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Nature Podcast


The Nature Podcast brings you the best stories from the world of science each week. We cover everything from astronomy to zoology, highlighting the most exciting research from each issue of Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and providing in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors.

The Nature Podcast brings you the best stories from the world of science each week. We cover everything from astronomy to zoology, highlighting the most exciting research from each issue of Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and providing in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors.


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The Nature Podcast brings you the best stories from the world of science each week. We cover everything from astronomy to zoology, highlighting the most exciting research from each issue of Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and providing in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors.




Coronapod: COVID death toll is likely millions more than official counts

As of January 2022, the WHO reports that 5.5 million people have lost their lives to the pandemic. However, many research groups suggests that this number is likely to be a significant underestimate, although it is hard to be certain as counting mortality across the world is an exceptionally difficult task. In this episode of Coronapod we ask why, and delve into the range of approaches scientists are taking to try to get to the bottom of the sticky problem - from excess death counts, to...


Why mutation is not as random as we thought

Challenging the dogma of gene evolution, and how chiral nanoparticles could give vaccines a boost. In this episode: 00:45 Genome mutations may be less random than previously thought A long-standing doctrine in evolution is that mutations can arise anywhere in a genome with equal probability. However, new research is challenging this idea of randomness, showing that mutations in the genome of the plant Arabidosis thaliana appear to happen less frequently in important regions of the...


Podcast Extra: Recreating the lost sounds of spring

As our environments change, so too do the sounds they make — and this change in soundscape can affect us in a whole host of ways, from our wellbeing to the way we think about conservation. In this Podcast Extra we hear from one researcher, Simon Butler, who is combining citizen science data with technology to recreate soundscapes lost to the past. Butler hopes to better understand how soundscapes change in response to changes in the environment, and use this to look forward to the...


Webb Space Telescope makes history after tense launch

In this episode of the Nature Podcast, we catch up on the biggest science stories from the holiday period by diving into the Nature Briefing. We’ll hear about: the latest manoeuveres from the James Webb Space Telescope; a new fossil dubbed “one of the greatest finds in British palaeontological history”; the verdicts in the trials of Charles Lieber and Elizabeth Holmes; and a goldfish that can drive a tank. News: Landmark Webb observatory is now officially a telescope Nature Video: Hubble...


Science in 2022: what to expect this year

In this episode, Nature reporter Davide Castelvecchi joins us to talk about the big science events to look out for in 2022. We'll hear about vaccines, multiple Moon missions, the push to save biodiversity, and more. News: The science events to watch for in 2022 See for privacy and opt-out information.


Audio long-read: The secret lives of cells — as never seen before

Cutting-edge microscopy techniques are letting researchers visualize biological molecules within cells, rather than studying them in isolation. This approach is providing new insights into how these molecules interact in this complex environment. This is an audio version of our feature: The secret lives of cells — as never seen before See for privacy and opt-out information.


Our podcast highlights of 2021

The Nature Podcast team select some of their favourite stories from the past 12 months. In this episode: 00:51 A brain interface to type out thoughts In May, we heard about a brain-computer interface that is able to read brain signals from people thinking about handwriting, and translate them into on-screen text. The team behind it hope this technology could be used to help people with paralysis to communicate quicker than before. Nature Podcast: 12 May 2021 Research Article: Willett et...


The Nature Podcast annual holiday spectacular

Games, seasonal science songs, and Nature’s 10. 01:12 "Oh powered flight" In the first of our festive songs, We pay tribute to NASA's Ingenuity craft - which took the first powered flight on another planet earlier this year. Lyrics by Noah Baker and performed by The Simon Langton School choir, directed by Emily Renshaw-Kidd. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the lyrics. Video: Flying a helicopter on Mars: NASA's Ingenuity News: Lift off! First flight on Mars launches new way to...


Coronapod: Omicron - your questions answered

Several weeks after the Omicron variant was first identified, it has quickly spread across the world. Early data are showing clear signals that the latest variant of concern is able to evade immunity and spread at a rate faster than any other variant to date. But many questions remain unanswered about the severity of infection, the protection afforded by natural and vaccine-derived immunity, and the impact Omicron could have on the global pandemic response. In this episode, we delve into the...


Pluto's strange ice patterns explained by new theory

An explanation for giant ice structures on Pluto, and dismantling the mestizo myth in Latin American genetics. In this episode: 00:46 The frozen root of Pluto’s polygonal patterns In 2015, NASA’s New Horizons probe sent back some intriguing images of Pluto. Huge polygonal patterns could be seen on the surface of a nitrogen-ice ice filled basin known as Sputnik Planitia. This week, a team put forward a new theory to explain these perplexing patterns. Research article: Morison et...


Coronapod: vaccines and long COVID, how protected are you?

Vaccines significantly reduce the risk of developing COVID-19, but scientists are now asking what effect the vaccines might have on long COVID. Long COVID is a somewhat ill-defined, but common, syndrome that can arise from even mild cases of COVID19 - with symptoms ranging from chronic fatigue to breathing difficulties and even neurological deficiency. But little is known about what triggers long COVID, or how to prevent it. As public health experts consider protection measures, the role of...


How 'megastudies' are changing behavioural science

Speeding up comparisons of behavioural interventions, and what to expect from the James Webb Space Telescope. In this episode: 00:45 Identifying effective interventions with a 'megastudy' Comparing single behavioural interventions and identifying which is most effective can be difficult and time consuming, hampering policy-making decisions. This week, a team demonstrate a ‘megastudy’, which allows researchers to compare multiple interventions within the same group of people. Research...


Coronapod: How has COVID impacted mental health?

Studying mental health in populations is not a simple task, but as the pandemic has continued, mounting concerns have mobilised researchers. Now, researchers have used data from helplines in 20 countries to assess the impacts that COVID, as well as associated political and public health measures like financial assistance programs and lockdowns, have had on mental health. Contrary to expectations, loneliness and concerns about the impacts of the pandemic drove most of the callers, rather...


What’s the best diet for people and the planet?

Designing a nutritious and planet-friendly diet, and an AI that guides mathematicians. In this episode: 00:46 Designing a healthy diet for the planet Researchers are trying to develop diets that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time providing nutrition. Some of these sustainable diets are now being tested to see if they work in local contexts without damaging livelihoods. Feature: What humanity should eat to stay healthy and save the planet 08:24 Research...


Audio long-read: The chase for fusion energy

A host of private companies are promising commercial fusion reactors in the next decade. After decades of promise, it finally seems that nuclear fusion is approaching commercial viability. Companies around the world are securing huge amounts of funding, and advances in materials research and computing are enabling technologies other than the standard designs to be pursued. This is an audio version of our feature: The chase for fusion energy See for privacy and opt-out...


Coronapod: everything we know about the new COVID variant

In a quickly developing story a new variant, first detected in Botswana, is triggering rapid action among researchers. The variant - currently named B.1.1.529 has more than 30 changes to the spike protein - and the concern is that these mutations may result in increased transmissibility, severity of disease or even antibody evasion. In this episode of Coronapod, we discuss what we know so far, how scientists are searching for answers and what this could mean for the pandemic. News: Heavily...


Researcher careers under the microscope: salary satisfaction and COVID impacts

The Nature salary and satisfaction survey reveals researchers' outlook, and NASA’s test of planetary defences. In this episode: 00:45 Salary and satisfaction survey Like all aspects of life, scientific careers have been impacted by the pandemic. To get an insight into how researchers are feeling, Nature has conducted a salary and satisfaction survey. We hear from some of the respondents. Careers Feature: Stagnating salaries present hurdles to career satisfaction 09:07 Research...


Sea squirts teach new lessons in evolution

Spineless sea squirts shed light on vertebrate evolution, and an iodine-fuelled engine powering a satellite in space. In this episode: 00:45 A story of sea squirts, ancient vertebrates and missing genes When a PhD student set out to study the developmental pathways of a strange sea creature, he hoped to shed light on the origins of vertebrate animals. Instead, researchers found themselves investigating a strange case of missing genes. We hear why gene loss could be a more significant...


Coronapod: new hope from COVID antiviral drugs

Two new anti-viral pills have been shown to be safe and effective against COVID in clinical trials, according to recent press releases. The drugs, molnupiravir, developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, and Paxlovid, developed by Pfizer both appear to significantly reduce hospitalisation in people with early COVID. Some researchers are quietly hopeful that these new weapons in the anti-COVID arsenal could have a big impact, in particular in parts of the world where vaccines are still...


The past and future of the Earth's climate

Reassessing 24,000 years of global temperatures, and on the ground at COP26. In this episode: 01:21 Reassessing Earth’s climate over the past 24,000 years The ~20,000 year period from the Last Glacial Maximum to the pre-industrial era saw huge changes to the Earth’s climate. But characterising how temperatures changed during this time has been difficult, with different methods producing different results. Now, a team have combined two techniques, which they hope will provide new insights...