Talk of the Nation

Weekdays 12:00 pm

When Americans want to be a part of the national conversation, they turn to Talk of the Nation, NPR's live, midday news-talk program. Host Neal Conan leads a productive exchange of ideas and opinions on the issues that dominate the news landscape.

From breaking news, science, and education to religion and the arts, Talk of the Nation offers listeners the opportunity to join enlightening discussions with decision-makers, authors, academicians, and artists from around the world.

For two hours each Monday through Thursday, Talk of the Nation listeners weigh-in, share their thoughts and ask questions by calling, emailing, messaging through social media.

On Fridays the conversation turns to the topics of science, with Talk of the Nation: Science Friday with Ira Flatow, focusing on news and issues about the world of science and technology.

A long-time NPR journalist, Conan has been a reporter, editor, and anchor for NPR live events coverage. Conan played a major role in anchoring continuous live coverage of developments during the terrorist attacks and aftermath of September 11, 2001. His broadcasts are marked by their clarity, accuracy and eloquence.

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

'The Art Of Fielding': Baseball Meets Literature

Chad Harbach's debut novel The Art of Fielding is as much about literary fiction as it is about America's national past time. The book follows the baseball team at a small liberal arts college in Wisconsin — with side trips to the big leagues of American literature.

Henry Skrimshander is that college's talented but socially awkward shortstop, destined for big-league stardom. But when a routine throw goes wrong, Henry's life falls apart as he ends up embroiled in conflicts with his teammates, his roommate and a school administrator.

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Iraq
11:00 am
Mon December 19, 2011

What Lessons Should Americans Draw From Iraq War?

The American public, military and the intelligence community were all affected by the Iraq war. Tom Ricks of the Center for a New American Security, retired Marine Col. Gary Anderson and Army veteran Andrew Exum discuss how Americans will remember the war, and what we should learn from it.

NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Science Diction: The Origin Of The Petri Dish

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

It's time for our monthly episode of Science Diction, where we explore the origins of scientific words with my guest Howard Markel, professor of history of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, also director of the Center for the History of Medicine there. He joins us WUOM. Welcome back, Howard.

HOWARD MARKEL: Good afternoon, Ira.

FLATOW: We have a very interesting word, or actually lab equipment today.

MARKEL: That we do. It's my favorite plate. It's the Petri dish.

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Physicists Find 'Hints' of Elusive Higgs Boson

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Scientists have been searching for decades for a subatomic particle called the Higgs Boson. You've heard about it. It's been in the news, and you know, in theory, it explains why and how objects have mass.

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Exploring The Science Of Flying, From Your Window Seat

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 11:57 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This holiday season I'm sure is finding many of us on airplanes, flying around the country. It could take tedious hours of body scans, the crummy back-of-the-seat TV and scary airplane bumps and noises. But if you marvel at nature and technology, though, you can turn this torturous event into a more enjoyable learning experience.

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Research News
11:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

What Makes Wings Work?

Researchers at New York University are studying flight with a speaker, a soup pot, straws and a box full of paper aircraft. Emeritus professor Stephen Childress describes the experiment and what he and his colleagues have learned about flight from their homemade flying objects.

Medical Treatments
11:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Treating Stress, Speech Disorders With Music

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. You know that nice feeling you get when you listen to your favorite tune? What about music that can actually be medical therapy? It does exist. It's prescribed for illnesses from speech disorders to autism, Alzheimer's, even cancer.

Take the case of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. After she was shot in the head earlier this year, one way she learned to talk again was by singing her favorite songs, like this Cyndi Lauper tune.

(SOUNDBITE OF ABC BROADCAST )

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NPR Story
12:28 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Life With 'Gabby,' Before And After The Shooting

When Mark Kelly and Gabrielle Giffords were dating, Gabby did most of the talking. Kelly describes her as "the most positive person I'd ever met." But since the Congresswoman was shot, speaking is a challenge. In their book, Gabby, they share their low points and the amazing progress she has made.

Law
11:00 am
Thu December 15, 2011

High-Profile Cases Fill Supreme Court's Docket

The Supreme Court faces a momentous term in 2012. The justices recently added two high-profile cases to its docket, agreeing to weigh-in on Arizona's immigration law and a Texas case on redistricting. They previously agreed to hear a challenge to the Obama administration's health care law.

The Impact of War
11:00 am
Thu December 15, 2011

What Was Gained, And Lost, In The Iraq War

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited Baghdad Thursday to mark the end of the nearly nine-year-long U.S. mission in Iraq. He told troops, "You will leave with great pride.... Secure in knowing that your sacrifice has helped the Iraqi people to begin a new chapter in history."

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