Tag Archives: New Scientist Podcasts

Science: Future Of Energy, Amazon Rainforest, CRISPR

The war in Ukraine has sparked an energy crisis, as European countries attempt to cut ties with Russia. The team discusses what this means for the future of energy production and how it may speed up our pivot to renewable energy. They also explore the growing concerns at various nuclear sites in Ukraine, as some have been seized by the Russians, while others have been damaged during the conflict.

For the first time a virgin birth has taken place in a mammal – a female mouse has given birth without any input from a male. The team explains how CRISPR gene editing has been used to create embryos from unfertilised eggs.

As the Amazon rainforest becomes less resilient to drought, there are fears it may be passing a tipping point that could turn the whole system from forest into savannah. Earth system scientist Tim Lenton of the University of Exeter explains the devastating global impact this would have.

Taking a much-needed trip off the planet, the team discusses two stories from Mars, one from NASA’s Perseverance rover and another from China’s Zhurong rover. We also present an audio space-quiz you can take part in! Thanks to NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/CNRS/ISAE-Supaéro for the audio clips. 

And legendary cosmologist Martin Rees shares his thoughts on the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence in the universe and the fascinating concept of ‘secular’ intelligent design.

On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Matt Sparkes, Adam Vaughan and Richard Webb. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.

Science: Nuclear War Threat, Climate Change, Coronavirus Origins

As the war in Ukraine intensifies, Vladimir Putin raised Russia’s nuclear readiness level. The team discusses what this means about the likelihood of nuclear war. They also explore the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the country.

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is out, and it focuses on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. We hear from Swenja Surminski, head of adaptation research at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

New studies into the start of the coronavirus pandemic are confirming what we’ve long suspected – that the virus originated at the Huanan food market in Wuhan. The team discusses the latest findings.

Moles – the animals that make holes in your lawn – are non-binary. Just one of a number of amazing facts to come out of the new book ‘BITCH: A Revolutionary Guide to Sex, Evolution & the Female Animal’. Hear from the author Lucy Cooke, who is challenging the sexist basis of much of the thinking about female animals. 

Stonehenge may have been built as a giant calendar. Though the claim itself isn’t new, the team explores a new theory from the archaeologist Tim Darvill which explains how it would’ve worked.

Science: Saving Children From Cancer, Greenhouse Gases, SpaceX Missions

Children with some of the most aggressive forms of cancer are being saved by a personalised medicine treatment programme in Australia. The Zero Childhood Cancer Program has saved more than 150 children who would’ve otherwise died. The team shares a moving interview with one of the parents. 

Lichens evolve even more slowly than you might think. The team examines new research into the abundant Trebouxia genus of lichen which appears to take around a million years to adapt to changing climate conditions.

Enhanced weathering – using ground-up rocks to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere – is one of a number of technological carbon capture solutions being tested to try and mitigate against global warming. The team speaks to Professor David Beerling of the University of Sheffield, one of the scientists in the UK leading the development of this technique.

SpaceX has a suite of three missions planned to launch in its Polaris programme. The first aims to take its Dragon crew capsule higher into orbit than anyone has flown since the Apollo moon missions. The team shares what we know so far.

And they find out whether adult human brains can actually grow new neurons. Spoiler: it doesn’t look good.

Science: Brain Cells Wired To The Matrix, DeepMind Search Engine, Omicron

In a step towards creating intelligent cyborg brains, Cortical Labs in Melbourne have trained lab-grown brain organoids to play a classic 1970s video game. The team explains how the brain cells live in a Matrix-like, simulated world, where all they know is Pong. 

And there’s more AI news, as the team digs into DeepMind’s invention of a ‘search engine’ style supercomputer, one much smaller than its competitors. The team discusses sleep, and how manipulating the hypnagogic phase of sleep can lead to bursts of creativity. As the holiday season approaches, Omicron shows no signs of letting up, so the team brings you up to speed on what we know so far. And they bring two bird related stories, one about the superpowers of zebra finches and the other about the link between personality types and feather colours in turkeys. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page, Clare Wilson and Matt Sparkes. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.

Science: New Scientist Weekly Podcast – DEC 2

Science: Race-Based Medicine, Space Tourism & Western U.S. Heatwave

Race-based medical practises are being challenged more and more, as it becomes increasingly clear they have little basis in science. 

The team finds out why adjustments for race and ethnicity are still being made in medicine, despite the potential harm and healthcare implications they cause. It’s been a massive week for the future of space tourism – the team shares a clip of a very excited Richard Branson who’s recent journey into microgravity has set the stage for the launch of Virgin Galactic’s first commercial space flights. The team gives an update on the dramatic heatwave ravaging the US, as more record high temperatures are set, continuing to leave destruction in its wake. They also explain what ‘impact gardening’ is and why it might help us find alien life on Jupiter’s moon Europa, and they share important news on the state of the cosmetics industry in Neolithic times. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, and Layal Liverpool.