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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.


United States


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 science behind an 'uncrushable' beetle’s exoskeleton

The structure of a beetle’s super-strong exoskeleton could open up new engineering applications, and efforts to address diversity and equality imbalances in academia. In this episode: 01:17 Insights into an armoured insect The diabolical ironclad beetle has an exoskeleton so strong, it can survive being run over by a car. Researchers have identified how the structure of the exoskeleton provides this strength, and show that mimicking it may lead to improved aerospace components. Research...


Superconductivity gets heated

A high pressure experiment reveals the world’s first room-temperature superconductor, and a method to target ecosystem restoration. In this episode: 00:44 Room-temperature superconductivity For decades, scientists have been searching for a material that superconducts at room temperature. This week, researchers show a material that appears to do so, but only under pressures close to those at the centre of the planet. Research Article: Snider et al.; News: First room-temperature...


Audio long-read: What animals really think

Researchers are aligning data on animal neuronal activity with behavioural information recorded on millisecond timescales, to uncover the signatures of internal brain states associated with things like moods and motivation. This is an audio version of our feature: Inside the mind of an animal See for privacy and opt-out information.


Trump vs. Biden: what's at stake for science?

A conversation about the US election and the possible fallout for science, and are maternal behaviours learned or innate? In this episode: 00:46 US election In the United States the presidential race is underway, and Nature is closely watching to see what might happen for science. We speak to two of our US based reporters to get their insight on the election and what to look out for. News Feature: A four-year timeline of Trump’s impact on science; News Feature: How Trump damaged science —...


Greenland's ice will melt faster than any time in the past 12,000 years

How current and future ice loss in Greenland compares to the past, and using graphene to make ultra-sensitive radiation detectors. In this episode: 00:45 Greenland’s historic ice loss Climate change is accelerating the loss of ice and glaciers around the world leading to unprecedented levels of disappearance. Researchers have drilled samples from deep in the Greenland ice sheet, to model how current, and future, losses compare to those seen in the last 12,000 years. Research Article:...


After decades of trying, scientists coax plastic particles into a diamond-like structure

Coaxing tiny colloid particles into a diamond structure, and manipulating cell death and homeostasis in neurodegenerative disease. In this episode: 00:45 Creating colloidal crystals For decades, researchers have attempted to create crystals with a diamond-like structure using tiny colloid particles. Now, a team thinks they’ve cracked it, which could open the door for new optical technologies. Research Article: He et al. 07:50 Coronapod Rapid antigen tests for coronavirus have been...


Genes chart Vikings' spread across Europe

Mapping the migration of the Vikings, and the world’s smallest ultrasound device. In this episode: 00:45 Following the Viking footprint across Europe To better understand who the Vikings were, and where they went, researchers have mapped genomes from hundreds of archaeological artifacts. Research Article: Margaryan et al. 08:00 Coronapod Phase III trials of a leading coronavirus vaccine were abruptly paused last week – we discuss how news of the event leaked out, and the arguments for...


A new way to cool computer chips — from within

Keeping electronics from overheating, and how to include minority populations in genetic analyses. In this episode: 00:46 Cool computers Keeping components cool is a major hurdle when it comes to increasing electronic power. This week, we find out about a new way to integrate tiny microfluidic channels directly into circuits, to help keep them cool. Research Article: van Erp et al. 06:57 Coronapod By comparing coronavirus genomes taken from people around the world, researchers are...


Revealed: A clearer view of how general anaesthetics actually work

Engineering yeast to produce medicines, and the mechanism of anaesthetic action. In this episode: 00:44 Making medicine with yeast The tropane alkaloids are an important class of medicine, but they are produced agriculturally leaving them vulnerable to extreme weather and world events. Now, researchers have engineered yeast to produce these important molecules. Research Article: Srinivasan and Smolke 06:36 Coronapod We discuss the complex story of immunity to COVID-19, and how this may...


The challenge of reproducing results from ten-year-old code

Protecting delicate quantum bits, and a competition to replicate findings from ancient computer code. In this episode: 01:04 Quantum computers vs ionizing radiation The quantum bits, or ‘qubits’, central to the operation of quantum computers are notoriously sensitive. Now, researchers have assessed the damaging effects that ionizing radiation can have on these qubits and what can be done about it. Research Article: Vepsäläinen et al. 08:15 Coronapod We discuss the US Food and Drug...


3D-printing some of the world's lightest materials

A new way to produce aerogels opens up their use, and understanding how sulfur can change state between two liquids. In this episode: 01:05 Printing aerogels Aerogels are materials with impressive insulating properties, but they’re difficult to handle, due to their innate fragility. Now, researchers have shown a new way to 3D print the most common form of aerogel, opening up a range of potential new applications. Research Article: Zhao et al. 07:00 Coronapod To provide targeted public...


The chemical that turns locusts from Jekyll into Hyde

Triggering swarming behaviour in locusts, and new insights into how humans synchronize. In this episode: 01:56 Understanding swarming behaviour Swarms of migratory locusts regularly devastate crops across the world, but why these swarms form has been a mystery. Now, a team of researchers have identified a compound that causes solitary locusts to come together in their billions - a finding that could have practical applications for preventing this behaviour. Research article: Guo et al.;...


Audio long-read: Pluto’s dark side is overflowing with secrets

In 2015, after a nine-and-a-half-year journey, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft raced past Pluto, beaming images of the dwarf planet back to Earth. Five years after the mission, researchers are poring over images of Pluto’s far-side, which was shrouded in shadow during New Horizon’s flypast. They hope that these images will help give a better understanding of how Pluto was born and even whether a hidden ocean resides beneath the world’s icy crust. This is an audio version of our feature:...


Why skin grows bigger as you stretch it

Skin's unusual response to stretching is finally explained, and the latest in a huge effort to map DNA. In this episode: 01:06 Stretching skin For decades it’s been known that stretching skin causes more skin to grow, but the reasons why have been a mystery. Now, researchers have uncovered a mechanism to explain the phenomenon. Research Article: Aragona et al.; News and Views: Stretch exercises for stem cells expand the skin 07:49 Coronapod We discuss how the coronavirus pandemic has...


When did people arrive in the Americas? New evidence stokes debate

New evidence may push back the date on human arrival to the Americas, and an examination of science’s flaws. In this episode: 00:59 Ancient Americans Two papers suggest that humans were present in the Americas thousands of years before many people have thought. We examine the evidence. Research Article: Ardelean et al.; Research Article: Becerra-Valdivia and Higham; News and Views: Evidence grows that peopling of the Americas began more than 20,000 years ago 10:44 Coronapod We discuss...


Graphene’s magic angle reveals a new twist

Probing the superconducting properties of graphene and bacteria that can use manganese to grow. 01:15 Magic angle graphene If you sandwich two sheets of graphene together and twist one in just the right way, it can gain some superconducting properties. Now, physicists have added another material to this sandwich which stabilises that superconductivity, a result that may complicate physicists’ understanding of magic angles. Research Article: Arora et al. 08:22 Coronapod With evidence...


Coronapod: Massive coronavirus outbreak strikes iconic Californian prison after it rejected expert aid

In this episode: 01:47 Disaster in San Quentin San Quentin prison is facing a massive outbreak, we dig into how they got there. The crisis has arisen despite warnings from experts, and offers of free tests, which were declined. We ask why? And what can be done now? News: California's San Quentin prison declined free coronavirus tests and urgent advice — now it has a massive outbreak 29:51 One good thing For the last episode of Coronapod, our hosts pick out ways that the pandemic has...


The six-year-old space agency with hopes for Mars

On this week’s podcast, an ambitious Mars mission from a young space agency, and how crumbling up rocks could help fight climate change. In this episode: 00:46 Mars hopes In a few weeks the UAE’s first mission to Mars is due to launch. We speak to the mission leads to learn about the aims of the project, and how they developed the mission in under six years. News Feature: How a small Arab nation built a Mars mission from scratch in six years; News Feature: Countdown to Mars: three daring...


Coronapod: Lessons from pandemic ‘war-game’ simulations

Next week, we’ll be wrapping up Coronapod in its current form. Please fill out our short survey to let us know your thoughts on the show. In this episode: 02:15 Simulating pandemics Researchers have run numerous military-style simulations to predict the consequences of fictitious viral outbreaks. We discuss how these simulations work, what recommendations come out of them and if any of these warnings have been heeded. 24:08 One good thing Our hosts pick out things that have made them...


What the atomic structure of enamel tells us about tooth decay

On this week’s podcast, how the molecular structure of tooth enamel may impact decay, and a mysterious planetary core from a half-formed gas giant. In this episode: 00:46 Unravelling tooth enamel Researchers have been looking into the structure and composition of enamel in an effort to better understand tooth decay. Research Article: DeRocher et al. 07:02 Research Highlights An adhesive patch to help heal heart-attacks, and a new technique to inspect the structure of 2D ‘wonder...