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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.




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...


Audio long-read: How dangerous is Africa’s explosive Lake Kivu?

Lake Kivu, nestled between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, is a geological anomaly that holds 300 cubic kilometres of dissolved carbon dioxide and 60 cubic kilometres of methane. The lake has the potential to explosively release these gases, which could fill the surrounding valley, potentially killing millions of people. Researchers are trying to establish the likelihood of such an event happening, and the best way to safely siphon the gases from the lake. This is an...


Podcast special: onboard the climate train to COP26

Last weekend, hundreds of young people boarded a specially chartered train in Amsterdam to travel to Glasgow ahead of the United Nations COP26 climate summit. Among them were scientists, activists and policy makers. In a Nature Podcast special, we boarded the train to catch up with some of them - to talk about their science, their motivations and their message. News: All aboard the climate train! Scientists join activists for COP26 trip Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily...


China’s COVID vaccines have been crucial — now immunity is waning

More that 3 billions doses of China's CoronaVac and Sinopharm vaccines have been administered across the globe, playing an especially important role in Latin America and South East Asia, as well as China. These vaccines use inactivated virus particles to expose the immune system to Sars-CoV-2, but they do not appear to generate the same levels of neutralising antibodies as other vaccine platforms such as those based on mRNA. Now studies are suggesting that this protection may be waning more...


Genomics unwraps mystery of the Tarim mummies

The unexpected origins of a 4000-year-old people, protecting your ‘digital presence’ and what to expect from COP26. In this episode: 00:48 The origins of the mysterious Tarim mummies For decades there has been debate about the origins of a group of 4000-year-old individuals known as the Tarim Basin mummies. Their distinct appearance and clothing has prompted scientists to hypothesise they had migrated from the North or West. Now, a team of researchers have used modern genomics to shed new...


Coronapod: can scientists harness COVID super-immunity?

People that have recovered from COVID are seeing stronger immune responses after vaccination than those that never contracted the virus. Researchers are now racing to unpick what is behind this powerful 'hybrid immunity'. In this episode of Coronapod, we discuss a series of studies which are offering up some possibile explanations, and ask how this might inform publish health policy in the future. News: COVID super-immunity: one of the pandemic’s great puzzles Subscribe to Nature Briefing,...


Viking presence in the Americas pinpointed by ancient solar storm

An ancient solar storm helps pinpoint when Vikings lived in the Americas, and using magnets to deftly move non-magnetic metals. In this episode: 00:53 Pinpointing Viking presence in North America It’s well-understood that Vikings went to North America around a thousand years ago. However, working out a precise date has proven difficult. Now, thanks to an ancient solar storm, researchers have been able to identify an individual year when Vikings were definitely living on the...


Coronapod: the COVID scientists facing violent threats

Hundreds of scientists have responded to a survey asking about harassment and abuse during the pandemic. The results paint a picture which is as concerning as it is shocking. In this episode of Coronapod we discuss the kinds of abuse scientists are facing, try to pick apart where it is comes from and ask what can be done about it? News Feature: ‘I hope you die’: how the COVID pandemic unleashed attacks on scientists Careers feature: Real-life stories of online harassment — and how...


How electric acupuncture zaps inflammation in mice

The neurons behind acupuncture’s effect on inflammation, and how antibiotics affect gut bacteria. In this episode: 00:54 The neuronal basis for acupuncture’s effect on inflammation In mice, electroacupuncture has been shown to reduce inflammation, but only when certain points on the body are stimulated. Why this is has puzzled scientists, but now, researchers have identified the specific neurons that are involved. They hope that this knowledge could be used in future to help treat certain...


Coronapod: new data affirms the benefits of air filters and masks

New data suggests that inexpensive, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can effectively scrub SARS-CoV-2 particles from the air in hospital COVID wards. The result validates previous studies carried out in controlled conditions. Currently, HEPA filters are not routinely used in hospital settings, but researchers suggest they could could help mitigate the risk of tramission of airborne viruses. In addition a new study has demonstrated the effectiveness of mask wearing, with...


The AI that accurately predicts the chances of rain

AI weather forecasters, mapping the human brain and the 2021 science Nobel prizes. In this episode: 00:52 Improving the accuracy of weather forecasts with AI Short-term rain predictions are a significant challenge for meteorologists. Now, a team of researchers have come up with an artificial-intelligence based system that weather forecasters preferred to other prediction methods. Research article: Ravuri et al. 08:02 Research Highlights The vaping robot that could help explain why some...


Starting up in science: behind the scenes

Starting up in science: behind the scenes In this bonus episode, the four Nature reporters behind Starting up in science discuss how the project came about, what it was like to follow two scientists for three years, and what the series has achieved. See for privacy and opt-out information.


Starting up in science: Episode 4

Episode 4 Ali interviews for a critical grant. While she is waiting for the result, the pandemic throws their labs into chaos. Then comes a personal crisis. Read a written version of Starting up in science See for privacy and opt-out information.


Starting up in science: Episode 3

Episode 3 As newly-minted principal investigators, Ali and Dan have grand plans for their research – but science is slow, especially when other demands loom large: hiring staff, mentoring and teaching students and, of course, the race to secure funding. Read a written version of Starting up in science See for privacy and opt-out information.