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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All Tech Considered
2:00 am
Wed July 29, 2015

Beam Me Up? Teleporting Is Real, Even If Trekkie Transport Isn't

Star Trek's Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk never even lose pocket change when they use a transporter to get from TV's Starship Enterprise to distant worlds. What gives?
Paramount Television/The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Wed July 29, 2015 4:00 pm

"I have a hard time saying this with a straight face, but I will: You can teleport a single atom from one place to another," says Chris Monroe, a biophysicist at the University of Maryland.

His lab's setup in a university basement looks nothing like the slick transporters that rearrange atoms and send them someplace else on Star Trek. Instead, a couple million dollars' worth of lasers, mirrors and lenses lay sprawled across a 20-foot table.

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The Two-Way
1:24 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

Dark Pluto Bares Its Heart

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 2:14 pm

Scientists with NASA's mission to Pluto revealed stunning new images of the dwarf planet on Friday. Researchers say the pictures suggest an icy world complete with glaciers and "snow" that falls through a wispy atmosphere.

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The Two-Way
12:42 pm
Wed July 15, 2015

Strange Worlds At The Edge Of Our Solar System Finally Come Into Focus

New details of Pluto's largest moon, Charon, are revealed in this image from New Horizons' Long Range Reconnaissance Imager.
NASA

Scientists have unveiled the best photos of Pluto and its moons that humanity is likely to see for at least a generation. These images were taken Tuesday by NASA's New Horizons space probe as it hurtled past Pluto at more than 30,000 miles per hour.

Since its discovery in 1930, Pluto has revealed itself to be an oddball world. It's smaller than our own moon, and it orbits at an angle relative to the plane of the solar system. Because of its size and distance, even the Hubble Space Telescope could only make it out as a brown smudge, billions of miles away.

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The Two-Way
11:48 am
Mon July 13, 2015

Planet Or Not, Icy Pluto To Finally Get Its Day In The Sun

Technicians prepped the New Horizons spacecraft on Nov. 4, 2005, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Fired into space in 2006, the probe is scheduled to finally get close to Pluto on Tuesday.
John Raoux AP

Originally published on Mon July 13, 2015 5:30 pm

Alice Bowman oversees daily operations for NASA's mission to Pluto. Her language is peppered with technical terms — like "astronomical units" and "aim points."

But there's one piece of scientific nomenclature you won't hear coming from Bowman's lips: dwarf planet.

"Pluto is a planet," she says. "And that's the way I will always think of it."

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The Two-Way
12:45 am
Mon July 6, 2015

Pluto-Bound Spacecraft Nears Its Quarry

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

Originally published on Tue July 7, 2015 4:58 am

It has taken nearly a decade and 3 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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The Two-Way
10:14 am
Thu July 2, 2015

Russian Rocket Poised For Crucial Supply Run To Space Station

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

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 3:45 pm

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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Science
1:15 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

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

Originally published on Wed July 1, 2015 12:40 pm

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The Two-Way
10:03 am
Wed June 17, 2015

NASA Satellites Show World's Thirst For Groundwater

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

Originally published on Wed June 17, 2015 3:25 pm

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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The Two-Way
12:37 am
Fri June 5, 2015

The Pentagon Wants These Robots To Save The Day

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

Originally published on Sat June 6, 2015 4:13 am

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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Environment
3:47 pm
Thu June 4, 2015

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

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

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

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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