Amadou Bah, a former student of Project ENGAGES and recent graduate of BEST Academy High School, and Qwantavious Stiggers, also a student of Project ENGAGES and BEST Academy, talk about what Project ENGAGES has done for them.
Brenna Beech / WABE

There’s a big push underway at Georgia Tech to get more minority students into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – the four subjects better known as the STEM fields.

Tech has partnered with three Atlanta public high schools with the goal of doing just that through a program called Project ENGAGES.

Sumatran tiger Jalal lives at Zoo Atlanta. He is one of the tigers that contibuted cells to the UGA stem cell research project
Mary Jo DiLonardo

The Sumatran tiger once roamed vast stretches of the jungle on the Southeast Asian island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Now the big cat is classified as critically endangered – on the brink of extinction.

The clouded leopard is in a similar battle for its life. The smallest of South Asia’s big cats, it once claimed a vast territory that stretched from the Himalayan foothills to the forests of the mainland into China.

The Best of City Cafe for 2014

Jan 2, 2015
Francine Reed
Georgia Department of Economic Development

2014 has proved to be another busy year for both City Cafe and the city of Atlanta. Our reporting has taken us to rooftops, through forests, and into the lives of seemingly ordinary folks with extraordinary stories. As this year ends and the new one begins, we present some of our favorite features of '14.

Singer Francine Reed on Her Career and Recognition

Courtesy of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center

As children, many of us are taught that life just isn’t fair. And as adults, it will often seem true. We’re faced with unfair situations all the time. 

But why do we care so much about fairness in the first place? 

According to an Atlanta primatologist, we might look to another species to find the answer.

Are Fireflies Disappearing? Researchers Ask You To Find Out

Oct 22, 2014
Flickr user lastbeats /

  This story originally aired Thursday Sept. 11, 2014.

It’s one of the first visual cues that summer is on its way: a certain insect appears at dusk, emitting flashes of light as it buzzes around just above the grass.

But the familiar firefly, or--as some call it--the lightning bug, may actually be disappearing. And a group of researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina are trying to understand how and why.

Evan Changhwan Jang / WABE

This story originally aired Sept. 17, 2014.

If it weren’t for the sign just outside the entrance to the Podponics farm, you might wonder if you’d gotten the address wrong.

As you pull into the lot, the scene most resembles an industrial truck yard. Airplanes are rushing overhead, taking off from Hartsfield-Jackson, just a few miles away. And the 11 acres of land in front of you are mostly empty, with exception of a few dozen shipping containers, stacked two levels high in the middle of the lot.

When Is It OK For Scientists To Become Political?

Oct 16, 2014

It's not everyday that a world famous climate scientist gets himself arrested in front of the White House. But that's exactly what happened to James Hansen in 2011 as part of a protest against the Keystone Pipeline.

In the 1980s it was Hansen's highly respected work that helped people realize that the climate change we humans were driving was real — and really dangerous.

They cliff-dive. Run with the bulls. Drive ambulances. Chase tornadoes. We all know thrill-seekers when we meet them.

But even if you’re not an extreme thrill-seeker, there’s still probably some part of the larger concept to which thrill-seeking belongs that applies to you, too.

Click below to listen to Kate Sweeney's radio story on sensation-seeking.

Jaime Lee / WABE

Here's a story of technology helping a musician overcome adversity. When Jason Barnes lost his right arm in 2012, that might have been the end of his drumming career. But Professor Gil Weinberg at Georgia Tech's Center for Musical Technology has built Jason a robotic arm. Now, he can not only play the drums again, but the prosthesis will collaborate with him while he does. 

The Lab Tech - Audio Slideshow

Jul 19, 2013
Rori-Tai Williams

In this Atlanta Sounds audio slideshow, we meet lab technician Elsa Mekonnen.  She finds the world of bacteria to be quite beautiful, and loves science for its curious nature.

Fernbank Telescope

Jul 8, 2013

To many it’s known as the Fernbank Telescope, but it’s actual name is the Dr. Ralph L. Buice, Jr. Observatory.   It hosts a telescope that’s nearly three feet across under a large white dome that opens to the night sky.  It’s the largest telescope in the southeastern United States and the Fernbank Science Center has free observations a couple of evenings a week, weather permitting.   You can find out more here.

From time-to-time, most of us suffer from insomnia.  The inability to sleep can cause huge problems.

But less well-known is the opposite condition, a type of hypersomnia.  Sufferers can sleep 16 hours or more a day and still never feel rested.

An Emory researcher believes he's uncovered why it happens.  But there’s a problem standing between patients and treatment.

To use a car analogy, Dr. David Rye of the Emory Sleep Center says it’s like patients are driving through life with their parking break engaged.  They’re always sleepy.

Fernbank in danger with budget talks

Jun 11, 2012

Despite trying to close a projected $73 million dollar budget hole, it looked like the DeKalb County School Board was going to spare the Fernbank Science Center.

That changed today when the board decided to consider cutting about $3 million from the Center’s budget.

“Fernbank would remain open and would still be a science center that has a core educational mission of hands on science education for children,” said DeKalb spokesman Walter Woods. “But it would have a reduced budget.”

Georgia has caught up to the rest of the country in eighth grade science. The average score for Georgia eighth graders increased four points since 2009.

That’s the last time the since the last time the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam was given.

Georgia students had an average score of 151 out of 300 on the NAEP Science Assessment. That put them right at the national average. 

Scores for African-American and Hispanic students were up. And Georgia Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza says the state’s achievement gap also shrank.