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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.




Audio long read: Science and the World Cup — how big data is transforming football

Big data is playing an increasingly important role in football, with technologies capturing huge amounts of information about players' positions and actions during a match. To make sense of all this information, most elite football teams now employ data analysts plucked from top companies and laboratories. Their insights are helping to steer everything from player transfers to the intensity of training, and have even altered how the game is played. This is an audio version of our Feature:...


The satellite-free alternative to GPS

00:45 Precision positioning without satellites Satellite navigation has revolutionized how humans find their way. However, these systems often struggle in urban areas, where buildings can interfere with weak satellite signals. To counter this, a team has developed an alternative, satellite-free system, which could improve applications that require precise positioning in cities, such as self-driving cars. Research Article: Koelemeij et al. News and Views: Phone signals can help you find...


How a key Alzheimer's gene wreaks havoc in the brain

00:46 Artemis 1 is go! NASA’s Artemis 1 mission has successfully reached Earth orbit. After weeks of delays and issues, and a nail biting launch, the rocket marks the first step in a new era of moon exploration, with plans to test a new way to return astronauts to the moon. We caught up with reporter for all-things-space, Alex Witze, for the latest. News: Lift off! Artemis Moon rocket launch kicks off new era of human exploration 10:06 Research Highlights The unlevel playing field in...


Audio long read: She was convicted of killing her four children. Could a gene mutation set her free?

Kathleen Folbigg has spent nearly 20 years in prison after being convicted of killing her four children. But in 2018, a group of scientists began gathering evidence that suggested another possibility for the deaths — that at least two of them were attributable to a genetic mutation that can affect heart function. A judicial inquiry in 2019 failed to reverse Folbigg’s conviction, but this month, the researchers will present new evidence at a second inquiry, which could ultimately spell...


Molecular cages sift 'heavy' water from near-identical H2O

00:49 Separating heavy water with molecular cages Heavy water is molecule very similar to H2O but with deuterium isotopes in the place of hydrogen atoms. Heavy water is useful in nuclear reactions, drug design and nutritional studies, but it's difficult to separate from normal water because they have such similar properties. Now, a team have developed a new separation method using tiny molecular cages, which they hope opens up more energy efficient ways to produce heavy water. Research...


Audio long read: The controversial embryo tests that promise a better baby

Companies are offering genetic tests of embryos generated by in vitro fertilization that they say allow prospective parents to choose those with the lowest risk for diseases such as diabetes or certain cancers. However, some researchers are concerned about the accuracy and ethics of these tests. This is an audio version of our Feature: The controversial embryo tests that promise a better baby Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


Flies can move their rigid, omnidirectional eyes – a little

00:46 How flies can move their eyes (a little) It's long been assumed flies’ eyes don’t move, and so to alter their gaze they need to move their heads. Now, researchers have shown that this isn’t quite true and that fruit flies can actually move their retinas using a specific set of muscles, which may allow them to perceive depth. The team also hope that this movement may provide a window into some of the flies’ internal processes. Research article: Fenk et al. 08:54 Research...


Racism in Health: the harms of biased medicine

When COVID-19 hit it didn't kill indiscriminately. In the US, being Black, Hispanic, or Native American meant you had a much greater risk of death than if you were white. And these disparities are mirrored across the world. In this episode we explore the complex tale behind this disparity. Throughout history, racism and biases have been embedded within medical technology, along the clinicians who use it. Cultural concepts of race have been falsely conflated with biology. The way medicine is...


Ancient DNA reveals family of Neanderthals living in Siberian cave

In this episode: 00:54 Siberian cave offers first-ever glimpse into Neanderthal family By analysing ancient DNA recovered from bone fragments found in two Siberian caves, researchers have identified a set of closely related Neanderthals: a father and daughter, as well as several other more-distant relatives. The work suggests that Neanderthal communities were small, and that females may have left their families to join other groups. Research article: Skov et al. News and Views: The first...


Human brain organoids implanted into rats could offer new way to model disease

In this episode: 00:45 Implanted brain organoids could offer new insights into disease Brain organoids — lab-grown, self-organizing structures made of stem cells — are used in research to better understand brain development and disease progression. However, these structures lack connections seen in real brains, limiting their usefulness. To overcome this, a team has now transplanted human organoids into the brains of newborn rats, showing that these implanted organoids respond to stimuli...


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...