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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.




The floating sensors inspired by seeds

How tiny seed-like sensors could monitor the environment, and the latest from the Nature Briefing. In this episode: 00:45 Spinning seeds inspire floating electronics Researchers have developed miniature electronic-chips with wings that fall like seeds, which could be a new way to monitor the environment. Research article: Kim et al. Video: Seed-inspired spinners ride the wind and monitor the atmosphere 06:02 Research Highlights How humans can adjust to an energy-efficient walking pace...


How to help feed the world with 'Blue Foods'

How aquatic foods could help tackle world hunger, and how Australian wildfires spurred phytoplankton growth in the Southern Ocean. In this episode: 00:45 The role of aquatic food in tackling hunger Ahead of the UN’s Food Systems Summit, Nature journals are publishing research from the Blue Food Assessment, looking at how aquatic foods could help feed the world's population in a healthy, sustainable and equitable way. We speak to Ismahane Elouafi, Chief Scientist at the Food and...


The billion years missing from Earth’s history

A new theory to explain missing geological time, the end of leaded petrol, and the ancient humans of Arabia. In this episode: 00:29 Unpicking the Great Unconformity For more than 150 years, geologists have been aware of ‘missing’ layers of rock from the Earth’s geological record. Up to one billion years appear to have been erased in what’s known as the Great Unconformity. Many theories to explain this have been proposed, and now a new one suggests that the Great Unconformity may have in...


Dead trees play an under-appreciated role in climate change

How insects help release carbon stored in forests, and the upcoming biodiversity summit COP 15. In this episode: 00:44 Fungi, insects, dead trees and the carbon cycle Across the world forests play a huge role in the carbon cycle, removing huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But when those trees die, some of that carbon goes back into the air. A new project studies how fast dead wood breaks down in different conditions, and the important role played by insects. Research...


Audio long-read: why sports concussions are worse for women

As women’s soccer, rugby and other sports gain in popularity a growing body of evidence suggests that female athletes are at a greater risk of traumatic brain injury than men - what's more they tend to fare worse after a concussion and take longer to recover. Now researchers are racing to get to the bottom of why and ask how treatment might need to change. This is an audio version of our feature: Why sports concussions are worse for women See for privacy and opt-out...


Coronapod: How Delta is changing the game

Delta has quickly become the dominant COVID variant in many countries across the world, in this episode we ask why. Over the past few weeks, a slew of studies have started to shed more light on how the Delta variant differs from its cousins and even the mechanisms behind its rampant spread. We dig into studies on the epidemiology and molecular biology of Delta to ask some key questions surrounding its transmissibility, lethality and what all this might mean for vaccine roll outs. News: The...


What’s the isiZulu for dinosaur? How science neglected African languages

A team is creating bespoke words for scientific terms in African languages, and the sustainability of the electric car boom. 00:46 Creating new words for scientific terms Many words that are common to science have never been written in some African languages, or speakers struggle to agree what the right term is. Now a new project aims to change that, by translating 180 research papers into six languages spoken by millions of people across the continent of Africa. News: African languages...


Coronapod: COVID boosters amidst global vaccine inequity

Several wealthy nations have announced plans to give third vaccine doses in a bid to help increase the protection of their most vulnerable citizens - but the science is not clear on whether this strategy will be effective or indeed necessary. Meanwhile with limited vaccine supplies - billions around the world still have no access to vaccines at all. In this episode of Coronapod we discuss the science of boosters, the stark reality of vaccine disparity and what this means for the future of...


The brain cells that help animals navigate in 3D

Researchers uncover how grid cells fire in a 3D space to help bats navigate, and a fabric that switches between being stiff and flexible. In this episode: 00:47 Mapping a bat’s navigation neurons in 3D Grid cells are neurons that regularly fire as an animal moves through space, creating a pattern of activity that aids navigation. But much of our understanding of how grid cells work has involved rats moving in a 2D plane. To figure out how the system works in a 3D space, researchers have...


Coronapod: Ivermectin, what the science says

Ivermectin is a cheap, widely available, anti-parasitic drug that has been proposed by many as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Dozens of trials have been started, but results have been far from clear, with inconsistent results further confused by high profile paper retractions. Nonetheless many countries have recommended the use of Ivermectin, despite WHO advice to the contrary. Now a group of researchers have found suspect data in another influential paper which claimed a Ivermectin...


Flood risk rises as people surge into vulnerable regions

Satellite imaging has shown population increases are 10x higher in flood prone areas than previously thought, and a new way to introduce fairness into a democratic process. In this episode: 00:47 Calculating how many people are at risk of floods. Researchers have used satellite imagery to estimate the number of people living in flood-prone regions. They suggest that the percentage of people exposed to floods has increased 10 times more than previously thought, and with climate change that...


Has the world’s oldest known animal been discovered?

Researchers debate whether an ancient fossil is the oldest animal yet discovered, and a new way to eavesdrop on glaciers. In this episode: 01:04 Early sponge This week in Nature, a researcher claims to have found a fossil sponge from 890-million-years-ago. If confirmed, this would be more than 300-million-years older than the earliest uncontested animal fossils but not all palaeontologists are convinced. Research Article: Turner 10:13 Research Highlights A caffeine buzz appears to...


Audio long-read: How ancient people fell in love with bread, beer and other carbs

Archaeological evidence shows that ancient people ate carbs, long before domesticated crops. While the idea that early humans subsisted mainly on meat persists, archaeologists are increasingly understanding that ancient people have actually long been in love with carbs, even before the advent of agriculture. This is an audio version of our feature: How ancient people fell in love with bread, beer and other carbs See for privacy and opt-out information.


Coronapod: the latest on COVID and sporting events

Early in 2021 the United Kingdom, along with several other countries, allowed mass gatherings as part of a series of controlled studies aimed at better understanding the role events could play in the pandemic. The goal was to inform policy - however early results have provided limited data on viral transmission. As the Olympic games kick off in Tokyo, we delve into the research, asking what the limitations have been, if more data will become available and whether policy makers are likely to...


How the US is rebooting gun violence research

Funding for gun violence research in the US returns after a 20-year federal hiatus, and the glass sponges that can manipulate ocean currents. In this episode: 00:45 Gun violence research is rebooted For 20 years there has been no federally-funded research on gun violence in the US. In 2019, $25 million a year was allocated for this work. We speak to some of the researchers that are using these funds, and the questions they are trying to answer about gun violence. News Feature: Gun...


Coronapod: Does England's COVID strategy risk breeding deadly variants?

The UK government has announced that virtually all COVID restrictions will be removed in England on Monday 18th July. This will do away with social distancing requirements, allow businesses to re-open to full capacity and remove legal mask mandates. This decision comes, however, amidst soaring infections rates in the country, driven by the delta variant. Now scientists are questioning the wisdom of this policy and asking whether the combination of high transmission and a partially...


How deadly heat waves expose historic racism

Why heat waves disproportionately impact minorities in US cities, and the researcher that critiqued his whole career on Twitter. In this episode: 00:45 How heat waves kill unequally Researchers are beginning to unpick how historic discrimination in city planning is making the recent heat waves in North America more deadly for some than others. News Feature: Racism is magnifying the deadly impact of rising city heat 11:59 Research Highlights A graphene layer can protect paintings from...


Coronapod: Will COVID become a disease of the young?

For much of the pandemic, the greatest burden of disease has been felt by older generations. But now, for the first time, vaccine roll outs are starting to skew the average age of those infections towards the young. This has led many researchers to ask what this might mean for the future of the pandemic. In this episode of Coronapod we discuss what we know and what we don't know about this change in the demographic profile of COVID infections. We ask how this might impact global vaccination...


Food shocks and how to avoid them

Addressing the problem of sudden food scarcity in US cities, and the up-and-coming field of computational social science. In this episode: 00:45 Food shocks Climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and geopolitical crises can cause food shortages. To tackle this issue, Alfonso Mejia and colleagues have modelled how to best mitigate these food shocks in US cities. Alfonso tells us about the new analyses and what steps cities could take in the future. Research Article: Gomez et al. News...


Coronapod: the biomarker that could change COVID vaccines

Since the beginning oft he pandemic, researchers have searched for a biomarker which indicates immune protection from COVID-19 known as a correlate of protection. Now, the team developing the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have published the first results of their so-called 'breakthrough study' which indicated puts forwards thresholds of neutralising antibodies that they suggest correlate with protection. The hope is that, should these results be confirmed, such biomarkers could speed...