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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 the Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and provide in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

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 the Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and provide in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


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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 the Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and provide in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.




Virtual library of LSD-like drugs could reveal new antidepressants

In this episode: 00:46 A virtual chemical library uncovers potential antidepressants Certain psychedelic drugs are of interest to researchers due to their promising antidepressant effects. To help speed up the discovery of molecules with useful properties, researchers have built a virtual library of 75 million compounds related to these drugs. This approach yielded two molecules that showed antidepressant properties in mice, but without the hallucinogenic activity of psychedelic...

Nature's Take: How the war in Ukraine is impacting science

The ongoing war in Ukraine has devastated the global economy, rocked geopolitics, killed thousands of people and displaced millions. Science too has been affected and the impacts on research are being felt more widely than just in Ukraine and Russia. In this episode of Nature's Takes we discuss the war's impact on publishing, international collaborations, climate change and energy, and the destructive impacts on scientists themselves. And as the war continues, we consider the future of...


Audio long read: What scientists have learnt from COVID lockdowns

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries introduced strict lockdowns to help prevent spread of the disease. Since then, researchers have been studying the effects of these measures to help inform responses to future crises. Conclusions suggest that countries that acted swiftly to bring in strict measures did best at preserving lives and their economies, but analysing the competing costs and benefits of lockdowns has been tough, as this work often comes down not to...


A trove of ancient fish fossils helps trace the origin of jaws

In this episode: 00:45 Piecing together the early history of jawed vertebrates A wealth of fossils discovered in southern China shed new light onto the diversity of jawed and jawless fish during the Silurian period, over 400 million years ago. Nature editor Henry Gee explains the finds and what they mean for the history of jawed vertebrates like us. Research article: Zhu et al. Research article: Gai et al. Research article: Andreev et al. Research article: Andreev et al. News and...


Huge dataset shows 80% of US professors come from just 20% of institutions

00:46 Inequalities in US faculty hiring In the US, where a person gained their PhD can have an outsized influence on their future career. Now, using a decade worth of data, researchers have shown there are stark inequalities in the hiring process, with 80% of US faculty trained at just 20% of institutions. Research article: Wapman et al. 09:01 Research Highlights How wildlife can influence chocolate production, and the large planets captured by huge stars. Research Highlight: A...


Complex synthetic cells bring scientists closer to artificial cellular life

00:46 Synthetic cells made from bacterial bits For years researchers have been interested in creating artificial cells, as they could be useful for manufacturing compounds and understanding how life works. Now a new method shows how this can be accomplished using polymer droplets that integrate components of burst bacteria. The synthesised cells are able to perform translation and transcription and have several features that resemble real cells, like a proto-nucleus and a...


Missing foot reveals world’s oldest amputation

00:46 Evidence of ancient surgery A skeleton with an amputated foot discovered in Borneo has been dated to 31,000 years ago, suggesting that complex surgery might be much older than previously thought. The person whose foot was removed survived the procedure, which the researchers behind the find say shows the ‘surgeon’ must have had detailed knowledge of anatomy, and likely had access to antiseptic compounds. Research article: Maloney et al. News and Views: A surgical dawn 31,000 years...


Audio long read: Hybrid brains – the ethics of transplanting human neurons into animals

The development of brain chimaeras – made up of human and animal neurons – is an area of research that has hugely expanded in the past five years. Proponents say that these systems are yielding important insights into health and disease, but others say the chimeras represent an ethical grey zone, because of the potential to blur the line between humans and other animals, or to recapitulate human-like cognition in an animal. This is an audio version of our Feature: Hybrid brains: the ethics...


How to make water that's full of holes

In this episode: 00:45 How adding pores helps water carry gas Although water is an excellent solvent, it’s limited in its ability to dissolve gasses. To overcome this a team have developed ‘porous water’ containing tiny cages that can hold large numbers of gas molecules. The team suggest that this technology could have multiple medical applications, including in the development of artificial blood. Research article: Erdosy et al. News and Views: Suspended pores boost gas solubility in...


Do protons have intrinsic charm? New evidence suggests yes

00:47 Evidence of a proton’s charm For decades, scientists have debated whether protons have ‘intrinsic charm’, meaning they contain elementary particles known as charm quarks. Now, using machine learning to comb through huge amounts of experimental data, a team have shown evidence that the charm quark can be found within a proton, which may have important ramifications in the search for new physics. Research article: The NNPDF Collaboration News and Views: Evidence at last that the...

Nature's Take: what's next for the preprint revolution

In this first episode of Nature's Take, we get four of Nature's staff around microphones to get their expert take on preprints. These pre-peer-review open access articles have spiked in number over recent years and have cemented themselves as an integral part of scientific publishing. But this has not been without its issues. In this discussion we cover a lot of ground. Amongst other things, we ask whether preprints could help democratise science or contribute to a loss of trust in...


Why low temperatures could help starve tumours of fuel

Cold exposure in mice activates brown fat to deny tumours glucose, and the future of extreme heatwaves. 00:45 How cold temperatures could starve tumours A team of researchers have found that exposing mice to the cold could starve tumour cells of the blood glucose they need to thrive. They showed that the cold temperatures deprived the tumours of fuel by activating brown fat – a tissue that burns through glucose to keep body temperature up. The team also showed preliminary evidence of the...


Massive Facebook study reveals a key to social mobility

00:47 The economic benefits of social connections By looking at data gathered from billions of Facebook friendships, researchers have shown that having more connections with people from higher income groups could increase future incomes by 20%. They also show how such connections can be formed, and how schools and other institutions could help to improve peoples’ opportunities in the future. Research Article: Chetty et al. Research Article: Chetty et al. News and Views: The social...


Coronapod: the open-science plan to unseat big Pharma and tackle vaccine inequity

Inequity has been a central feature of the COVID19 pandemic. From health outcomes to access to vaccines, COVID has pushed long-standing disparities out of the shadows and into the public eye and many of these problems are global. In this episode of Coronapod we dig into a radical new collaboration of 15 countries - co-led by the WHO, and modelled on open-science. The project, called the mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub, aims to create independent vaccine hubs that could supply the global...


How humans adapted to digest lactose — after thousands of years of milk drinking

00:45 Working out how the ability to digest milk spread Humans have been drinking milk for thousands of years, but it seems that they were doing so long before the ability to digest it became prevalent. Then around 2000 years ago, this ability became common in Europe, presenting a mystery to researchers – why then? Now by analyzing health data, ancient DNA, and fats residues from thousands of ancient pots, scientists have worked out what caused this trait to suddenly spread throughout...


How researchers have pinpointed the origin of 'warm-blooded' mammals

00:46 When did mammals start to regulate their temperature? The evolution of ‘warm bloodedness’ allowed mammals to live in a more diverse range of habitats, but working out when this occurred has been difficult. To try and pin down a date, researchers have studied the fossilised remains of ancient mammals' inner ears, which suggest that this key evolutionary leap appeared around 230 million years ago. Research Article: Araujo et al. News and Views: Evolution of thermoregulation as told by...


Ancient mud reveals the longest record of climate from the tropics

00:46 A long-term record of climate in the tropics To understand the history of the Earth’s climate, researchers often rely on things like ice cores, which contain layered frozen insights of thousands of years of history. However, in the tropics long-term records like these have been absent. Now researchers have uncovered a sediment core in Peru which reveals around 700,000 years of climatic history. Research Article: Rodbell et al. News and Views: Sediment study finds the pulse of...


Higgs boson at 10: a deep dive into the mysterious, mass-giving particle

In this Podcast Extra, Nature's Lizzie Gibney and Federico Levi take a deep-dive into the Higgs boson, describing their experiences of its discovery, what the latest run of the Large Hadron Collider might reveal about the particle's properties, and what role it could play in potential physics beyond the standard model. Nature News: Happy birthday, Higgs boson! What we do and don’t know about the particle Nature Editorial: Particle physics isn’t going to die — even if the LHC finds no new...


Coronapod: detecting COVID variants in sewage

Since early in the pandemic, scientists have searched for signals of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by sampling wastewater. This surveillance method has provided vital information to inform public health responses. But the approach has never been particularly specific - pointing to broad trends rather than granular information such as which variants are spreading where. But now a team from the University of California have created two new tools to sample waste water in much greater detail - and...


Higgs boson turns ten: the mysteries physicists are still trying to solve

00:46 Happy birthday, Higgs boson - looking back at a momentous milestone for physics Ten years ago this week, scientists announced that they’d found evidence of the existence of the Higgs boson, a fundamental particle first theorised to exist nearly sixty years earlier. To celebrate this anniversary, we reminisce about what the discovery meant at the time, and what questions are left to be answered about this mysterious particle. Nature News: Happy birthday, Higgs boson! What we do and...