Tag Archives: Nature Podcasts

Science Podcast: Inside A Proton, Cold Genes & Growing Small Intestines

The surprising structure of protons, and a method for growing small intestines for transplantation.

In this episode:

00:45 Probing the proton’s interior

Although studied for decades, the internal structure of the proton is still throwing up surprises for physicists. This week, a team of researchers report an unexpected imbalance in the antimatter particles that make up the proton.

Research Article: Dove et al.

News and Views: Antimatter in the proton is more down than up

07:08 Research Highlights

How an inactive gene may help keep off the chill, and Cuba’s isolation may have prevented invasive species taking root on the island.

Research Highlight: Impervious to cold? A gene helps people to ward off the chills

Research Highlight: Marauding plants steer clear of a communist-ruled island

09:48 A new way to grow a small intestine

Short Bowel Syndrome is an often fatal condition that results from the removal of the small intestine. Treatment options are limited to transplantation, but donor intestines are hard to come by and can be rejected by the body. Now researchers may have developed a method to grow a replacement small intestine using stem cells and a small section of colon.

Research Article: Sugimoto et al.

15:50 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the landing of Perseverance on Mars, and the researchers speaking with lucid dreamers.

Nature News: Mars video reveals Perseverance rover’s daring touchdown

Nature News: Touch down! NASA’s Mars landing sparks new era of exploration

Science Podcast: Million-Year-Old Mammoth DNA, Art In Science & Jupiter

Researchers sequence the oldest DNA ever recovered, and the people bringing art and science together.

In this episode:

00:46 Million-year-old mammoth DNA

This week, researchers have smashed a long-standing record by sequencing a genome that’s over a million years old. They achieved this feat by extracting DNA from permafrost-preserved mammoth teeth, using it to build-up a more detailed family tree for these ancient animals.

Research Article: van der Valk et al.

News: Million-year-old mammoth genomes shatter record for oldest ancient DNA

News and Views: Million-year-old DNA provides a glimpse of mammoth evolution

10:00 Research Highlights

A spacecraft catches a rare glimpse of a rock smashing into Jupiter, and the perilous state of sawfish populations.

Research Highlight: Robotic eyes spy the flash of a meteor on Jupiter

Research Highlight: Humans push a hulking fish with a chainsaw nose towards oblivion

12:18 Putting art into science (and science into art)

Art and science are sometimes considered disparate, but when brought together the results can be greater than the sum of their parts. This week we hear from an artist and a scientist on the benefits they found when crossing the divide.

Career Feature: How to shape a productive scientist–artist collaboration

Career Feature: How the arts can help you to craft a successful research career

Where I work: ‘All my art is curiosity-driven’: the garden studio where art and physics collide

21:43 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, a neanderthal gene makes brain-like organoids bumpy, and uncovering the original location of Stonehenge’s stone circle.

Covid-19: Understanding The New Variants & New Vaccines Effectiveness

Researchers are scrambling to understand the biology of new coronavirus variants and the impact they might have on vaccine efficacy.

Around the world, concern is growing about the impact that new, faster-spreading variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus will have on the pandemic.

In this episode of Coronapod, we discuss what these variants are, and the best way to respond to them, in the face of increasing evidence that some can evade the immunity produced by vaccination or previous infection.

News: ‘A bloody mess’: Confusion reigns over naming of new COVID variants

News: Fast-spreading COVID variant can elude immune responses

News: Could new COVID variants undermine vaccines? Labs scramble to find out

News: How to redesign COVID vaccines so they protect against variants

News: J&J’s one-shot COVID vaccine offers hope for faster protection

Science Podcast: Spinal Cord Injury Device, Hand Gestures & Saturn’s Tilt

A neuroprosthetic device restores blood-pressure control after spinal-cord injury, and identifying the neurons that help us understand others’ beliefs.

In this episode:

00:47 A neuroprosthetic restores the body’s baroreflex

A common problem for people who have experienced spinal-cord injury is the inability to maintain their blood pressure, which can have serious, long-term health consequences. Now, however, researchers have developed a device that may restore this ability, by stimulating the neural circuits involved in the so-called baroreflex.

Research Article: Squair et al.

News and Views: Neuroprosthetic device maintains blood pressure after spinal cord injury

08:27 Research Highlights

How gesticulating changes the way that speech is perceived, and a new theory of how Saturn got its tilt.

Research Highlight: Hands speak: how casual gestures shape what we hear

Research Highlight: The moon that made Saturn a pushover

10:58 A neuronal map of understanding others

Humans are very good at understanding that other people have thoughts, feelings and beliefs that are different to our own. But the neuronal underpinnings of this ability have been hard to unpick. Now, researchers have identified a subset of neurons that they think gives us this ability.

Research Article: Jamali et al.

18:04 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the science of why cats love catnip, and the struggle to identify what the mysterious celestial object StDr 56 actually is.

Science: Why cats are crazy for catnip

Syfy Wire: So what the heck is StDr 56?

Covid-19: ‘The Rise Of The RNA Vaccines’ (Podcast)

Benjamin Thompson, Noah Baker and Elie Dolgin discuss RNA vaccines.

In this episode:

01:16 How RNA vaccines came to prominence

In less than a year, two RNA vaccines against COVID-19 were designed, tested and rolled out across the world. We discuss these vaccines’ pros and cons, how RNA technology lends itself to rapid vaccine development, and what this means for the fight against other diseases.

News feature: How COVID unlocked the power of RNA vaccines

09:20 The hurdles for trialling new COVID-19 vaccines

Multiple candidates for new COVID-19 vaccines are still being developed, which may offer advantages over the vaccines currently available. However, running placebo-controlled trials of these candidates is becoming increasingly difficult, so researchers are looking for different ways to evaluate them.

News: Search for better COVID vaccines confounded by existing rollouts

14:45 How long will COVID vaccines be effective?

There is much concern around the world about two faster-spreading variants of SARS-CoV-2. We get an update on whether these variants could render vaccines ineffective.

News: Could new COVID variants undermine vaccines? Labs scramble to find out

Science Podcast: Shallow Pool Origins For Life On Earth, ‘Covidization’

How water chemistry is shifting researchers’ thoughts on where life might have arisen, and a new model to tackle climate change equitably and economically.

In this episode:

00:46 A shallow start to life on Earth?

It’s long been thought that life on Earth first appeared in the oceans. However, the chemical complexities involved in creating biopolymers in water has led some scientists to speculate that shallow pools on land were actually the most likely location for early life.

News Feature: How the first life on Earth survived its biggest threat — water

07:44 Coronapod

The COVID-19 pandemic has massively shifted the scientific landscape, changing research and funding priorities across the world. While this shift was necessary for the development of things like vaccines, there are concerns that the ‘covidization’ of research could have long-term impacts on other areas of research.

News: Scientists fear that ‘covidization’ is distorting research

20:45 Research Highlights

The Hayabusa2 mission successfully delivers a tiny cargo of asteroid material back to Earth, and a team in China claims to have made the first definitive demonstration of computational ‘quantum advantage’.

Nature News: Physicists in China challenge Google’s ‘quantum advantage’

22:38 Calculating carbon

Limiting carbon emissions is essential to tackling climate change. However, working out how to do this in a way that is fair to nations worldwide is notoriously difficult. Now, researchers have developed a model that gives some surprising insights in how to equitably limit carbon.

Research Article: Bauer et al.

News and Views: Trade-offs for equitable climate policy assessed

29:08 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, bioluminescent Australian animals, and the collapse of the Arecibo telescope.

Science Podcast: World Leaders Release Plans to Protect World’s Oceans

This week, world leaders are announcing a series of pledges to protect and sustainably use the world’s oceans. The pledges form the crowning achievement of the ‘High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy’ a multinational group formed back in 2018. 

The panel has sought to bring together research, published in a number of so-called ‘blue papers’ and special reports by scientists, policy- and legal-experts from around the world – all with the ear of 14 participating world leaders.

Erna Solberg, the prime minister of Norway, co-led the Panel. In this podcast, she speaks with Springer Nature’s editor-in-chief Philip Campbell about the panel’s work.

The ocean in humanity’s future: read all of Nature‘s content on the Ocean Panel

World View: Science can boost ocean health and human prosperity

Science: CNO Neutrinos At The Sun’s Core, Covid-19 & Contraception (Podcast)

Scientists have finally confirmed the existence of a CNO cycle fusion reaction in the Sun, and why women’s contraception research needs a reboot.

In this episode:

00:47 Detection of CNO neutrinos

Since the 1930s it has been theorised that stars have a specific fusion reaction known as the CNO cycle, but proof has been elusive. Now, a collaboration in Italy report detection of neutrinos that show that the CNO cycle exists.

Research article: The Borexino Collaboration

News and Views: Neutrino detection gets to the core of the Sun

08:48 Coronapod

We discuss the search for the animal origin of SARS-CoV-2, with researchers raiding their freezer draws to see if any animals carry similar viruses, and the latest vaccine results.

News: Coronaviruses closely related to the pandemic virus discovered in Japan and Cambodia

News: Why Oxford’s positive COVID vaccine results are puzzling scientists

19:32 Research Highlights

How sleep patterns relate to ageing, and a solar-powered steam sterilizer.

Research Highlight: For better health, don’t sleep your age

Research Highlight: Technology for sterilizing medical instruments goes solar

21:50 Getting women’s contraception research unstuck

Since the 1960s there has been little progress on research into women’s contraceptives. This week in Nature, researchers argue that this needs to change.

Comment: Reboot contraceptives research — it has been stuck for decades

29:35 Briefing Chat

We discuss a highlight from the Nature Briefing. This time, a tool to summarise papers.

Nature News: tl;dr: this AI sums up research papers in a sentence

Science Podcasts: Radio Bursts In Milky Way, Covid-19 In Schools & Octopuses

Astronomers pin down the likely origins of mysterious fast radio bursts, Covid-19 in schools, octopuses taste with touch and the latest on what the US election means for science.

In this episode:

00:46 The origins of mysterious fast radio bursts

The detection of a brief but enormously-powerful radio burst originating from within the Milky Way could help researchers answer one of astronomy’s biggest mysteries.

Research article: Bochenek et al.News: Astronomers spot first fast radio burst in the Milky Way

07:59 Coronapod

At the start of the pandemic, there were fears that schools could become hotspots for infections. We discuss the evidence suggesting that this is unlikely to be the case, and the rates of infection in children of different ages.

News: Why schools probably aren’t COVID hotspots

18:34 Research Highlights

Octopuses taste with touch, and a tool to watch dangerously-reactive metals grow.

Research Highlight: How octopuses taste with their arms — all eight of themResearch Highlight: How to make violently reactive metals and watch them grow

21:28 An update on the US election

Although the winner of this year’s US election is unclear, we discuss the current situation and what it might mean for science.

28:58 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, ancient genomes reveal the migration of man’s best friend, and a new polio vaccine looks set to receive emergency approval.

News: Ancient dog DNA reveals 11,000 years of canine evolutionNews: New polio vaccine poised to get emergency WHO approval

New Science Podcast: Lab-Grown Mini Brains, Herd Immunity & Bat Dinosaurs

The chances of mini brains becoming sentient, herd immunity, bat-like dinosaurs, and a UK government decision threatens gender diversity in academia.

In this episode:

00:59 The ethics of creating consciousness

Brain organoids, created by culturing stem cells in a petri dish, are a mainstay of neuroscience research. But as these mini-brains become more complex, is there the chance they could become conscious, and if so, how could we tell?

News Feature: Can lab-grown brains become conscious?

09:01 Coronapod

So called ‘herd immunity’ is claimed by some as a way to break the chain of infection and curtail the pandemic. However epidemiologists say that this course of action is ineffective and will lead to large numbers of infections and deaths.

News Explainer: The false promise of herd immunity for COVID-19

20:59 Research Highlights

Volcanic ash degrades ancient art in Pompeii, and the aerial ineptitude of two bat-like dinosaurs.

Research Highlight: The volcanic debris that buried Pompeii wreaks further destruction; Research Highlight: A dead end on the way to the sky

23:22 How cutting red-tape could harm gender diversity in UK academia

The Athena SWAN scheme, designed to boost gender-equality in UK academia, has proved effective, and has been exported to countries around the world. But now a decision by the UK government to cut bureaucracy could mean that institutions pay less heed to schemes like this and threaten future efforts to increase gender diversity in UK academia.

Editorial: Equality and diversity efforts do not ‘burden’ research — no matter what the UK government says

31:00 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, oncologists discover a potential new human organ, and how re-examined fossils have given new insights into the size of baby tyrannosaurs.