The Science of Sustainability

KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. Home to the most listened-to public radio station in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program, and as a leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas.

Oysters on the Outs

Oysters on the Outs

QUEST radio takes a trip to Point Reyes, where a tug of war is underway over the management of an estuary. What is most ecologically healthy for the estuary– the preservation of pristine wilderness, or the sustainable stewardship of land and water through farming?

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Into the Inferno: The Science of Fire

Into the Inferno: The Science of Fire

In dry years, fires in California cost billions of dollars and often result in lost lives. As fire crews rest from a rough year and prepare for this one, QUEST looks at how the history of forest management could be feeding today's flames.

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Do-it-Yourself Science: The Maker Faire

Do-it-Yourself Science: The Maker Faire

It's been called "Burning Man for science geeks." The annual Maker Faire attracts thousands of amateur inventors and scientists, displaying their home-made prototypes and gadget hacks. In a world where the technological race is speeding up, the Maker movement has revealed that the do-it-yourself culture is in no danger of dying out.

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Second Life: Big Avatar on Campus

Second Life: Big Avatar on Campus

It's a virtual world, but the transactions are real. Go inside Second Life, an online game where millions of people are creating digital personalities called avatars and are living virtual lives– meeting other avatars, going to events, and even buying property with real money.

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Perilous Diesel (radio)

Perilous Diesel (radio)

Your tennis shoes. That radio you're listening to. If it wasn't made in the U.S., chances are it passed through the Port of Oakland, the fourth busiest Port in the country. But there's a downside to that convenience and those affordable prices, as Amy Standen reports.

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From Salt Ponds to Wetlands

From Salt Ponds to Wetlands

For more than 100 years, south San Francisco Bay has been a center for industrial salt production. Now federal and state biologists are working on a 40-year, $1 billion project to restore the ponds to healthy wetlands for fish, wildlife and public recreation.

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Watching the Brain at Work: MRIs and Beyond

Watching the Brain at Work: MRIs and Beyond

The human brain was once a black box, but scientists are finding ways to peer inside and explore some of our most complicated thought processes. Using MRI scanners in innovative ways, Stanford scientists are learning how children's brains process words when they read.

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Sea 3-D: Charting the Ocean Floor

Sea 3-D: Charting the Ocean Floor

Using sound and laser technology, researchers have begun to reveal the secrets of the ocean floor from the Sonoma Coast to Monterey Bay. By creating complex 3-D maps, they're hoping to learn more about waves and achieve ambitious conservation goals.

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Earthquakes: Breaking New Ground

Earthquakes: Breaking New Ground

Can earthquakes be predicted? Northern California researchers are now identifying the slow-moving clues that may foreshadow violent quakes. Their work may provide even a few seconds of warning to open elevator doors, slow down trains or alert firefighters.

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Your Photos on QUEST – Russ Morris

Your Photos on QUEST – Russ Morris

QUEST launches a new photography feature about viewers like you who love documenting science, environment and nature imagery here in the Bay Area. This week, meet Russ Morris, who takes pictures using 2 cameras at once– one old, one new– to create unique images.

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Eat Less, Live Longer?

Eat Less, Live Longer?

Have we found the fountain of youth? Scientists are discovering ways to make animals live dramatically longer through calorie restriction — a diet that requires eating at least 30 percent fewer calories than normal. QUEST investigates why we age and what the societal costs are for living well beyond 100.

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Greening Man

Greening Man

Burning Man is going green. QUEST heads out to the Nevada desert to see how clean tech CEOs are tapping into this counter-culture art festival.

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On a Sea of Green

On a Sea of Green

Adjacent to the steep blooming hill came a markedly steep drop. More than forty-five feet down, it descended onto very unforgiving concrete. Here I stood, the crevasse to my right and a steep jaunt up to my left. Not the best place for someone who is petrified of heights. With knees knocking, I scrambled up […]

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Perilous Diesel

Perilous Diesel

Diesel engines are the durable workhorses of transportation, but as they get older, they spew unhealthy soot. Communities with the highest diesel smog levels, like West Oakland, California, are working hard to reduce the pollution.

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The Reverse Evolution Machine

The Reverse Evolution Machine

In search of the common ancestor of all mammals, UC Santa Cruz scientist David Haussler is pulling a complete reversal. Instead of studying fossils, he's comparing the genomes of living mammals to construct a map of our common ancestors' DNA. His technique holds promise for providing a better picture of how life evolved.

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Urban Forest 2.0

Urban Forest 2.0

The urban forest is going digital. Thanks to volunteers with laptops and handheld devices, San Francisco is creating an online map of every street tree in the city, getting a leg up on keeping the urban landscape healthy and growing.

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Sharks of the San Francisco Bay

Sharks of the San Francisco Bay

Great white sharks outside the Golden Gate Bridge may get all the attention, but a new tagging program seeks to unlock the secrets of the considerable shark population inside the bay.

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NASA Flying Car Challenge

NASA Flying Car Challenge

Flying cars are usually the stuff of science fiction, but a group of engineers at NASA is hoping to change that. They're sponsoring a technology contest to revolutionize small planes – and it's open to the general public.

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The Salty Water Solution

The Salty Water Solution

Is desalination the solution to the California's chronic water woes? Four Bay Area agencies think it might be — and are studying whether to build the largest desalination plant in the country.

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Science of Bridge Safety

Science of Bridge Safety

After the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, almost all of the Bay Area's toll bridges underwent major upgrades. Yet even with the focus on retrofitting, there are still 40 Bay Area bridges that rate lower than the one that collapsed in Minneapolis. How do we know which bridges are safe?

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