping The Bubbly In Your Holidays, With Fizzical Science

As the year winds to a close, you may be attending gatherings where a festive flute of champagne is offered. Champagne production starts out with a first fermentation process that turns ordinary grape juice into alcoholic wine. A second fermentation in the wine bottle produces the dissolved carbon dioxide responsible for the thousands of fizzy bubbles that are a distinctive part of the experience of drinking champagne and other sparkling wines. 

In this archival interview from 2012, Ira talks with Stanford University chemist Richard Zare about the interplay between temperature, bubbles, the surface of the glass in which the drink is served, and surprising factors such as lipstick chemistry that can influence the sparkliness of each sip, and delves into the age old question of the best ways to keep an opened bottle of champagne bubbly for longer.  


What Was It Like To Witness The End Of The Dinosaurs?

66 million years ago, a massive asteroid hit what we know today as the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. Many people have a general idea of what happened next: The age of the dinosaurs was brought to a close, making room for mammals like us to thrive.

But fewer people know what happened in the days, weeks, and years after impact. Increased research on fossils and geological remains from this time period have helped scientists paint a picture of this era. For large, non-avian dinosaurs like Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex, extinction was swift following the asteroid impact. But for creatures that were able to stay underwater and underground, their post-impact stories are more complicated.

Joining Ira to discuss her book The Last Days of the Dinosaurs is Riley Black, science writer based in Salt Lake City, Utah.


‘I Will Not Be Vole Girl’—A Biologist Warms To Rodents

The path to becoming a scientist is not unlike the scientific process itself: Filled with dead ends, detours, and bumps along the way.

Danielle Lee started asking questions about animal behavior when she was a kid. She originally wanted to become a veterinarian. But after being rejected from veterinary school, she found a fulfilling career as a biologist, doing the type of work she always wanted to do—but never knew was possible for her.

Science Friday producer Shoshannah Buxbaum talks with Dr. Danielle Lee, a biologist, outreach scientist, and assistant professor in biology at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in Edwardsville Illinois about what keeps her asking questions, what rodents can help us understand about humans, and the importance of increasing diversity in science.

Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on