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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.
 
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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 t…
 
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 va…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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 …
 
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 neutr…
 
A historian reflects on the life of Chinese crop scientist Yuan Longping, and the possible influence of geothermal energy production on earthquake aftershocks. In this episode: 00:46 Remembering Yuan Longping Yuan Longping, one of China’s most famous scientists, died in May at the age of 90. Known as the ‘father of hybrid rice’, we reflect on his l…
 
A deluge of trials has stress-tested the systems that produce evidence. Around the world, researchers have raced to test therapies to treat COVID-19. The speed and urgency of this task has revealed both the weaknesses in the collection and use of research-based evidence, and how well-run trials have helped save lives. This is an audio version of ou…
 
Early vaccine trials did not include pregnant or breastfeeding people which left some people asking whether COVID vaccines are safe and effective for those who are breastfeeding. The latest data suggests that they are and in this episode of Coronapod we dig into the questions scientists have been asking. Could the vaccine make it into breastmilk? C…
 
Researchers isolate the protein thought to allow birds to sense magnetic fields, and astronomers pinpoint the stars that could view Earth as an exoplanet. In this episode: 00:45 Homing in on the molecule that helps birds find their way. How migratory birds sense magnetic fields is a long standing mystery in sensory biology. Now researchers have iso…
 
After a slew of wildly successful vaccine trials, this week marked a more underwhelming result. The third mRNA vaccine to complete phase three trials, developed by CureVac, is just 47% effective at staving off disease according to preliminary data. This is a stark contrast with previous mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer BioNtec which returned a…
 
The pros and pitfalls of collaboration, with insights from researchers and beyond. This week, Nature has a special issue on collaborations, looking at the benefits to science and society that working together can bring. In this collaboration-themed edition of the podcast, we’re joined by Nature’s David Payne to discuss the issue, and the state of r…
 
The global burden of COVID-19 has predominantly been measured using metrics like case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths. But the long term health impacts are more difficult to capture. In this episode of Coronapod we discuss one way that public health experts are trying to get to grips with the problem using metrics such as disability adjusted l…
 
An AI that designs computer chips in hours, and zooming in on DNA’s complex 3D structures. In this episode: 00:46 An AI computer microchip designer Working out where to place the billions of components that a modern computer chip needs can take human designers months and, despite decades of research, has defied automation. This week, however, a tea…
 
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been allegations that SARS-CoV-2 could have originated in a Chinese lab. A phase one WHO investigation concluded that a 'lab-leak' was "extremely unlikely" and yet, the theory has seen a resurgence in recent weeks with several scientists wading into the debate. In this episode of Coronapod, we delve i…
 
The cross-discipline effort to work our how ancient humans learned to count. In this episode: 00:45 Number origins Around the world, archaeologists, linguists and a host of other researchers are trying to answer some big questions – when, and how, did humans learn to count? We speak to some of the scientists at the forefront of this effort. News Fe…
 
A vaccine candidate for a neglected tropical disease, and calls to extend the 14-day limit on embryo research. In this episode: 00:46 A vaccine candidate for an important livestock disease African animal trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease that kills millions of cattle each year, affecting livelihoods and causing significant economic costs in ma…
 
Scientists are trying to figure out whether these pervasive plastic specks are dangerous. Wherever they look – from the bottom of oceans to the top of mountains – researchers are uncovering tiny specks of plastic, known as microplastics. Scientists are trying to understand the potential impacts of ingesting these pervasive plastics but early result…
 
Smouldering fires lay dormant before bursting back into flame in spring. In this episode: 00:56 The mysterious overwintering forest fires Researchers have shown that fires can smoulder under snow in frozen northern forests before flaring up the following spring. Understanding how these so-called ‘zombie’ fires start and spread is vital in the fight…
 
Over the past few weeks, India has been experiencing a devastating second wave of COVID-19, recording hundreds of thousands of new cases a day. Evidence is growing that a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus known as B.1.617, first detected in India in October, may be driving this wave. On this week’s Coronapod we talk about the race to learn more a…
 
A new neural interface lets people type with their mind, and a crafting journey into materials science. In this episode: 00:45 A brain interface to type out thoughts Researchers have developed a brain-computer interface that is able to read brain signals from people thinking about handwriting, and translate them into on-screen text. The team hope t…
 
In surprise news this week, the US government announced its support for waiving patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines, in an effort to boost supplies around the world.As fewer than 1% of people living in low-income countries have received COVID-19 vaccines, it is hoped that this move is a major step towards addressing this inequity by allowing m…
 
The earliest evidence of deliberate human burial in Africa, and a metal-free rechargeable battery. Listen to our mini-series ‘Stick to the Science’: when science gets political and vote for the show in this year’s Webby Awards. In this episode: 00:44 Human burial practices in Stone Age Africa The discovery of the burial site of a young child in a K…
 
For more than a century, public health researchers have demonstrated how poverty and discrimination drive disease and the coronavirus pandemic has only reinforced this. In a Coronapod special, Nature reporter Amy Maxmen takes us with her through eight months of reporting in the San Joaquin valley, a part of rural California where COVID's unequal to…
 
Ultra-precise measurements connect brain activity and energy use in individual fruit-fly neurons. Vote for our mini-series ‘Stick to the Science’: when science gets political in this year’s Webby Awards. In this episode: 00:45 How brain cells use energy A team of researchers have looked in individual fruit-fly neurons to better understand how energ…
 
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