Geoff Brumfiel

The explosive volcanic eruption in Tonga on Saturday appears to dwarf the largest nuclear detonations ever conducted, according to a global group that monitors for atomic testing.

The shock wave from the blast was so powerful that it was detected as far away as Antarctica, says Ronan Le Bras, a geophysicist with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna, Austria, which oversees an international network of remote monitoring stations.

NASA researchers have an estimate of the power of a massive volcanic eruption that took place on Saturday near the island nation of Tonga.

"We come up with a number that's around 10 megatons of TNT equivalent," James Garvin, the chief scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, told NPR.

That means the explosive force was more than 500 times as powerful as the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, at the end of World War II.

A key part of protecting endangered species is figuring out where they're living. Now researchers say they have found a powerful new tool that could help: vacuuming DNA out of the air.

"This is a bit of a crazy idea," admits Elizabeth Clare, a molecular ecologist at York University in Toronto, Canada. "We are literally sucking DNA out of the sky."

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A key part of protecting endangered species is figuring out where they're living, and that can be tricky. But now two teams of scientists have discovered a technique that might help. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel has more.

A new scientific study shows that vaccination can cause changes to the timing of menstruation. But it also shows the effects are temporary, more akin to a sore arm than a serious adverse event.

"I think it's reassuring and also validating," says Dr. Alison Edelman, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Ore. who led the study.

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The prominent biologist E.O. Wilson died yesterday. As NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, he shaped modern thinking on evolution and the environment.

In October, a conference filled with anti-vaccine activists in Nashville, Tenn., received a high-profile political guest: former President Donald Trump's son Eric Trump.

While portions of the younger Trump's half-hour address were typical political platitudes, some of his biggest applause lines came when he attacked COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Updated December 5, 2021 at 10:27 AM ET

Since May 2021, people living in counties that voted heavily for Donald Trump during the last presidential election have been nearly three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as those who live in areas that went for now-President Biden. That's according to a new analysis by NPR that examines how political polarization and misinformation are driving a significant share of the deaths in the pandemic.

For much of the pandemic, Dr. Lee Merritt has appeared on talk shows and in lecture halls to spread false information about COVID-19.

It began with what appeared to be a missing rocket. In July, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology announced the 77th launch of one of its Long March 2C rockets; in late August it announced the 79th. What happened to launch No. 78?

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The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded today to three scientists for their work, predicting the seemingly unpredictable. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports that the researchers helped shape our understanding of climate change.

The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded this year for work on finding order in chaos — some made by humans and some found in nature.

Half of the prize went to Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann for their studies showing how humans were changing the climate on Earth. According to the prize committee, it was Manabe, now at Princeton University, who built one of the first climate models in the 1960s that explained how human-produced carbon dioxide could warm the planet.

Last month, Dr. Simone Gold stood before a crowd at a conservative church in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and delivered a talk riddled with misinformation. She told people to avoid vaccination against the coronavirus. As an alternative, she pushed drugs that have not been proven effective at treating COVID-19 — drugs that she also offered to prescribe to the audience in exchange for $90 telehealth appointments.

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Big news from Mars this weekend. A small helicopter zipped around its surface, and as NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, it's exceeding all expectations.

Updated August 29, 2021 at 5:19 PM ET

Hurricane Ida has already caused widespread power outages throughout the state of Louisiana after making landfall Sunday afternoon. More than 400,000 customers were without electricity late Sunday afternoon, according to the local utility, Entergy. The company warned that the hardest hit areas could experience power outages for weeks.

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