Delaware Public Media

Science, Health, Tech

Delaware Public Media's coverage of stories involving, science, health, medicine, technology and the environment.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Every now and then, you might hear of an unusual bird sighting. One example folks in Delmarva might be familiar with are the snowy owl sightings at the end of 2013.

Wildlife scientists call these birds and other animals that don’t belong in Delaware “vagrants.” One recent example was the burrowing owl, which was spotted at the Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuge in April.

Delaware Public Media

  Delaware-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is currently testing a drug that has potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Many potential Alzheimer’s treatments right now are targeting the abnormal growth of two types of proteins in the brains affected by the disease. These are beta-amyloids and tau proteins, which are also known as “plaques” and “tangles,” respectively.

The drug, called AZD3293, was produced by AstraZeneca’s Neuroscience iMed group in partnership with Eli Lilly. AZD3293 works by blocking the beta-secretase or BACE enzyme, that produces these plaques. AstraZeneca began developing the drug in 1999, shortly after the discovery of the BACE enzyme.

USDA grants could aid First State farmers

May 5, 2015
Delaware Public Media

The US Department of Agriculture has announced that it will be awarding a total of $235 million dollars in grants to fund innovative projects that promote environmental conservation.

The funds will be administered through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, as a part of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Paul Petrichenko, an assistant conservationist for programs at the NRCS office in Dover, says that this will provide tremendous support for farmers in Delaware.

Eli Chen/Delaware Public Media

DNREC hosted a pair of public workshops in Milford and Bethany Beach on May 1 and 2 on changes to state’s Beach Preservation Act.

Last revised in 1983, the Beach Preservation Act seek to mitigate the effects of beach erosion and property damage from coastal flooding and storms. The latest draft seeks to redefine several terms in the Beach Preservation Act, including “regulated areas.” These are areas along the shore that the state can regulate construction in favor of protecting beaches, dunes and properties.

Evan Krape


Many of us can recall being fascinated with raindrops as kids. As it turns out, so are scientists. At University of Delaware, researchers have been watching raindrops fall from a tree canopy at a research site in Fair Hill, Maryland.

When raindrops fall, they might stop at the leaves of the tree canopy, drip down the stem of the tree, or fall through the canopy. The researchers focused on the latter scenario, which is known as “throughfall” to hydrologists.

Delaware Public Media

Ozone remains an issue in the First State according to the new American Lung Association “State of the Air” report.

For a seventh straight year, Delaware received an “F” for its number high ozone days.

University of Delaware

First State scientists who are looking to understand the brain, human or animal, will soon be in proximity to a tool that could enhance their research.

Delaware’s first functional magnetic resonance imaging instrument, or fMRI, is set to arrive at University of Delaware at the beginning of 2016.

NASA and H. Richer (University of British Columbia)

Last Friday, the Hubble Space Telescope celebrated its 25th anniversary.

During its time in space, the Hubble has sent back to Earth stunning images of outer space and helped astronomers make significant discoveries that can’t be accomplished with telescopes on the ground.

For astronomers, booking time with the Hubble Space Telescope can be a lot like trying to reserve a table a Michelin starred restaurant. Judi Provencal, an astronomer at University of Delaware, has used the Hubble to study white dwarfs, also known as dying stars.

Delaware tax filers who owed a penalty on their 2014 taxes for being uninsured or underinsured in 2014 have until Thursday to sign up for coverage for the rest of 2015 and lessen their penalty next year.

The special enrollment period is open to individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014, who owed the penalty when they filed their 2014 taxes, and who first became aware of the penalty while preparing their taxes after open enrollment ended Feb. 15.

Delaware Public Media


State agencies hosted a number of climate adaptation workshops for stakeholders at Del Tech’s Terry campus on April 27.


The event focused on the recommendations put forth by the Climate Framework for Delaware that Governor Markell announced in early March. Topics covered included as improving energy efficiency in schools and the effects of climate change on agriculture.