By April 1, the vast majority of California's 11,000 gas stations must have new, state-of-the-art fuel pumps that keep toxic fumes from escaping. State officials say the new pumps mean cleaner, safer air, particularly for those suffering from asthma and other respiratory diseases. But, amid a recession and record unemployment, will the new rules force mom and pop gas stations out of business?
Video on Mar 13, 2009 by KQED QUEST staff
The intertidal rocks at Natural Bridges State Beach are covered in life: sea stars, seaweeds, urchins, and crabs are just some of the area's intertidal inhabitants. Visit them in their tidepool homes down in Santa Cruz, California.
It's been 150 years since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. Yet his ideas remain as central to scientific exploration as ever. QUEST follows entomologist David Kavanaugh, who predicted that a new beetle species would be found on the Trinity Alps. Find out if his prediction came true…
As the Bay Area has become more urban, many wild animals have disappeared. But not mountain lions. These large cats live surprisingly close to us, and yet they're not as dangerous as many believe. Now, researchers in the mountains north of Santa Cruz are using new technology to learn more about these elusive animals.
Video on Jan 12, 2009 by KQED QUEST staff
Humans and dogs have been partners for thousands of years. Now our canine friends are joining the fight against cancer. Researchers are training dogs to smell cancer in the breath samples of human patients. And by studying cancers in dogs, we may discover new treatments for cancer in human and canine cancer patients.
If you're looking to buy an all-electric car you can drive on the freeway, your options are limited. $100,000 will buy you an electric sports car from Tesla. But an affordable all-electric vehicle remains elusive, due to the difficulty in making a battery that is powerful, long-lasting, and cheap. QUEST visits a local battery laboratory and investigates the odds of a breakthrough.
In Monterey Bay, scientists have successfully launched a deep-sea laboratory unlike anything in the world. The $13 million, unmanned lab is expected to revolutionize the way ocean research is done. Scientists ran 32 miles of cable from the shoreline to collect data and to provide uninterrupted power to remote robots, seismometers and real-time video of a world deep below the ocean.
Video on Nov 24, 2008 by KQED QUEST staff
Foster City photographer and naturalist John Albers-Mead describes visiting the tide pools near Half Moon Bay as "a treasure hunt that changes by the minute." QUEST joins Albers-Mead on Moss Beach at low tide as he captures these sometimes-sunken treasures with his digital camera.
Last week, NASA declared the Mars Phoenix Lander mission completed as the lander succumbed to Martian winter and lost radio contact. NASA scientists are already preparing their next mission: to send a rover to search for evidence of life on Mars. But to help decide what signs to look for, scientists are studying extreme life forms on our own planet.
Video on Nov 17, 2008 by KQED QUEST staff
As a physics professor at UC Berkeley, Richard Muller considers what his students would need to know — if one were elected president. In today's lesson, he demonstrates the principles of fission and the basics of a nuclear explosion — using super balls!
Meet the Bay Area's eclipse chasers – adventurers who travel the world to witness and document solar eclipses. In these rare moments, the moon covers the sun for a few minutes, leaving only its fiery atmosphere visible. Watch the China 2008 eclipse and learn about an invention that helped researchers photograph the sun's atmosphere in breathtaking detail.
Imagine a vast grassy plain covered with herds of elephants, bison and camels stretching as far as the eye can see. Lions, tigers, wolves and later, humans, hunt the herds on their summer migration. Africa? No, the Bay Area. During the close of the last Ice Age. Take a trip back 20,000 years, to a time when San Francisco Bay was just a riverbed and local wildlife looked a whole lot different.
California ranks second-lowest in the U.S. in fourth and eighth grade science achievement, according to a recent study. Since a large part of California's economy is devoted to technology, it is vital that California get its students up to speed. How bad is the problem? And what are schools and informal science education organizations doing to fill the gap?
For hundreds of years, scientists have been poaching design ideas from structures in nature. Now, biologists and engineers at UC Berkeley are working together to design a broad range of new products, such as life-saving milli-robots modeled on the way cockroaches run and adhesives based on the amazing design of a gecko's foot.
California waters are some of the richest in the world. But declines in fish species have led state leaders to begin creating large protected areas, or "no fishing zones," similar to wilderness areas on land. Although controversial with some fishing groups, the zones may help bring back fish, birds and marine mammals currently on the brink.
QUEST teams up with Make Magazine to construct the latest must have, do-it-yourself device hacks and science projects. This week well show you how to make a tabletop linear accelerator that demonstrates the finer points of kinetic energy by shooting a steel ball.
Fire recently scorched much of the Big Sur area – and it also threatened one of the rarest birds in the world. The California condor sanctuary in Big Sur went up in flames. Although the birds were rescued, scientists have a major job rebuilding holding pens and other equipment. But California has a lot of condor lovers, and money and volunteers have been pouring in.
Video on Oct 20, 2008 by KQED QUEST staff
In this QUEST Web exclusive, we update a story we did last year on a plan to bring high-speed rail to California as voters head to the ballot boxes to decide the fate of Proposition 1A. Hop aboard to learn about the science behind high-speed rail travel and the obstacles that lie in its path.
In this QUEST web exclusive, Stanford University computer science professor and artificial intelligence (A.I.) researcher Daphne Koller explains how A.I. can be used for tasks that require sifting through a sea of data to arrive at a meaningful conclusion, be it diagnosis of a person's illness or assessing their fitness as a job candidate.