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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Shots - Health News
5:57 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Birds Of A Feather Aren't Necessarily Related

The updated avian tree shows how many different kinds of birds evolved quickly after a mass extinction 66 million years ago.
AAAS/Carla Schaffer

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 8:49 pm

What do a pigeon and a flamingo have in common? Quite a bit, according to a reordering of the evolutionary tree of birds.

One of a series of studies published Thursday in Science is the latest step toward understanding the origins of the roughly 10,000 bird species that populate our planet.

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The Two-Way
3:57 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Oh, Snap! NASA Promises Best Photo Yet Of Faraway Pluto

NASA/ESA/M. Buie (Southwest Research Institute)

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 9:22 am

Humanity has snapped detailed portraits of planets and moons throughout our solar system. But there's one missing from the album: Pluto.

Although Pluto was discovered in 1930, it has remained stubbornly hard to photograph. The Hubble Space Telescope has taken the best pictures, and frankly, they stink.

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Space
3:47 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Lots Of Work Remains After Successful Orion Launch

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 5:30 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Early this morning in Florida, NASA launched Orion, its latest spacecraft.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: And liftoff at dawn. The dawn of Orion and a new era of American Space exploration

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Space
3:42 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

NASA To Test Orion Spacecraft For Long Future Missions

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 9:34 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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The Two-Way
4:45 am
Tue December 2, 2014

NASA Prepares To Test New Spacecraft (That You've Likely Never Heard Of)

The Orion capsule is poised to make its first test flight Thursday. If all goes as planned, the unmanned vehicle will orbit Earth twice before splashing into the Pacific Ocean.
Kim Shiflett NASA

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 2:43 pm

NASA is about to launch a new spaceship into orbit, and Mallory Loe has never heard of it.

"I mean, technically, NASA doesn't have another spaceship, do they?" she asks incredulously during a visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

She's hardly the only one who doesn't know about this new spacecraft. In fact, none of a half-dozen tourists NPR interviewed in the museum's lobby was aware of the Orion spaceship.

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The Two-Way
1:46 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Comet Lander's Big Bounce Caught On Camera

The Rosetta spacecraft, which orbits the comet, captured this series of images of the Philae lander bounding off the surface. The precise spot the lander came to a stop remains unknown.
Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 6:41 pm

Updated at 3:45PM ET

It was the first ever landing on a comet, and it was perfect.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of the journey for the European Space Agency's unmanned Philae lander. After touching down on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the lander bounced off the surface and flew a kilometer back up into space.

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National Security
3:28 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Pentagon Plans To Spend Billions Upgrading Nuclear Program

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 5:34 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Space
3:16 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

After Bouncy Landing, Philae Lander At Rest On Comet

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 9:31 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Space
3:42 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Successful Comet Landing A Major Step For Space Exploration

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 4:04 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
2:26 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Comet's Rugged Landscape Makes Landing A Roll Of The Dice

Newly released images taken from just 6 miles above the comet show high plateaus sticking up from its boulder-strewn surface.
ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 3:48 pm

The European Space Agency is about to try to put a probe where none has gone before: on the surface of a comet.

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The Two-Way
2:30 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Researchers To Attempt Robotic Landing On Comet's Surface

Europe's Rosetta spacecraft is about to send a lander to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
ESA/Rosetta/NavCam

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 9:12 am

Humans have never landed anything on a comet's surface. That may change tomorrow.

The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission is poised to send out a small probe to land on a comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta spent 10 years chasing the comet before arriving in August.

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The Two-Way
12:48 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Even After SpaceShipTwo Crash, Many Space Tourists Hold On To Tickets

The unique folding tail section of the Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo may have been a factor in the crash.
Virgin Galactic

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 1:56 pm

The dream of hundreds of space tourists was dealt a blow last Friday when Virgin Galactic's experimental SpaceShipTwo broke up over California's Mojave Desert. The pilot was injured and the co-pilot died in the accident.

But many are still holding on to their tickets.

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Space
5:48 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Test Flight Crash Fails To Deter Space Tourists

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 3:27 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's follow up now on the crash of an experimental spaceship. Last week's crash came in California during a test flight. It was a big setback for hundreds of hopeful space tourists. But many are still holding onto their tickets. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports.

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Shots - Health News
2:34 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

How Boy Bits First Came To Be

A python embryo turns its leg cells into a pair of penises. Researchers now believe that signals from the embryonic gut trigger the development of the penis in many different species.
Patrick Tschopp/Harvard Medical School/Department of Genetics

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 11:13 am

Evolution has shaped every part of the body, and that includes our private parts. New research published this week sheds light on how the penis evolved and how it forms in different animals.

The research might also one day help illuminate a medical mystery: Birth defects of the penis have risen sharply in recent decades, and nobody is sure why.

Penises weren't necessary when our early ancestors lived in the ocean. A female could lay eggs, and a male could just swim by and excrete some sperm. It would all mix and fertilize in the water.

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Research News
5:08 am
Mon November 3, 2014

New Clock May End Time As We Know It

Strontium atoms floating in the center of this photo are the heart of the world's most precise clock. The clock is so exact that it can detect tiny shifts in the flow of time itself.
Courtesy of the Ye group and Brad Baxley/JILA

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 1:51 pm

"My own personal opinion is that time is a human construct," says Tom O'Brian. O'Brian has thought a lot about this over the years. He is America's official timekeeper at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado.

To him, days, hours, minutes and seconds are a way for humanity to "put some order in this very fascinating and complex universe around us."

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