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.
How electric acupuncture zaps inflammation in mice
25:37The 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 inflammationIn 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 inflammatory-related diseases.Research article: Liu et al.News and Views: Electroacupuncture activates neurons to switch off inflammation07:28 Research HighlightsThe Aztec origins of an obsidian ‘spirit mirror’, and the damage done by a Soviet plutonium complex.Research Highlight: A ‘spirit mirror’ used in Elizabeth I’s court had Aztec rootsResearch Highlight: Cold-war spy pictures reveal a Soviet nuclear ‘cloud generator’10:18 Assessing antibiotics’ collateral damage.Antibiotics are known to cause damage to the communities of bacteria that live in our guts. To better understand why this happens, a team has mapped the effects that different antibiotics have on individual gut-bacteria species, which may offer new insights into preventing this collateral damage.Research article: Maier et al.17:32 Briefing ChatWe discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the latest species to be declared extinct in the US, and a potential planet that orbits three stars.New York Times: Protected Too Late: U.S. Officials Report More Than 20 ExtinctionsNew York Times: This May Be the First Planet Found Orbiting 3 Stars at OnceSubscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Coronapod: new data affirms the benefits of air filters and masks
10:30New 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 surgical masks proving more effective than those made of cloth. The trial, which involved 350,000 participants in Bangladesh, is the latest in a long line of studies demonstrating mask efficacy - but this is the first randomised control trial of its kind. We ask if this gold-standard trial will prove to be the final word on the effectiveness of masks.News: Real-world data show that filters clean COVID-causing virus from airNews: Face masks for COVID pass their largest test yetSubscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The AI that accurately predicts the chances of rain
26:17AI weather forecasters, mapping the human brain and the 2021 science Nobel prizes.In this episode:00:52 Improving the accuracy of weather forecasts with AIShort-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 HighlightsThe vaping robot that could help explain why some e-cigarettes damage lungs, and the sea-slugs that steal chloroplasts to boost egg production.Research Highlight: This robot vapes for scienceResearch Highlight: Solar-powered slugs have a bright reproductive future10:29 A map of the motor cortexA group of researchers are undertaking an enormous task: to make a cellular atlas of the entire brain. This week, they publish a suite of papers that has accomplished this feat for one part of the brain — the motor cortex.Research Article: BRAIN Initiative Cell Census NetworkNews and Views: A census of cell types in the brain’s motor cortexEditorial: Neuroscientists make strides towards deciphering the human brain17:58 Nobel NewsFlora Graham from the Nature Briefing joins us to talk about the winners of this year’s science Nobels.News: Medicine Nobel goes to scientists who discovered biology of sensesNews: Climate modellers and theorist of complex systems share physics NobelNews: ‘Elegant’ catalysts that tell left from right scoop chemistry NobelSubscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Starting up in science: behind the scenes
23:40Starting up in science: behind the scenesIn 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 acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Starting up in science: Episode 4
18:14Episode 4Ali 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 acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Starting up in science: Episode 3
12:50Episode 3As 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 acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Starting up in science: Episode 2
12:42Episode 2Ali and Dan have landed positions as the heads of their very own labs. But how did they get to the starting line? Every scientist’s journey is different, and in this episode we hear Ali and Dan’s, which covers years, thousands of miles, and some very difficult decisions.Read a written version of Starting up in science See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Starting up in science: Episode 1
10:45Every year, thousands of scientists struggle to launch their own labs. For three years, a reporting team from Nature documented the lives of married couple Alison Twelvetrees and Daniel Bose as they worked to get their fledgling research groups off the ground.Frustrations over funding, a global pandemic, and a personal trauma have made this journey anything but simple for Ali and Dan. Listen to their story in Starting up in science.Episode 1What does it take to start up in science? Meet two biologists fighting the odds to build their careers and break new ground. But their first priority is getting grants – without them, their labs might not stay afloat.Read a written version of Starting up in science See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Audio long-read: Can artificially altered clouds save the Great Barrier Reef?
15:39Australian scientists are developing new technologies to help protect coral from climate change.Earlier this year, a team of researchers used a mist-machine to artificially brighten clouds in order to block sunlight above Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The project is the world’s first field trial of marine cloud brightening and is among a number of techniques and technologies being developed to save the country’s reefs from the worst effects of climate change.This is an audio version of our feature: Can artificially altered clouds save the Great Barrier Reef? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Coronapod: solving the COVID vaccine manufacturing problem
20:30Less than 1% of those in low income countries are fully vaccinated, and that number only rises to 10% in low-middle income countries. Meanwhile more than half of the population in wealthier countries have received a double dose with several now rolling out third dosess.In this episode of Coronapod we look at the role of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Drug companies are facing increased pressure to partner with manufacturing firms in the global south but most are reluctant to relinquish control. We ask what needs to change to help address the global disparity in vaccine access.News: The fight to manufacture COVID vaccines in lower-income countries See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.