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Podcast Profile: New Scientist Podcasts

podcast imageTwitter: @newscientist
Site: www.newscientist.com
286 episodes
2020 to present
Average episode: 27 minutes
Open in Apple PodcastsRSS

Categories: News-Style

Podcaster's summary: Podcasts for the insatiably curious by the world’s most popular weekly science magazine. Everything from the latest science and technology news to the big-picture questions about life, the universe and what it means to be human.For more visit newscientist.com/podcasts Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

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List Updated: 2024-Apr-14 06:46 UTC. Episodes: 286. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

Episodes
2024-Apr-12 • 29 minutes
Weekly: The multiverse just got bigger; saving the white rhino; musical mushrooms
#245The multiverse may be bigger than we thought. The idea that we exist in just one of a massive collection of alternate universes has really captured the public imagination in the last decade. But now Hugh Everett’s 60-year-old “many worlds interpretation”, based on quantum mechanics, has been upgraded.The northern white rhino is on the brink of extinction but we may be able to save it. Scientists plan to use frozen genes from 12 now dead rhinos to rebuild the entire subspecies. But how do you turn skin c...
2024-Apr-08 • 39 minutes
CultureLab: Jen Gunter on the taboo science of menstruation
Half of the human population undergoes the menstrual cycle for a significant proportion of their lifetimes, yet periods remain a taboo topic in public and private life. And that makes it harder both to prioritise necessary scientific research into conditions like endometriosis and for people to understand the basics of how their bodies work.Blood: The Science, Medicine, and Mythology of Menstruation is gynaecologist Jen Gunter’s latest book. In this practical guide, she dispels social, historical and medica...
2024-Apr-05 • 31 minutes
Weekly: Miniature livers made from lymph nodes in groundbreaking medical procedure
#244Researchers have successfully turned lymph nodes into miniature livers that help filter the blood of mice, pigs and other animals – and now, trials are beginning in humans. If successful, the groundbreaking medical procedure could prove life-saving for thousands of people waiting for liver transplants around the world. So far, no complications have been seen from the procedure, but it will be several months before we know if the treatment is working as hoped in the first of 12 trial participants with en...
2024-Apr-01 • 19 minutes
Escape Pod: #8 Escape from predators and escape from the planet
This is a re-airing of a podcast originally released in March 2021.From beetle explosions to the deep dark depths of the ocean, this episode is all about escape.The team discusses the amazing (and sometimes disgusting) way bombardier beetles escape predators.They explain what it takes for an object to reach escape velocity, celebrating the mathematical mind of Katherine Johnson while they’re at it.And they explore the daunting realms of free-diving, and the lengths people will go to for a bit of peace and q...
2024-Mar-29 • 26 minutes
Weekly: Immune system treatment makes old mice seem young again; new black hole image; unexploded bombs are becoming more dangerous
#243As we age our immune systems do too, making us less able to fight infections and more prone to chronic inflammation. But a team of scientists has been able to reverse these effects in mice, rejuvenating their immune systems by targeting their stem cells. But there’s a long road to trying the same thing in humans.Have you seen the incredible new black hole image? Just a couple of years since the Event Horizon Telescope’s first, fuzzy image of Sagittarius A* – the black hole at the centre of our galaxy – ...
2024-Mar-26 • 33 minutes
CultureLab: Stranded on a fantastical planet: The strange creatures of Scavengers Reign
Fish you wear like a gas mask, moss that turns a robot sentient and critters that will eat your rash – all these oddities and more cohabit on the planet Vesta, the setting for the animated miniseries Scavengers Reign, where a group of human space travellers must innovate with what they find in the landscape to survive. While all this sounds fantastical, there are many parallels with Earth’s ecosystem and the way we regularly borrow technology from the natural world. New Scientist physics reporter Karme...
2024-Mar-22 • 27 minutes
Weekly: How declining birth rates could shake up society; Humanoid robots; Top prize in mathematics
#242Human population growth is coming to an end. The global population is expected to peak between 2060 and 2080, then start falling. Many countries will have much lower birth rates than would be needed to support ageing populations. These demographic projections have major implications for the way our societies function, including immigration and transportation, and what kinds of policies and systems we need. Remember Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons? Humanoid robots capable of many different tasks ma...
2024-Mar-19 • 16 minutes
Escape Pod: #7 Speed: From the quickest animal in the world to the fastest supercomputer
This is a re-airing of a podcast originally released in March 2021.From the quickest animal in the world to the fastest supercomputer, this episode is all about speed.Opening with the cries of the peregrine falcon, the team finds out how the bird has evolved to endure flying at more than 200mph.Then they explain how scientists, starting from Galileo, attempted to measure the speed limit of the universe, the speed of light, and how Einstein understood what it meant.And they explore the mind-blowing capabilit...
2024-Mar-15 • 26 minutes
Weekly: Gaza’s impending long-term health crisis
#241More than 2 million Palestinians in Gaza face widespread hunger, disease and injury as the war quickly becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in modern memory. Even once the war ends, the devastating physical and emotional health consequences will be felt for many years to come, especially by children. And aid groups like UNICEF and the World Health Organization have no long-term plans to meet the post-war health needs of the population.Gravity on Mars may occasionally be strong enough to stir up the oce...
2024-Mar-12 • 35 minutes
CultureLab: Rebecca Boyle on how the moon transformed Earth and made us who we are
There’s no moon like our moon. A celestial body twinned with Earth, the moon guides the tides, stabilises our climate, leads the rhythms of animal behaviour and has long been a source of wonder and awe. Our Moon: How Earth's Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are, is a new book from science journalist Rebecca Boyle. In it she takes an intimate look at our satellite and how it’s influenced everything from our species’ understanding of long cycles of time to ...
2024-Mar-08 • 28 minutes
Weekly: Woolly mammoth breakthrough?; The Anthropocene rejected; Bumblebee culture
#240A major step has been made toward bringing woolly mammoths back from extinction – sort of. The company Colossal has the ambitious goal of bringing its first baby mammoth into the world by 2028. And its newest advance, announced this week, is in turning adult Asian elephant cells into stem cells. But it’s still a long way from here to the company’s vision of cold-adapted elephants fighting climate change in the Arctic – or even that 2028 baby mammoth. When did humans begin to affect the Earth’s syst...
2024-Mar-05 • 17 minutes
Escape Pod: #6 All About Warmth: Emotional, Physiological and Geological
This is a re-airing of a podcast originally released in February 2021.Keeping you cosy this week is an episode all about warmth - emotional, physiological and geological.We have an unexpected start to the show, with bees taking the spotlight, but it turns out these cold-blooded little insects can generate immense warmth when necessary.The team then takes a much bigger view of warmth, discussing the heat of the planet, and of the many uses of geothermal energy.Finally they wrap up by finding out what it take...
2024-Mar-01 • 26 minutes
Weekly: Is personalised medicine overhyped?; Pythagoras was wrong about music; How your brain sees nothing
#239Two decades ago, following the Human Genome Project’s release of a first draft in 2001, genetic testing was set to revolutionise healthcare. “Personalised medicine” would give us better treatments for serious conditions, clear pictures of our risks and individualised healthcare recommendations. But despite all the genetic tests available, that healthcare revolution has not exactly come to fruition. Amid news that genetic testing poster child firm 23andMe has hit financial troubles, we ask whether person...
2024-Feb-27 • 46 minutes
CultureLab: What would life on Mars be like? The science behind TV series For All Mankind
Freezing temperatures, dust storms, radiation, marsquakes – living on Mars right now would be hellish. And getting there remains a multi-year journey. But what if we could make it habitable? Could we one day build settlements on the Red Planet or send human scientists to search for life?That’s the premise of the TV series For All Mankind, which explores a future where the space race continued after the moon landing and humanity kept spreading out across space. But in the name of a good story, real science o...
2024-Feb-23 • 24 minutes
Weekly: ADHD helps foraging?; the rise of AI “deepfakes”; ignored ovary appendage
#238ADHD is a condition that affects millions of people and is marked by impulsivity, restlessness and attention difficulties. But how did ADHD evolve in humans and why did it stick around? Through the help of a video game, a study shows that these traits might be beneficial when foraging for food. In 2023, we hit record after record when it comes to high temperatures on Earth, including in the oceans and seas. From the surface to 2000 metres down, it was hard to find a part of the ocean not affected. ...
2024-Feb-21 • 18 minutes
Escape Pod #5 Sound: Prepare to feel relaxed, tingly and amazed, in the space of 20 minutes
This is a re-airing of a podcast originally released in February 2021.Prepare to feel relaxed, tingly and amazed all in the space of 20 minutes. This episode is all about sound.We start with the musical tones of an elephant trumpeting, followed by a recording from Cornell University’s Elephant Listening Project, showing how they communicate at an infrasonic frequency, which humans can’t ordinarily detect.The team then attempts to send shivers down your spine by recreating ASMR, explaining why some people en...
2024-Feb-16 • 24 minutes
Weekly: Reversing blindness; power beamed from space; animal love languages
#237Glaucoma, which can cause blindness by damaging the optic nerve, may be reversible. Researchers have managed to coax new optic nerve cells to grow in mice, partly restoring sight in some. How the treatment works through an eyeball injection and why, for humans, prevention and early detection are still the best options.Black holes, just like planets and stars, spin. But they may be spinning a lot slower than we thought. When black holes gobble up matter around them, they start spinning faster and we’ve l...
2024-Feb-13 • 20 minutes
CultureLab: Where billionaires rule the apocalypse: Naomi Alderman’s ‘The Future’
Real tech billionaires are reportedly building secret bunkers in case of post-apocalyptic societal collapse. It’s a frightening prospect, a world where only the super rich survive catastrophe. But it’s a world one author is exploring in her latest novel.Naomi Alderman is the prize-winning and best-selling author of The Power. Her latest book The Future imagines a world where billionaires survive a world-shaking cataclysm, only to find out they’re not as in charge of events as they think they are. The F...
2024-Feb-09 • 23 minutes
Weekly: Record-breaking fusion experiments inch the world closer to new source of clean energy
#236This week marks two major milestones in the world of fusion. In 2022 a fusion experiment at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory created more power than was required to sustain it – now, the same team has improved this record by 25 per cent, releasing almost twice the energy that was put in. Meanwhile, the UK’s JET reactor set a new world record for total energy output from any fusion reaction, just before it shut down for good late last year. Why these two milestones inch us closer to practical, ...
2024-Feb-06 • 17 minutes
Escape Pod: #4 Mass: from lightest creates on earth, to the heaviest things in the cosmos
This is a re-airing of a podcast originally released in February 2021.From some of the lightest creatures on earth, to the heaviest things in the cosmos, this episode is all about mass.It’s a magical opening to the show as the team discusses a group of insects called fairy wasps which are so light it’s near impossible to weigh them.They then turn to matters of massive proportions, discussing a little thing called dark matter.Finally the team wraps up by looking at the surprising, and slightly hilarious ways...
2024-Feb-02 • 22 minutes
Weekly: Alzheimer’s from contaminated injections; Musk's Neuralink begins human trials; longest living dogs
#235In very rare cases, Alzheimer’s disease could be transmitted from person to person during medical procedures. This finding comes as five people have developed the disease after receiving contaminated human growth hormone injections in the late 1950s to early 1980s – a practice that is now banned. What this finding means for medical settings and why most people don’t need to be concerned.  Elon Musk’s mind-reading brain implant company Neuralink is carrying out its first human trial. The volunt...
2024-Jan-30 • 26 minutes
CultureLab: Earth’s Last Great Wild Areas – Simon Reeve on BBC series ‘Wilderness’
Very few places on our planet appear untouchedby humans, but in those that do, nature is still very much in charge – and the scenery is breathtaking. In the new BBC series Wilderness with Simon Reeve, journalist Simone Reeve takes us into the heart of Earth's last great wild areas, including the Congo Basin rainforest, Patagonia, the Coral Triangle and the Kalahari desert in Southern Africa.In this episode of CultureLab, TV columnist Bethan Ackerley asks Simon about the series and his many exciting expediti...
2024-Jan-26 • 24 minutes
Weekly: Why AI won’t take your job just yet; how sound helps fungi grow faster; chickpeas grown in moon dust for first time
#234Is AI really ready to take our jobs? A team looked at whether AI image recognition could replace tasks like checking price tags on items or looking at the pupils of patients in surgery.  The researchers found only a small fraction of these vision-reliant tasks could be cost-effectively taken over by AI – for now, anyway.There’s an old myth that singing to your plants helps them grow – apparently this actually works with fungus. A pair of experiments has found that fungus grows much more quickly whe...
2024-Jan-23 • 16 minutes
Escape Pod: #3 Music: the jazz swing of birdsong and the sonification of the orbits of planets
This is a re-airing of a podcast originally released in February 2021.This episode is all about music, so today’s journey of escapism comes complete with odd, relaxing, soothing and interesting sounds to guide you through.The team opens with the sounds of animals, specifically the singing - if you can call it that - of gorillas, and the jazzy birdsong of the thrush.They then treat you to the sounds of data sonification, courtesy of Milton Mermikides, who translates motion into music, like the swinging of a ...
2024-Jan-19 • 23 minutes
Weekly: Cloned rhesus monkey lives to adulthood for first time; fermented foods carry antibiotic resistant bugs; an impossible cosmic object
#233A cloned rhesus monkey named ReTro is said to be in good health more than three years after his birth – a landmark achievement, as no other rhesus clone has lived to adulthood.. However, the method used to clone ReTro used fetal cells, a method that cannot create identical clones of adult primates. The method could still be useful for medical research. Fermented foods are meant to be healthy and good for our guts, but there’s a problem. Researchers have found antibiotic resistant bacteria in a smal...
2024-Jan-16 • 22 minutes
CultureLab: Breaking space records, human bowling and a trip to the Moon with astronaut Christina Koch
NASA astronaut Christina Koch not only took part in the first ever all-female spacewalks, but she also holds the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, after spending 328 days on board the International Space Station.So what does it take to live in space for such a long time, what does it mean to be a record-breaking astronaut – and how do you get used to gravity again when you finally come back home? New Scientist space reporter Leah Crane asks Chrstina all of these questions and more in a s...
2024-Jan-12 • 23 minutes
Weekly: Brain regions shrink during pregnancy; oldest and largest Amazon cities discovered; corals that change their sex like clockwork
#232During pregnancy the brain undergoes profound changes – almost every part of the cortex thins out and loses volume by the third trimester. It’s such a big change that you can tell if someone’s pregnant just by looking at a scan of their brain. How researchers discovered these changes and why they might be occurring.A massive, ancient group of cities has been discovered in the Amazon rainforest using lasers. It’s the biggest pre-Columbian urban area ever found in the Amazon and parts of it date back furt...
2024-Jan-09 • 17 minutes
Escape Pod: #2 Alliances in matters biological, mathematical and atomical
This is a re-airing of a podcast originally released in January 2021.The theme of this episode is alliances - human, biological and atomic. We start by celebrating the amazing properties of lichen, the symbiotic relationships it forms, how it shaped the earth and simply how beautiful it is to look at.Then we explore how carbon is able to create such an incredibly diverse range of materials, including soot, diamonds and graphite.We wrap up by delving into the life of renowned Hungarian mathematician Paul Erd...
2024-Jan-05 • 30 minutes
Weekly: What’s next for science in 2024? A year of moons; weight-loss drugs; and a massive new supercomputer for Europe
#231It’s a new year and that means new science. But what (that we know so far) does 2024 hold? On the space front, agencies around the world have as many as 13 missions to Earth’s moon, while Japan’s MMX mission will launch to take samples from the Martian moon Phobos. NASA will finally launch the Europa Clipper mission to explore Jupiter’s ocean-bearing moon. On the technology front, Europe’s first ever exascale supercomputer, capable of performing billions of operations per second – only the thi...
2024-Jan-02 • 22 minutes
Escape Pod: #1 Understanding the self-awareness of dolphins
This is a re-airing of a podcast originally released in January 2021.An episode of Escape Pod all about understanding. We start by discussing the self-awareness of dolphins and whales, and the intricacies of their language and vocalisations. Then we marvel at the seemingly impossible abilities of gymnasts and ballerinas, most notably Simone Biles who performed a legendary triple double. And then we take a look at the Chinese board game Go - a game with more possible moves than there are atoms in the univers...
2023-Dec-29 • 27 minutes
Best of 2023, part 2: India lands on the moon; the orca uprising; birds make use of anti-bird spikes
What was your favorite science story of 2023? Was it the rise of orca-involved boat sinkings? Or maybe the successful landing of India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission at the moon’s south pole? This week, it’s the second and final part of our annual event about the best science stories of the year, with a roundup of some of the good news, animal news and all-around most important stories of 2023. Like how researchers discovered the high-tech material called graphene can also occur naturally…and did, deep in the...
2023-Dec-26 • 28 minutes
CultureLab: The best books of 2023, from joyful escapism to sobering reads
Are you looking forward to catching up on some reading over the holiday season? Or perhaps you are on the prowl for book recommendations after receiving a few literary gift cards? If so, you are in luck – this episode is all about the books we think you’ll love to read.In this episode of CultureLab, culture and comment editor Alison Flood appears in her role as professional bookworm to share some of her favorite reads of the year. From a sobering story of life in the human-polluted ocean (narrated by a dolp...
2023-Dec-22 • 27 minutes
Best of 2023, part 1: Euclid telescope’s big year; AI is everywhere (for better and worse); why doctors searched their poo for tiny toys
#229Your hands are heavier than you think. Beer goggles aren’t real. And many water utilities in the United Kingdom still use dowsing to find leaks in pipes. It’s the first part of our annual best-in-show of science stories from the year, with a roundup of some of the funniest and most futuristic-feeling headlines from 2023. Like the Euclid Space Telescope’s successful start to a mission that will map the sky and offer new insights into dark matter and the very structure of the universe. And a half-syn...
2023-Dec-19 • 37 minutes
CultureLab: A duet between music and the natural world with Erland Cooper’s playful compositions
Composer Erland Cooper is known for playful, innovative, experimental projects. For example, he buried the only audio copy of a 2021 composition – then left treasure hunt clues for people to try to find it. Which one couple, eventually, did.In this episode of CultureLab, Cooper talks to writer Arwa Haider about his newest album, Folded Landscapes, where he is deep in conversation with the environment and our changing climate. The movements of the piece were recorded with the Scottish Ensemble chamber orches...
2023-Dec-17 • 23 minutes
Science of cannabis: #3 The weed of the future
Cannabis is one of the oldest products of human cultivation. And as it becomes increasingly legal for medical and recreational use around the world, its popularity is growing as well – even as researchers, limited by government prohibitions of the past and present, race to understand how the hundreds of chemicals in pot actually affect us and what the benefits and risks may be.But the object of all this research is itself changing: cannabis consumed today is more than ten times more potent than pot of the p...
2023-Dec-15 • 25 minutes
Weekly: New climate deal at COP28; AI mathematician; a problem with the universe
#228We have a new, landmark climate deal, signalling the beginning of the end of fossil fuels. But even as the announcement at COP28 includes commitments for some of the most pressing issues, including giving money to countries most affected by climate change and setting goals for more renewables, some critics aren’t satisfied. With weak language around  “transitioning away from” fossil fuels, does the deal go far enough?The first ever scientific discoveries have been made by an artificial intelligence...
2023-Dec-12 • 16 minutes
CultureLab: The Royal Flying Doctors - Saving lives in the Australian outback
The Australian outback is vast and the population is really spread out. This makes getting access to emergency healthcare incredibly challenging, as you may be a thousand kilometres or more from the nearest major hospital. The solution? Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service – one of the largest aeromedical organisations in the world, and, at nearly 100 years old, the first of its kind.In this bonus episode of the podcast, Australia reporter Alice Klein speaks to two RFDS team members about some of their i...
2023-Dec-10 • 24 minutes
Science of cannabis: #2 The anatomy of a high
Human beings have cultivated cannabis for thousands of years. We have been using it for its euphoric effects for at least several thousand. And as prohibition in the United States and other nations gives way to legal, recreational use, more people are picking up pot for help with sleep, pain, or simple relaxation.But as medical and recreational use become more popular and increasingly accessible, what’s actually going on inside your body and brain when you imbibe? Cannabinoids, the chemicals in cannabis, tr...
2023-Dec-08 • 26 minutes
Weekly: IBM’s powerful new quantum computers; climate wins and flops at COP28; our sweet partnership with honeyguide birds
#227Quantum computing researchers at IBM have stepped up the power of their devices by a huge amount. The company’s new device Condor has more than doubled the number of quantum bits of its previous record-breaking machine, which was released just last year. This massive increase in computational power is just one of the company’s latest achievements. It has also announced Heron, a smaller quantum computer but one that’s less error-prone – and therefore more useful – than any IBM has made.We’ve seen a lot o...
2023-Dec-05 • 25 minutes
CultureLab: Teaching science through cooking with Pia Sorenson’s real life ‘Lessons in Chemistry’
Did your chemistry lessons involve baking chocolate lava cakes? Have you ever wanted to eat your biology homework? While ‘Lessons in Chemistry’ brought a fictional cooking-as-chemistry story to TV viewers this fall, real-life scientist Pia Sörensen’s students are some of the few who can actually answer “yes.”Sörensen’s directs Harvard University’s Science and Cooking program, which teaches science lessons through the culinary arts. She is the author and editor of several books, including the best-seller “Sc...
2023-Dec-01 • 22 minutes
Weekly: Biggest climate summit since Paris; thanking dirt for all life on Earth; what if another star flew past our solar system?
#226This year’s COP28 could be the most important climate summit since the Paris Agreement in 2015. After opening in Dubai on Thursday, this will be the first time countries will formally take stock of climate change since agreeing to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. While we can expect world leaders to make some major commitments regarding renewable energy, sceptics are concerned the location of the summit will mean that fossil fuel interests end up disproportionately shaping the meeting.You ma...
2023-Nov-28 • 22 minutes
Science of cannabis: #1 A long history and a seismic shift
Cannabis is having a moment. Half of the US population lives in a state where marijuana is legal, and 9 in 10 people nationwide support legalisation in some form. This is a stark difference from mere decades ago, when prohibition was the norm in the entire US. Meanwhile, if you live in Malta, Uruguay, Canada – and maybe soon, Germany – your entire country is one with legal recreational pot. And access to medical marijuana extends to even more countries, including the UK and Australia.But as medical and recr...
2023-Nov-24 • 24 minutes
Weekly: Salt glaciers could host life on Mercury; brain cells that tell us when to eat; powerful cosmic ray hits Earth
#225Life on Mercury? That would be a shocking discovery. The planet is incredibly inhospitable to life… as we know it. But the discovery of salt glaciers on its surface has opened up the possibility that extremophile bacteria could be buried beneath its surface. Lucky then that the BepiColombo mission is planned to take another look at Mercury soon.Ever wondered why you can go all night without getting hungry but can’t last a few hours in the day? Well, there may be cells in our brains that tell us when it’...
2023-Nov-22 • 15 minutes
Dead Planets Society: #11 Cube Earth Part Two
Turning the Earth into a cube, the gift that just keeps giving. Last episode we had fish bowl spaceships, this time we have sea monsters!If you thought cubifying the Earth couldn’t get more wacky, you’re in for a treat. In the Dead Planets Society season finale, Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte are once again joined by geophysicist Mika McKinnon. This time she explains what time would be like on a 6-faced planet, how you’d be able to experience all four seasons in a single day on Cube Earth and why this re-form...
2023-Nov-21 • 18 minutes
Dead Planets Society: #10 Cube Earth Part One
This is it, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. We’ve killed the sun, smushed the asteroid belt, burrowed into other planets… but now it’s time for the big one… Earth.In this two-part season finale, Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte do irreparable damage to our planet by turning it into a cube. Joining the pair in this mammoth task is geophysicist and disaster consultant Mika McKinnon. In this first episode Mika tackles the many life-changing knock-on effects of cubifying Earth, such as how only portions of t...
2023-Nov-17 • 29 minutes
Weekly: Saving the trees we already have; why US men are dying younger; soap bubble lasers (pew pew pew)
#224Tree planting has become an incredibly popular way of attempting to store carbon dioxide and slow global warming. But new research estimates we may be able to store huge amounts of carbon dioxide without planting any new trees at all. All we have to do is protect the ones we already have. The world’s existing forests could store up to 228 billion tonnes of carbon, but is protecting them an achievable goal?Life expectancy for everyone in the US is on the decline, but especially for men, with the “death g...
2023-Nov-14 • 21 minutes
CultureLab: Orbital - A love letter to Earth from the International Space Station, with Samantha Harvey
As astronauts look down on Earth from space, the experience is often life-altering. The “pale blue dot” looks fragile from way up there. And in the novel Orbital, we get to see our planet from the perspective of astronauts aboard the International Space Station, giving us a glimpse into why the distant view shifts their perspectives so dramatically. The book follows the team of astronauts as they observe Earth, collect meteorological data, conduct scientific experiments and test the limits of the human...
2023-Nov-10 • 27 minutes
Weekly: Spinal cord stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease; half-synthetic yeast; harvesting the ocean’s heat for energy
#223Spinal cord stimulation has, for the first time, been used to improve the mobility of someone with Parkinson’s Disease. Marc, who has battled the condition for 30 years, once fell five to six times daily, but now is able to walk kilometres per day thanks to an array of electrodes that stimulate the movement-related neurons in his spine.  Though it was successful for Marc, the treatment is also highly customised and more research is needed before it might benefit people more broadly. In the wor...
2023-Nov-07 • 15 minutes
Dead Planets Society: #9 Unify the Asteroid Belt
Asteroids are cool, but they’re all spread out across the solar system. Wouldn’t it be neater if we could smush them all together to make one MEGA asteroid? Maybe even an asteroid… planet.From an asteroid sausage machine to a Jell-O infused asteroid donut, Leah and Chelsea discover just how difficult and disastrous it would be to merge the asteroid belt – with one surprising silver lining. Joining them in their quest are planetary scientists Andy Rivkin of John Hopkins University, and Kathryn Volk of the Un...
2023-Nov-03 • 27 minutes
Weekly: Do you really need 8 hours of sleep?; The ancient planet buried inside Earth; Starfish are just heads
#222At this point, most people have heard the accepted wisdom that you need 8 hours sleep every night, especially for a healthy brain. But what if we’ve got it all wrong? If you lie awake at night worrying about getting enough sleep, you may be in luck. A reminder that correlation is not causation, and some surprising new research into how our brains respond to lower amounts of sleep.In space news, NASA’s Lucy spacecraft has just completed a fly-by of a ‘nearby’ asteroid, in preparation for a much bigger ex...
2023-Oct-31 • 30 minutes
CultureLab: Suzie Edge’s curious (and sometimes gruesome) history of famous body parts
Did you know we have King Louis XIV to thank for fistula surgeries? After surgeons worked hard to find a cure for his rear-end ailment, the operation became the height of fashion, with people queuing up to go under the knife so they could be just like their king.  That’s just one of the incredible stories from Suzie Edge’s new book Vital Organs: A History of the World’s Most Famous Body Parts. Suzie Edge is a medical historian and frequently takes to TikTok to surprise (and sometimes shock) her fo...
2023-Oct-27 • 29 minutes
Weekly: Security risks of ChatGPT; do other mammals go through the menopause?; record breaking quantum computer
#221Independent researchers have found new ways that OpenAI’s ChatGPT tool can assist bad actors, from providing the code needed to hack computer databases to teaching people how to make homemade explosives. While the company continually updates security safeguards, it turns out some languages can be used to bypass these guardrails. It has long been thought that only humans and some toothed whales go through the menopause. But are there other mammals out there who experience it too? And if so, is it a ...
2023-Oct-23 • 25 minutes
Dead Planets Society: #8 The Worst of All Worlds
Whether it’s searing heat, sapphire winds striking the sky like rain, or an atmosphere that makes your eyes pop out of your head, some planets are just horrible for life. But even though some pretty horrific planets already exist, the team is not satisfied – they want to bring all of these calamitous qualities together to design the worst of all worlds.In a special bonus edition of Dead Planets Society, recorded on stage in front of an audience at New Scientist Live, Chelsea Whyte and Leah Crane rope two gu...
2023-Oct-20 • 29 minutes
Weekly: Communicating with sleeping people; Massive marsquake; World’s smallest particle accelerator
#220When you’re asleep, you’re completely dead to the world, right? Well, it turns out we can actually communicate with people while they’re sleeping and even get them to smile or frown on command – at least some of the time., Why this window into the sleeping brain could have important implications for treating people with certain sleep-related health conditions, or even better insights into why and how we dream.In space, scientists have discovered the source of the largest ever recorded marsquake, which r...
2023-Oct-17 • 33 minutes
CultureLab: Free will doesn’t exist? Robert Sapolsky’s vision to reshape society
Would you feel uneasy or relieved to know that free will doesn’t exist? For those who have been fortunate in life, it may feel an attack to suggest they are not captains of their own ships - that their success was down to biological and environmental chance. But for others it may feel a lot more liberating.Robert Sapolsky is an author, eminent neuroscientist and professor at Stanford University, known by many for his work studying baboons and human biology. But his latest book is much more associated with t...
2023-Oct-13 • 31 minutes
Weekly: Most detailed map ever of the human brain; clash of the ice planets; are US spies weakening encryption for everyone?
#219The most detailed map yet of the human brain has been unveiled. The human brain atlas visualises the brain more precisely than we’ve ever been able to before. Cell by cell the map can illuminate how the brain is as specialised and organised as it is and how it develops throughout our lifetimes. How has this been achieved and what can we do with this new level of detail?Two distant icy planets have smashed into each other, turning them into a doughnut of vaporised rock orbiting their nearest star. It’s t...
2023-Oct-10 • 21 minutes
Dead Planets Society: #7 Halve the Moon
Leah finally takes on her arch-nemesis; the two-faced, arrogant, cold-hearted… moon. And despite her lunar love, Chelsea gets roped into the destruction. Together, they plot to crack it like an egg, vaporise it into nothingness and drill into it with a giant jackhammer… all while dodging the space police.Our space marauders recruit the assistance of astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Haym Benaroya at Rutgers University.Dead Planets Society is a podcast t...
2023-Oct-06 • 35 minutes
Weekly: Big Nobels for tiny science; how Earth might make water on the Moon; the head-scratching mathematics behind your favourite puzzles
#218The 2023 Nobel Prize winners have been announced. Winners of the science prizes include two scientists who helped develop mRNA vaccines, physicists who’ve managed to generate ultra-short pulses of light to study electrons and chemists who’ve made unimaginably tiny crystals, called quantum dots. Why all these discoveries have touched our lives – and how one almost didn’t happen.We’ve got some science-based puzzles that’ll have you scratching your head… Rob Eastaway, the man behind New Scientist’s Headscr...
2023-Oct-02 • 26 minutes
CultureLab: Surviving the climate crisis – Michael Mann’s hopeful lessons from Earth’s deep history
Our planet has gone through a lot. If we peer into the deep history of Earth’s climate, we see ice ages, rapid warming events and mass extinctions. All of which led to the advent of humankind. But as today’s climate warms at a pace we’ve never seen before, can these past climate events tell us anything about our future?University of Pennsylvania climate scientist and activist Michael Mann explores this in his new book Our Fragile Moment, which looks at how climate change has shaped our planet and human soci...
2023-Sep-29 • 25 minutes
Weekly: Antimatter falls down; Virtual healthcare comes with a price; What’s causing Europe’s insect apocalypse?
#217Antimatter is the counterpart to regular matter, but with an opposite electric charge, as well as other differences. So if it’s the opposite of normal matter, does it fall up instead of down? Studying antimatter is notoriously difficult, but scientists at CERN have scraped together just enough to take a closer look at its behaviour under gravity – their results are consistent with Albert Einstein’s predictions. With remote school and work during the covid-19 pandemic, it’s no wonder telehealth star...
2023-Sep-25 • 21 minutes
Dead Planets Society: #6 Make Venus Earth Again
Are the stresses of life getting too much? Fancy a relaxing getaway to a planet with stifling sulfuric acid clouds, choking quantities of CO2 and punishing amounts of atmospheric pressure? Yeah, neither do Chelsea and Leah. That’s why, with the help of planetary scientist Paul Byrne at Washington University in St. Louis, they’re reinventing Venus, our uninhabitable neighbour. Together, they attempt to clear the air, smash it senseless with asteroids and move it farther from the sun… all for a few quint...
2023-Sep-22 • 25 minutes
Weekly: First ever RNA from an extinct animal; big news about small solar system objects; “brainless” jellyfish can still learn
#216For the first time ever, a team has extracted RNA from an extinct animal. Thylacines, or Tasmanian tigers, are carnivorous marsupials that went extinct in the early 20th century. While we’ve been extracting DNA from extinct animals for years, getting their RNA has been much more difficult. What can this breakthrough tell us about the lives they led?What is consciousness and how does it work? There’s a reason this is known as “the hard problem” of neuroscience. Everyone wants an answer but only a handful...
2023-Sep-18 • 22 minutes
CultureLab: Real Life Supervillains - John Scalzi on the science of volcano lairs and sentient dolphin minions
You’re in the volcano lair of an evil supervillain, hellbent on taking over the world. In anger, he hurls one of his minions into the molten lava bubbling beneath them, as the unfortunate lacky swiftly sinks into the river of molten rock. If you’ve ever watched a James Bond-esque film, you’ll be able to picture the scene. The problem is - the science doesn’t stack up.John Scalzi is an American science fiction author, and in his new book ‘Starter Villain’ he injects a dose of realism into many classic tropes...
2023-Sep-15 • 29 minutes
Weekly: Science that makes you laugh (and think); black holes behaving badly; drumming cockatoos
#215A smart toilet with a camera inside that analyses your poop, plus a study of people who are fluent in speaking backwards – these are just two recipients of this year’s Ig Nobel prize. As the satirical sister to the Nobel prize, the Ig Nobels honour scientific achievements that make people laugh…then think. Prize founder Marc Abrahams on this year’s hilarious winners - and why even robots made from reanimating dead spiders can have a more serious side.As the winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, ...
2023-Sep-11 • 22 minutes
Dead Planets Society: #5 The Return of Pluto
Join Leah and Chelsea as they belatedly mourn the loss of Pluto as a planet. Back in 2006, Pluto was demoted to “dwarf planet”, sparking widespread outrage… a decision the team is still determined to reverse.Special guests are Kathryn Volk of the University of Arizona and Konstantin Batygin of the California Institute of Technology, who discuss several approaches to boosting Pluto’s status, from helping it pack on the pounds, to dragging it into the inner solar system, to sabotaging one of its neighbours…De...
2023-Sep-08 • 29 minutes
Weekly: New type of brain cell; Alaska’s first bridge over a moving glacier; quantum batteries that never age
#214A multi-talented brain cell has been discovered – and it’s a hybrid of the two we already know about, neurons and glia. These glutamatergic astrocytes could provide insights into our brain health and function, and even enable treatments for conditions like Parkinsons.Building a bridge over a moving glacier is no mean feat. But rising global temperatures have thawed the permafrost in Denali National Park in Alaska, causing its only access road to sink. A bridge may be the only way to continue access to t...
2023-Sep-05 • 34 minutes
CultureLab: The weird ways animals sense the world – Ed Yong on his book An Immense World
Whether it’s the hidden colours of ultraviolet that bees can see, the complex rhythms and tones of birdsong that we’re unable to hear, or the way a dog can smell the past in incredible detail, the way humans experience the world is not the only way.Every animal has its own ‘umwelt’ – a unique sensory experience that allows it to perceive the world differently. As humans we can barely begin to understand what the world looks like to many of the other creatures that inhabit the Earth. But author Ed Yong is he...
2023-Sep-01 • 27 minutes
Weekly: Our ancestors nearly went extinct?; Why beer goggles aren’t real; Smelling ancient Egyptian perfume
#213Our ancestors may have very nearly gone extinct. Around a million years ago, there were just 1300 humans left and it stayed that way for over a hundred thousand years. This is the dramatic claim of research into the genetic diversity of our early ancestors – though some scientists disagree with the conclusions.Despite being completely paralysed and unable to speak, Rodney Gorham can still communicate… by typing messages with his mind. Rodney is one of the first people in the world to use a new type of b...
2023-Aug-28 • 14 minutes
Dead Planets Society #4: Asteroid Gong
In an unexpected twist of empathy, Leah and Chelsea are putting their heads together to save the Earth… yes, you read that right!Asteroid researcher and planetary astronomer Andy Rivkin of John Hopkins University joins them to discuss the myriad ways in which we could deflect, destroy or intercept asteroids headed towards Earth. Among the team’s suggestions: a humongous net (a world-wide-web?), a gigantic gong… and Bruce Willis.Dead Planets Society is a podcast that takes outlandish ideas about how to tinke...
2023-Aug-25 • 26 minutes
Weekly: India lands on the moon; Placenta cells could heal the heart; Mind-altering drugs and binge drinking on the rise
#212India is celebrating after successfully - and gently - landing on the Moon. A huge win for the country, which is now only the fourth nation to do so. A look at the country’s next ambitions after a historic touchdown. Plus why Russia’s rival mission ended in disaster, and the future of lunar exploration worldwide. Cells found in placentas may be able to treat heart attacks. Researchers were first clued into this amazing healing capability after two pregnant women spontaneously recovered from heart f...
2023-Aug-22 • 28 minutes
CultureLab: Must watch science shows – the best TV of 2023
Struggling to choose what to watch? Whether it’s sci-fi, medical dramas or documentaries about the natural world, we’ve got you covered. Our TV columnist Bethan Ackerley shares a rundown of her top TV choices from 2023 so far, as well as what to look out for the rest of the year. Reviews of some of the shows featured in this episode:  Foundation (Apple TV)The Last Of Us (HBO Max and Sky Atlantic)Best Interests (Sky Go, Amazon, Apple TV)Wild Isles (BBC iPlayer, Amazon)Dead Ringers (Amazon)Silo...
2023-Aug-18 • 33 minutes
Weekly: Climate Special - an antidote for doom; plus the key ingredient for alien technology, and surprising revelations about an ancient tattooed mummy
#211The hottest July on record, a global surge in wildfires, bleached corals and collapsed cactuses - the story of climate change feels dire right now. But before you bury your head in the sand or succumb to doom and gloom - a dose of reality and hope. In this climate special, a look at how our record-setting year fits the predictions, the incredible good news about the global energy transition and an appeal to the power of our decisions to make a difference in the future.  There’s a new covid-19 ...
2023-Aug-14 • 16 minutes
Dead Planets Society #3: Gravitational Wave Apocalypse
As if burrowing through a planet and blowing up the sun weren’t enough… This time, Chelsea and Leah hope to harness the power of gravitational waves to destroy everything we know and love. Christopher Berry at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)  explains how they could create their own gravitational waves using a bespoke black hole machine, and helps them understand how to control such a device for their nefarious purposes…Dead Planets Society is a podcast that takes ou...
2023-Aug-11 • 26 minutes
Weekly: Ultra-processed foods not so bad?; Another milestone toward fusion power; Mapping the genes we know nothing about
#210Ultra-processed foods are bad for us and we should avoid them at all costs – right? Well, it’s actually not as clear cut as that.The foods may actually form a much more important part of healthy diets than we release.  Nuclear fusion, which could some day offer a low-waste source of clean power, is one step closer to becoming viable. Last year scientists managed to get more power out of a fusion reactor than they put in – a huge breakthrough for the technology. And this year they’ve done one b...
2023-Aug-07 • 20 minutes
CultureLab: Adventures of a prehistoric girl – Alice Roberts on her new book Wolf Road
Scientist and broadcaster Alice Roberts has written her first children’s book. The fictional tale follows prehistoric girl Tuuli, and captures the story of her encounter with a strange boy who leads her on a great adventure.Inspired by her own experiences trekking through the arctic, the book imagines what life would’ve been like for humans of the time, how they might’ve interacted with neanderthals and grapples with questions like: how were the first wolves domesticated?In this episode of CultureLab, New S...
2023-Aug-04 • 33 minutes
Weekly: Surprise superconductor claims put to the test; Alzheimer’s test goes on sale; how NASA (briefly) lost Voyager 2
#209The saga of the room-temperature superconductor continues. The creators of a new material called LK-99 maintain that it perfectly conducts electricity at room temperature and pressure and so other scientists are racing to try to test it for themselves. If the findings are true it would be transformative to science and technology. It’s not just researchers, however, who are testing the material, citizen scientists are also trying to create it at home. Early results are now in.There’s a plan to pump milli...
2023-Jul-31 • 21 minutes
Dead Planets Society #2: Punch A Hole in a Planet
In this episode of Dead Planets Society, Leah and Chelsea embark on a boring journey… no, as in they literally try to bore through a planet! With the help of planetary scientists,  Baptiste Journaux of the University of Washington and Konstantin Batygin of the California Institute of Technology, our hosts drill down into the science of achieving this momentous task, discussing which planets are perfect for perforation, how to deal with melting drill bits, and catapulting a whale to outer space…Tune in ...
2023-Jul-28 • 27 minutes
Weekly: Cheaper cures for many diseases; How to understand the superconductor ‘breakthrough’; Hear a star twinkle
New Scientist Weekly #208Better and cheaper treatments for everything from sickle cell disease to ageing should come as a result of a new technique for delivering mRNA to blood stem cells. The technique has been adapted from the technology in mRNA covid-19 vaccines and could even be used for doping in sport.Controversial claims of a superconductor that works at room temperature and pressure have ignited heated discussion this week. Such a finding would be revolutionary, with implications for transport, medi...
2023-Jul-24 • 25 minutes
CultureLab: Oppenheimer – The rise and fall of the “father of the atomic bomb”
First J. Robert Oppenheimer created the weapon, then he fought for years to warn of its dangers. During the second world war, the so-called “father of the atomic bomb”, led a team of scientists in the US in a race against Nazi Germany to create the first nuclear weapon. Then it was used to kill thousands in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.In Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan’s new 3-hour blockbuster, the film focuses on the years that followed and how the physicist’s campaigning ultimately led to his downfall....
2023-Jul-21 • 30 minutes
Weekly: How to measure consciousness; Nature-made graphene; New sabretooth cats
New Scientist Weekly #206A major theory of consciousness is being put to the test with brain scans. Integrated information theory proposes a value called "phi" to represent consciousness and in a new experiment, it seems to work. Does the discovery bring us any closer to solving the elusive “hard problem” of neuroscience? Graphene has been hailed as a super material since its synthesis in 2004. But, unbeknownst to us, nature has long-been producing graphene, right under our noses. Understanding natural...
2023-Jul-17 • 20 minutes
Dead Planets Society #1: Kill The Sun
The sun is the centre of our solar system, the parent body to all the planets, unquestionably the most important cosmic object for life on Earth. But what if we were to destroy it?It turns out that is easier said than done. In the premier episode of the Dead Planets Society podcast, our hosts Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte resort to extreme methods in their quest to put out the sun. They learn that adding a giant ball of water to the equation will only provide more fuel for the fire, stret...
2023-Jul-14 • 29 minutes
Weekly: JWST’s amazing year; Giant sloth jewellery; $1million mathematics prize
New Scientist Weekly #205Following a year of incredible, awe-inspiring images from deep space, the team is celebrating the 1st birthday of the James Webb Space Telescope. They reflect on the amazing discoveries so far, and look at how JWST will alter our understanding of the universe.From this summer, the International Seabed Authority will be considering licences for deep sea mining, despite the fact that no set of rules has been agreed upon to govern it. At this critical time, the team explores new resear...
2023-Jul-11 • 20 minutes
CultureLab: Earth’s Deep History: Chris Packham on the epic and tumultuous story of our planet
Our world has led a long, sometimes tumultuous, and always complicated life. Over the last four billion years, Earth’s geology has changed radically and dramatically.Earth, a new five-part BBC documentary narrated by naturalist Chris Packham, tells the story of this change by looking at significant moments in the planet’s history - from the dramatic moment when nearly all life on Earth was wiped out, to the end of the dinosaurs and the rise of humanity.In this episode, Chris explains why he was drawn to wor...
2023-Jul-07 • 24 minutes
Weekly: Earth breaks heat records; Quantum LiDAR for self-driving cars; Cryptography in pre-Viking runic writing
New Scientist Weekly #203July has become a record-busting month. In fact, this month has seen the hottest global average temperatures ever recorded on Earth. With heat waves hitting the US and the UK coast, the team finds out what’s driving temperatures to such extremes.Driverless cars could someday go quantum. LiDAR, a light-detection device used in driverless cars to help them navigate, could be replaced by quantum light, or photons. The team explains how this would make driverless cars better at navigati...
2023-Jun-30 • 30 minutes
Weekly: New era in gravitational astronomy; Upending stereotypes of women in hunter-gatherer societies; Orangutan beatboxing and human speech origins
New Scientist Weekly #202In a potentially era-defining scientific breakthrough, we are now able to detect some of the biggest objects in the cosmos. Researchers have figured out how to use gravitational waves and dead stars to locate supermassive black holes. The team says this discovery could revolutionise our understanding of the origins of the universe.It’s often assumed that men in hunter-gatherer societies did the hunting, and women did the gathering. But that’s just plain wrong. Archaeological finds a...
2023-Jun-22 • 30 minutes
Weekly: The truth behind the orca uprising; Earth enters uncharted territory; genetic treatments for unborn babies.
New Scientist Weekly #201A new therapy is being used to treat a rare genetic disorder in babies, before they’ve even been born. The condition, called X-linked ectodermal dysplasia, which only affects boys, leaves them with few teeth, sparse hair and no sweat glands. The team learns about a groundbreaking technique which delivers a key protein to the fetus through the amniotic fluid.With extreme marine heatwaves currently hitting the UK and Ireland - and as temperatures climb with the arrival of El Niño - 20...
2023-Jun-15 • 22 minutes
Weekly: Claims that secret alien technology is held in the US; link between gut bacteria and intelligence; the parasite that makes ants live longer
New Scientist Weekly #200Always trust your gut! A recent study shows that the composition of our gut microbiome may be directly linked to our overall intelligence, with certain bacteria, perhaps, influencing brain size; other bacteria, not so much. Alexandra Thompson discusses these remarkable findings with the team. Cephalopods have some extraordinary capabilities, and new research conducted by Joshua Rosenthal at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts reveals that they can even edit...
2023-Jun-13 • 18 minutes
#199 Being Human: Lewis Dartnell on how our biology shapes our actions
Are humans the product of their environment, or do we shape the world around us? Lewis Dartnell, author of a series of books which explores this very question, sits down with culture and comment editor Alison Flood to discuss his most recent publication, Being Human.Lewis delves into the extraordinary role played by our biology in driving our behaviours and shaping our history. By re-examining elements of our daily lives that we commonly accept without question, he offers a fresh perspective, viewing them t...
2023-Jun-08 • 21 minutes
#198 Giant: An opera about the legacy of the ‘Irish giant’ Charles Byrne and the surgeon John Hunter
Welcome to CultureLab, from New Scientist podcasts. In this episode, culture and comment editor Alison Flood speaks with composer Sarah Angliss. Sarah has written a new opera called Giant, which is based on the true story of the 18th-century “Irish giant” Charles Byrne, who had an undiagnosed benign tumour of his pituitary gland which caused him to grow to be 2.31m tall. Byrne’s corpse was stolen and later put on public display by the surgeon John Hunter, despite his explicit wishes to be buried at sea...
2023-Jun-08 • 29 minutes
#197 Ancient human Homo naledi had advanced culture; AI passes the world’s biggest Turing Test; climate change hits New York
A species of ancient human with a brain the size of a chimpanzee’s is upending what we thought we knew about human cognition and culture. Recent findings from Lee Berger and his team of palaeontologists suggest our extinct relative, Homo naledi, may have engraved symbols on cave walls and deliberately buried its dead. These people lived some 300,000 years ago and the team discusses the dramatic new findings.Air quality across northern parts of the United States, including New York City, has reached dangerou...
2023-Jun-05 • 28 minutes
#196 Animal Liberation Now: Peter Singer on eating and living ethically
What does it mean to eat and live ethically in today’s world? In 1975, Australian philosopher Peter Singer published his landmark book Animal Liberation, in which he advocated for a vegan diet and the improved treatment of animals, sparking a global movement for animal rights. Almost 50 years on, amid scientific and ethical advancements, Singer has released an updated version of his book: Animal Liberation Now.New Scientist reporter Madeleine Cuff asks Singer how his views on eating ethically have...
2023-Jun-01 • 24 minutes
#195 Breakthrough in suspended animation; treatment using stem cells from umbilical cord; moon dust threat
Suspended animation - the stuff of science-fiction, or a real-world solution to surviving long voyages into deep space? Actually it’s neither, but researchers have now successfully induced hibernation in mice and rats, suggesting that the same may be possible for humans... The team explores what this could mean for future medical treatments.Sand martins – known as bank swallows in North America - have returned to their breeding grounds. Ornithologist Bill Haines takes Rowan under his wing at the London Wetl...
2023-May-26 • 32 minutes
#194 Rewilding special: a night in the beaver pen at the rewilded Knepp Estate
The world is undergoing a catastrophic biodiversity crisis, and the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. The problems are big, but there are solutions. On this special episode of the show, host Rowan Hooper reports from the Knepp Estate in southern England, a large estate owned by Isabella Tree and Charlie Burrell, who have become pioneers in the rewilding movement. Rowan spent the night wild camping in the beaver enclosure and being serenaded by nightingale...
2023-May-25 • 29 minutes
#193 Drug that could cure obesity; world’s largest organism; octopus dreams; mood-enhancing non-alcoholic drink
A new class of drugs that can reliably help you lose weight are generating great excitement in the fight against obesity - and Elon Musk and Hollywood actors have been using them too. Weight-loss scientists have developed hormone-mimicking injections that can reduce body fat by 20 per cent... and the team discuss how it works.  The world’s largest organism is not the blue whale. In fact, Pando the aspen grove in Utah weighs 35 times more than a blue whale and has lived for thousands of years. The ...
2023-May-18 • 18 minutes
#192 Life-extending mutation; Kangaroo poo transplant for cows; irregular sleep linked to increased risk of death
Want to live 20 percent longer? Well, it may be possible in the future thanks to a new discovery. A life-extending mutation has been found in mice, and the team explains how its benefits can be transferred by transplanting blood stem cells. But will it work in humans?Cows’ burps are a big problem for global warming - but could kangaroo poo be the solution? We hear about a novel new idea to replace the bacteria in cows’ stomachs.A special kind of particle that can remember its past has been created using a q...
2023-May-11 • 18 minutes
#191 Special episode: the most mind-bending concepts in science
On this bonus episode of the podcast we present a guide on how to think about some of the most important and mind-bending concepts in science, from artificial intelligence to mental health, from nutrition to virtual particles. It all comes from a special How To Think About issue of New Scientist that is out now – the team discuss some of the things it covers. Other topics include consciousness, wormholes, ageing, origins of life, quantum gravity, and even happiness. Make yourself happy subscribing to our po...
2023-May-11 • 28 minutes
#190 Problems for lab-grown meat; do we need vitamin D supplements?; waking the sleeping Arctic ocean; fish sing for Eurovision
Lab-grown meat may be cruelty free, but is it really better for the environment? Not at the moment. In fact, the team finds out how it’s up to 25 times worse than normal meat. And with prices still astronomically high, will it ever become a viable replacement?Are we waking up the sleeping Arctic ocean? Melting sea ice from rising global temperatures is having a knock on effect on one of the Arctic’s major ocean currents, the Beaufort Gyre. Rowan speaks to earth scientists Harry Heorton and Michel Tsamados o...
2023-May-04 • 23 minutes
#189 Spinal cord stimulation: bringing movement back to paralysed stroke survivors
Spinal cord stimulation has, for the first time, been shown to help two people with upper body paralysis due to stroke regain some arm movement. To find out how this groundbreaking technology works, New Scientist health reporter Grace Wade speaks to two researchers who helped conduct this research - Nikhil Verma at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Erynn Sorensen at the University of Pittsburgh.She also speaks to Heather, one of the study’s participants, who explains the emotio...
2023-May-04 • 22 minutes
#188 Consciousness measured at point of death; the lifeform with seven genomes; impact of Covid on the gut
From bright lights at the end of a tunnel, to hearing dead loved ones, there are many common sensations related to near death experiences. But what’s going on in the brain to cause them? The team hears about a signal measured in the brains of people just before they died.Aliens may make contact with Earth as early as 2029. That’s the theory at least. The team explains how some of NASA’s deep space spacecraft could be used to beam back messages from distant planets.For the first time an organism has been dis...
2023-Apr-28 • 13 minutes
#187 CultureLab: The Power of Trees with Peter Wohlleben
As humans are responsible for the devastation of the world’s forests, surely it’s our job, then, to step in and make things right? Well, not according to German forester and best-selling author Peter Wohlleben.In his latest book ‘The Power of Trees’, he argues that forestry management, tree planting, and the exploitation of old growth forests is ecologically disastrous, and that trees and forests need to be left to heal themselves.In this episode of CultureLab, New Scientist culture and comment editor Aliso...
2023-Apr-27 • 29 minutes
#186 Private space company crashes on the moon; hypnotherapy as anaesthetic; record-breaking ocean warming; Rosalind Franklin and DNA
With SpaceX’s Starship blowing up, and ispace’s lander crashing into the moon, in the last week two of the most exciting missions of the year have failed. The team finds out what went wrong, and how long it’ll be until these missions can try again.Fish farts and genital stridulation - the team shares a beautiful underwater soundscape of British ponds, recorded using a hydrophone. They learn about the daily acoustic activity cycles of ponds, and find out why researchers are collecting these sounds.Hypnosis i...
2023-Apr-26 • 19 minutes
#185 CultureLab: Cosmo Sheldrake on capturing the sounds of our oceans
Have you ever stopped to think about what life underwater sounds like? Well, now is your chance to hear it first-hand as multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, Cosmo Sheldrake, has released a collection of music composed entirely out of recordings from our oceans and the animals that inhabit them. 'Wild Wet World' has been a decade in the making and features the sounds of humpback whales singing, oyster toadfish grunting and haddock drumming. In this episode of the CultureLab podcast from N...
2023-Apr-23 • 14 minutes
#184 Dead Ringers TV review: Revolutionising the future of reproductive health
Based on the 1988 David Cronenberg film, the new six-part TV series Dead Ringers tells the story of identical twin doctors - played by Rachel Weisz - as they explore innovations in childbirth and fertility.In this bonus episode of the podcast, our TV columnist Bethan Ackerley speaks to the show's lead writer, Alice Birch, about how she took on Cronenberg’s twisted tale, why it was important to include graphic and realistic depictions of birth in the series, and about the emerging medical technologies that p...
2023-Apr-20 • 18 minutes
#183 How To Blow Up A Pipeline film review: Is it time for more radical climate activism?
With action on climate change moving so slowly, is it time for more radical activism? Have we been left with no option but to use sabotage and property destruction as a way to protect our planet? Those are the questions a new film, How To Blow Up A Pipeline, aims to get you thinking about. Based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Swedish academic Andreas Malm, the film leaves viewers questioning whether sabotaging an oil pipeline is a logical form of climate activism. In this bonus episode...
2023-Apr-20 • 28 minutes
#182 3D-printing inside living organisms; what ChatGPT means for human intelligence; why insects fly towards light; carbon storage in the oceans
We’ve all seen the moths gather around the kitchen light or campfire flame at night, but have you ever wondered why they’re drawn to it? Well, there are loads of theories, but the team explores a brand new one which suggests insects don’t come seeking the light, but are instead imprisoned by it.Life finds a way. Even amid the vast swathe of plastic and junk in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, creatures have set up home, thousands of miles from their natural habitats. Is this a reassuring sign of adaptabilit...
2023-Apr-13 • 30 minutes
#181 New York goes quantum; a tipping point in human culture; JUICE mission to Jupiter
How many people can we physically feed on Earth? As the global population is predicted to reach 11 billion by the end of the century, do we have enough land to feed all those mouths? The team discusses the safest ways to feed the world, and finds out the absolute limit of Earth’s capacity.You know those fetching tunics Stone Age people wore? Well, we may have figured out how they stitched them together. The team discusses the discovery of a 40,000 year old horse (or bison) bone, and what it tells us about a...
2023-Apr-06 • 22 minutes
#180 Maximum human lifespan; a twist on a classic physics experiment; saving the kākāpō
How long can a human live for? The world record is 122 years, and while some people believe our bodies aren’t capable of surpassing that, a new theory suggests we could see the record broken in a decade’s time. The team explains how this could be possible.An upgraded version of the classic double-slit experiment has observed how light interacts through differences in time rather than space. Researchers used a special type of material in the experiment, which the team says could be used to make time crystals...
2023-Mar-30 • 31 minutes
#179 Black holes older than time; nine animals to save the climate; the largest creature ever to walk the Earth
Sea otters, American bison and grey wolves are among nine groups of animals that could help fight climate change. The team discusses the various attributes that make these groups particularly impactful, and they explain what we’d need to do to help populations grow.An ancient supermassive black hole that formed in the early moments of the universe has been spotted by the James Webb Space Telescope. The team explains how it might’ve formed so early into the universe’s existence - and they discuss the mind-bo...
2023-Mar-23 • 28 minutes
#178 Botox affects your understanding of emotions; GPT-4 exhibits human-level intelligence; IPCC climate change report 2023
As countries continue dragging their feet on emissions reductions, the latest  synthesis report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is another call to arms, warning of catastrophic impacts of climate change. The team digs into the report and asks whether the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C is now beyond reach.ChatGPT’s successor GPT-4 is here, and excitement is brewing as the language model has begun to demonstrate signs of artificial general intelligence, when machines demonstr...
2023-Mar-21 • 18 minutes
#177 Field report from the High Arctic: polar bears and melting glaciers in Svalbard
In this bonus episode, join host Rowan Hooper as he ventures to Svalbard, the Norwegian archipelago in the far north, just 1000 km from the North Pole. The Arctic is warming far faster than any other region on the planet, making Svalbard an incredible natural laboratory to study climate change, and particularly, melting glaciers. Svalbard is also home to a large population of the world’s largest land carnivore, the polar bear. Rowan speaks with Jon Aars of the Norwegian Polar Institute about the fate o...
2023-Mar-16 • 28 minutes
#176 Human organoids are new AI frontier; Listening to the big bang through the cosmic microwave background
Brainoids - tiny clumps of human brain cells - are being turned into living artificial intelligence machines, capable of carrying out tasks like solving complex equations. The team finds out how these brain organoids compare to normal computer-based AIs, and they explore the ethics of it all.Sickle cell disease is now curable, thanks to a pioneering trial with CRISPR gene editing. The team shares the story of a woman whose life has been transformed by the treatment.We can now hear the sound of the afterglow...
2023-Mar-15 • 25 minutes
#175 Living Off-Earth: Ethical questions for living in outer space with Erika Nesvold
Whether it’s on the Moon, Mars or somewhere even more distant, we may see human settlements in space in our lifetime. But when we do, will we be prepared?Alongside all the concerns of whether we should even be considering moving out to space, there are a lot of ethical considerations that need to be thought about too. How do you govern the new societies you’re forging? How do you hold the leaders accountable? How do we learn from and avoid the mistakes we’ve made on Earth? In this bonus episode of the ...
2023-Mar-09 • 27 minutes
#174 Finding the universe’s missing matter; saving babies’ lives by sequencing their genomes; the earliest horse riders - the latest news in science
Matter we’ve long thought missing from galaxies has finally been found. Great news…except there’s one catch. It turns out that perhaps this matter should be missing, based on our understanding of the way young galaxies form. So what’s going on? The team finds out where and how this matter was found, and what it means for our understanding of galaxies.A life-saving trial is sequencing the entire genomes of extremely sick babies. The team learns how the trial worked, and hears from one mother whose son made a...
2023-Mar-02 • 28 minutes
#173 Understanding chronic health conditions; Artificial sweetener linked to heart attacks; Re-thinking galaxies; UN geoengineering report
As millions of people around the world suffer from long covid, research into how viruses trigger chronic health conditions is getting a lot more focus. The team explores the role of viruses in both chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and touch on our latest understanding of long covid.Our understanding of how galaxies form could be entirely wrong. Huge young galaxies seen by the James Webb Space Telescope seem far too massive to have formed so early on in the universe’s history. The team explains how...
2023-Feb-28 • 18 minutes
#172 Bio-electric special: how the electricity inside you shapes your body and your health
On this bonus episode of the podcast, host Rowan Hooper sits down with New Scientist magazine editor Cat de Lange, and science journalist Sally Adee to talk about the wonders of the electrome: the natural electricity that courses through our bodies. Most of us know that we rely on bioelectricity in our brains and nervous systems, for processing information and sending signals to and from the brain, but bioelectricity also plays vital roles how we develop in the womb and how our bodies heal after injury...
2023-Feb-23 • 25 minutes
#171 Earth’s mysterious “dark biome” and the search for life on Mars; Quantum computers; Judge Dredd predicts the future - the latest news in science
While testing samples in the Atacama desert, a region of Earth with very similar rocks to those on Mars, astrobiologists have discovered a mysterious “dark biome” of organisms we’ve never seen before. With sample missions taking place on Mars itself, the team discusses what we might find.Bow and arrows were first used in Europe much earlier than we thought. 54,000 year old arrowheads have been discovered in a rock shelter in the south of France. The team finds out what they were used for, and about the inge...
2023-Feb-20 • 23 minutes
#170 How Venice is confronting climate change and adapting to the rising seas
Venice, Italy, is often voted the world’s most beautiful city. Built across 120 small islands in a shallow lagoon, it’s been an important financial and cultural centre for over a thousand years. But it faces an existential threat from sea level rise caused by climate change.Rowan Hooper visits the city’s new water defence system – a €6 billion sea barrier designed to defend Venice against high tides. But what does the barrier mean for the ecology of the lagoon, and what about people living on coasts around ...
2023-Feb-16 • 29 minutes
#169 Why the US is shooting down UFOs; the science behind period cravings; saving the UK’s rivers
The UK’s rivers are in a dire state. Full of sewage, chemicals and prescription drugs, life in our rivers is suffering. New Scientist has teamed up with the i newspaper to launch the Save Britain’s Rivers campaign to raise awareness of the issue and get changes in the law. The team explores the problem, which includes question marks over illegal activity, and explains the aims of the campaign.UFOs are on our radar, quite literally, as US fighter jets have suddenly been tasked with blowing them out of the sk...
2023-Feb-13 • 17 minutes
#168 Polar Sounds: Rare underwater noises from the Arctic and Antarctic
Hear the chattering sounds of a narwhal, the surprisingly tuneful tones of singing sea ice, and the alarming crashes of ice shelves collapsing in this special bonus episode of the podcast. These rare noises, captured by hydrophones in the Arctic and Antarctic, paint a fascinating image of two of our planet’s lesser-known regions. Rowan Hooper catches up with Stuart Fowkes, the founder of Cities and Memory, one of the world’s biggest sounds projects, which has joined forces with scientists and musicians...
2023-Feb-09 • 20 minutes
#167 Bird flu in mammals, the cause of sunquakes, and the entropy of consciousness – the latest news in science
The continuing avian flu epidemic is devastating bird populations. And now there are concerns over increasing numbers of mammals becoming infected. As reports rise, the team finds out whether this strain of bird flu may begin to pose a bigger threat to humans.Everyone’s jumping on the AI chat bandwagon. As ChatGPT continues to make headlines, two big companies have just announced their contributions to the field. The team explains how both Google and Baidu are looking to change search engines as we know the...
2023-Feb-07 • 30 minutes
#166 Immune systems: Is yours weak or strong and how can you boost your immune system to fight disease?
The immune system is the intricate constellation of cells and molecules in our bodies that defends us against disease and on this special bonus episode of New Scientist Weekly we delve into the latest science on how the immune system works.Why do some people never seem to get ill? What was the effect of covid lockdowns on our immune system? Is it really possible to boost your immune system through eating certain foods? Do you have a naturally strong or weak immune system? And how can we ...
2023-Feb-02 • 25 minutes
#165 Water dowsing to detect leaks; Astroforge going asteroid mining; AI discovers new bacteria-killing proteins – the latest news in science
An ancient and debunked method of searching for water leaks is still being used by some of the UK’s water companies. The team finds out why water dowsing is still in practice, despite being scientifically discredited. But they also find out how it might actually work - just not in the way you think.People have sometimes complained that the chimps in the various Planet of the Apes films have unrealistic eyes - because they have whites around the iris, like humans. But it turns out real chimps actually do hav...
2023-Jan-30 • 19 minutes
#164 The Last of Us: the science of a fungal zombie apocalypse
The new HBO series The Last of Us is making waves, raking in a steady stream of high reviews. Based on a game of the same name, it’s set in a world where a parasitic fungus called Cordyceps has mutated to infect and zombify humans.In this bonus episode of the podcast, Bethan Ackerley asks if this could actually happen in real life. She’s joined by fungal pathogens expert Professor Matthew Fisher of Imperial College London. To read about these subjects, Beth’s review of The Last of Us, and much more, yo...
2023-Jan-26 • 23 minutes
#163 Antidepressants; Exoplanets; California’s megadroughts – the latest news in science
A vaccine for the respiratory virus RSV may be ready this year. In fact, after decades of efforts, successful vaccines have arrived like buses, with three of them on the way. As a particularly devastating virus for young children and the elderly, the team explains just how impactful these new vaccines will be.You may have read headlines that Earth’s core is changing direction - but the team explains why it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. They also bring less-than-thrilling news for the existence of life in...
2023-Jan-25 • 27 minutes
#162 How to trigger positive tipping points to tackle climate change
On this special episode of the show, host Rowan Hooper and environment reporter Madeleine Cuff chat with climate scientist Tim Lenton of the University of Exeter.Tim has just contributed to a research paper that suggested governments could trigger a mass shift to plant-based diets, simply by serving more vegan burgers in schools and hospitals. We discuss with Tim the power of leveraging so-called positive tipping points to bring about large-scale change.Topics in a wide-ranging and fascinatin...
2023-Jan-23 • 19 minutes
#161 What they don’t tell you about the climate crisis with Assaad Razzouk
In this bonus episode of the podcast, hear Rowan Hooper’s extended interview with Assaad Razzouk, author of Saving the Planet Without the Bullshit: What they don’t tell you about the climate crisis.For a refreshing take on the climate crisis, find out why Assaad believes we need to feel less guilty about our personal actions when it comes to tackling climate change. In this episode he argues things like going vegan and flying less are just distractions, and explains where he believes the real battle lies.To...
2023-Jan-19 • 27 minutes
#160 Rejuvenation treatments; world to breach 1.5 degrees of global heating
A cure for ageing, without the price-tag? It might sound too good to be true, but the team digs into new evidence that shows low-frequency ultrasound may rejuvenate cells in our body which are thought to cause age-related diseases. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is missing half of its matter - and the team asks where it’s all gone. They also discuss NASA’s ShadowCam which has taken pictures of Shackleton Crater on the south pole of the Moon, a region of particular interest if humans are to settle on the Lu...
2023-Jan-16 • 19 minutes
#159 Aboriginal stories describe ancient climate change and sea level rise in Australia
In this bonus episode of the podcast, hear an extended interview with Cassie Lynch, a descendent of the Noongar people of south west Australia who’s been studying their storytelling tradition.Find out how ancient accounts of rising sea levels from the end of the ice age around 7000 years ago have been passed down through aboriginal stories. And discover what we can learn from the events of the past in surviving the current climate crisis.Interviewing Cassie is writer and theatre maker David Finnigan. Find o...
2023-Jan-12 • 17 minutes
#158 Exxon’s 1970s predictions for climate change were super accurate
Scientists working for oil giant Exxon between 1977 and 2003 accurately predicted the pace and scale of climate change and warned of the harm of burning fossil fuels, while firm’s executives played down the risk. Now Exxon’s quantitative climate projections have been assessed for the first time. On this special episode of the podcast, host Rowan Hooper discusses the Exxon science with New Scientist environment reporter Madeleine Cuff, and climate scientist Peter Stott. Peter is the author of Hot Air, T...
2023-Jan-12 • 25 minutes
#157 Computer lawyer takes first court case; brains speed up with age
Will artificial intelligence replace lawyers in the future? The team learns about a new, chat-bot style bit of tech that fights your legal battles for you, and is about to be tested in a real court room. But is it ethical, or even legal?Gibbons love to sing, but what we’ve just learnt is male and female gibbons also enjoy belting out synchronised musical duets. The team plays some of these delightful sounds, and finds out what this tells us about the evolution of rhythmic capabilities in humans.There’s good...
2023-Jan-05 • 26 minutes
#156: What you need to know in science and culture for 2023
To see in the New Year, host Rowan Hooper and the team look ahead to their science and cultural highlights for the coming months.We start with 2 big planetary science missions due for launch in 2023. JUICE, which will be visiting Jupiter to study some of its moons, and Psyche, which is making a journey to an asteroid made completely of iron.With covid still causing a huge burden of disease around the world, we find out how treatment of the disease is set to evolve this year, and what we can expect from the ...
2022-Dec-25 • 27 minutes
#155: Our five favourite New Scientist long-reads from 2022
A holiday special of the podcast and a free-gift giveaway this week, as we celebrate five of New Scientist’s best front-page features of 2022. As well as discussing the features and why they chose to tackle them, the team chats about the beautiful cover artwork for each story.First up is the news that AI is helping to decode the lost stories of ancient Mesopotamia, revealing the secrets of ancient cuneiform texts - the world’s first known writing.Next are the blips recorded by the Large Hadron Collider whic...
2022-Dec-21 • 31 minutes
#154: News review 2022 - stand-out moments and funniest stories
Recorded live online for New Scientist subscribers, in this holiday special the team takes you through their stand out moments of the year, the funniest stories to hit the headlines, and their hopes for 2023 - and they answer questions from the audience too.For stand-out highlights of 2022, the team discusses Deepmind and its transformative AI AlphaFold which predicted the structures of most known proteins. They celebrate the successes of the James Webb Space Telescope and a recent nuclear fusion experiment...
2022-Dec-15 • 34 minutes
#153: Fusion breakthrough; COP15 report; Shakespeare and climate change
There’s been an exciting breakthrough in nuclear fusion. For the first time on Earth, a controlled fusion reaction has generated more power than it requires to run, bringing us closer than ever before to a viable way of producing clean energy for the world. So, what’s the catch? The team finds out.The New Scientist team reports from a worryingly quiet COP15. It’s hoped the biodiversity conference will be an opportunity to set ambitious global goals for nature, to reach the goal of restoring it by 2030. But ...
2022-Dec-07 • 31 minutes
#152 Ancient species of human could control fire; complete brain map of fly
An extinct species of ancient human may have been much more advanced than we first realised. First discovered 10 years ago, Homo neladi had a brain about a third the size of ours and yet it may have done complex things like burying its dead and controlling fire. The team learns about the latest finding from the Rising Star cave near Johannesburg.Mars has long been described as geologically dead, but new evidence shows it may still be volcanically active. The team learns about a new theory which might explai...
2022-Dec-01 • 26 minutes
#151 COP15: the meeting to save life on Earth; anti-ageing properties of urine
Following repeated delays, the COP15 biodiversity conference is finally going ahead. On December 7th representatives from most of the countries in the world will meet to reach an agreement on how to address the global biodiversity crisis. There’s already a draft agreement in place, and the team explains the ambitions it lays out. But is this event likely to move the needle?A species of rat which should have gone extinct has somehow managed to keep going - and now we know why. In a story worthy of Margaret A...
2022-Nov-24 • 26 minutes
#150 Megadrought in the US; how to move an elephant
The southwestern US is currently in the midst of a megadrought - the worst in 1200 years. And it has put the Colorado River in crisis, an essential source of water for more than 40 million people. Can it be saved? Chelsea Whyte investigates.The team unveils the fun new names that have been chosen to define incomprehensibly massive and incredibly tiny numbers. These prefixes describe measurements that have more than 27 zeroes, created as part of the International System of Units.Like mac and cheese but hate ...
2022-Nov-17 • 32 minutes
#149 COP27 treaty emerges; a method to discover wormholes
Cheering greeted Brazil’s president-elect, Lula da Silva, when he appeared at COP27 this week. Madeleine Cuff brings us a report from the climate conference in Egypt, where Lula has made bold promises to protect the Amazon. She also tells us what we can expect from this year’s draft treaty - and why the text has been causing quite a stir.There’s plenty going on in Space, with NASA’s Artemis mission now finally launching to the Moon. And the news that we may be able to look for wormholes (if they exist). The...
2022-Nov-10 • 28 minutes
#148 Climate action from COP27; world population reaches 8 billion
Warnings over the world’s mad dash to create new supplies of fossil fuels, discussions about climate loss and damage, and talk about nature-based solutions. COP27 in Egypt is in full swing. Our reporter Madeleine Cuff brings us the latest, direct from Sharm el Sheikh.This week’s Sci-fi alert is the unusual discovery of a star with a solid surface. The team explains how on this magnetar (the dense corpse of an exploded star), gravity would be immense and time would behave really weirdly - that’s if you’d be ...
2022-Nov-07 • 11 minutes
#147 The oldest yew trees in Europe – and how to save them
In a special episode of the podcast, host Rowan Hooper visits Newlands Corner in the North Downs in southern England, the site of one of the oldest and most significant populations of wild yews growing anywhere in the world.Yew trees are familiar from churchyards and are also revered by pagans and shamans. They can live for many hundreds of years. The grove at Newlands Corner is an exceptional ecosystem, with yews over 1000 years old, but they are declining, losing their needles and slowly dying. Rowan meet...
2022-Nov-03 • 22 minutes
#146 Accelerated end to fossil fuel; double discovery on Mars
Spurred on by the war in Ukraine, we’re seeing a worldwide shift to green energy, with the global demand of fossil fuels now expected to peak in 15 years - a dose of optimism ahead of COP27. The climate conference kicks off in Egypt on November 6, and the team brings a round-up of what we can expect. Maddie and Rowan also discuss their recent visit to the London Literature Festival, where they saw Greta Thunberg speak.‘Marsquakes’ studied by NASA’s InSight lander suggest Mars may still be volcanically activ...
2022-Oct-27 • 22 minutes
#145 COP27 climate summit preview; unexpected animal sounds
It’s already been a year since COP26, with its successor COP27 gearing up to begin on 6 November. 12 months on from some big pledges, the team finds out how much action has actually been taken, and whether this next climate conference is set to move the needle further.Quacks, barks and farts; listen out for some intriguing and unexpected animal sounds. The team shares the newly discovered vocalisations of some animals, like turtles and lungfish, that we previously thought were silent.Turmeric has become an ...
2022-Oct-23 • 26 minutes
#144 Geoengineering plan to slow the melt of arctic ice
An extended bonus episode of the podcast, where we learn more about proposals to slow the rate of ice loss in Greenland - and if it works, in Antarctica - using a local form of geoengineering. Host Rowan Hooper speaks to glaciologist John Moore and environmental social scientist Ilona Mettiäinen, both from the University of Lapland in Finland.They discuss the proposal, which involves building a giant, submerged curtain to stop warm sea water getting underneath the ice sheet. They explore the funding an...
2022-Oct-20 • 26 minutes
#143 Bird flu sweeps UK; secrets of the Neanderthal family
Wild bird populations have been devastated by an avian flu variant that’s sweeping the UK - and more than 3.5 million captive birds have been culled. It’s expected to be the worst winter on record for avian flu - and the team finds out why.Female robins sing just as much, and just as beautifully, as their male counterparts. It might sound like a no-brainer, but we’ve only just found this out, which the team explains is due to a male bias in ornithology. They share songs from both a male and female robin, an...
2022-Oct-17 • 18 minutes
#142: We need to talk about mental health and climate change
In 2022, for the first time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change included mental health as part of its assessment of the impacts of climate change. Conditions such as anxiety, stress and post traumatic stress disorder are all predicted to increase as temperatures rise and people experience extreme weather events. To mark World Mental Health Day (Monday 10th October), Rowan spoke to ‘Losing Eden’ author Lucy Jones, and energy and climate scientist Gesche Huebner, to find out how the climate and nat...
2022-Oct-13 • 30 minutes
#141 Energy threat to international security; a new form of multiplication
The climate crisis is as great a threat to energy security as Russia’s war on Ukraine, warns the World Meteorological Organization. The team finds out what sort of threats we’re talking about, and discusses potential solutions.Imagine looking up at the skyline, ready to take in a beautiful sunset, and there it is - a massive, Moon-sized advert, stretched out across the skyline. The team explains how it might be possible (and practical) to do it soon.The erect-crested penguin is the least studied penguin in ...
2022-Oct-11 • 22 minutes
#140 New Scientist Live Ask-us-Anything bonus episode
At New Scientist Live we invited you to ask our journalists anything - and at two packed out sessions, you absolutely delivered.Recorded live from the smoke-filled Space Shed at the Engage stage, this is a highlights reel of some of the best questions we received. Everything from dark matter to plant consciousness, 3D printed food, elephant emotional intelligence and black holes.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Emily Wilson, Sam Wong, Abby Beall, Tim Revell, Cat de Lange and Karmela Padavic-Callaghan. To read a...
2022-Oct-06 • 29 minutes
#139 Gas leak impact on climate change; a new way to explain life
Exploding gas pipelines have signalled a new environmental disaster. Nord Stream 1 and 2 have both sprung leaks, with many assuming sabotage. With huge amounts of methane released into the atmosphere, the team examines the climate impact of the damage - and puts the leak into context. During the height of the covid-19 pandemic, male birth rates dipped, temporarily altering the normal gender ratio of babies. The team finds out why and how this happened.Feeling itchy? Researchers have been looking at mic...
2022-Sep-29 • 23 minutes
#138 UK government’s attack on nature; when you can’t stop laughing
The UK government is being accused of mounting an attack against nature. Environmental charities claim a raft of newly announced or rumoured plans are likely to cause harm to the environment for the sake of economic growth. The team unpacks these concerning decisions. When you catch yourself in a fit of giggles, have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to get your words out? Well, the team discusses new research into the phenomenon, which shows the battle that goes on in our brains during a bout of unco...
2022-Sep-22 • 27 minutes
#137 How to turn the shipping industry green; Enceladus passes habitability test
‘Get it Done’ is the theme for this year’s Climate Week in New York, with hundreds of events taking place across the city. Reporter James Dinneen is there, and brings us news about how to reduce the massive impact of the shipping industry on greenhouse gas emissions. NASA’s DART mission is the first real-world planetary defence mission. And on Monday a 500-kilogram satellite will smash into a small asteroid called Dimorphous to try and change its orbit. The team explains what the mission hopes to achie...
2022-Sep-15 • 24 minutes
#136 A step towards building artificial life; solar-powered slugs
Ribosomes are tiny protein-making factories found inside cells, and a crucial component of life. And now a team of scientists has figured out how to make them self-replicate outside of cells. Without getting all Mary Shelley, the team says this is a step towards creating artificial life.On a trip to the Isles of Scilly, Rowan found a spectacular lifeform of the week. On the shores of Porthcressa beach on St Mary’s island, he found a solar-powered sea slug, with the help of Scott and Samaya of Scilly Rockpoo...
2022-Sep-08 • 28 minutes
#135 The Amazon passes a tipping point; a place to live only 100 light years away
The Amazon rainforest may have passed the tipping point that will flip it into savannah. A new report suggests that large portions of the rainforest have been either degraded or destroyed, which could have disastrous consequences. The team hears from the Science Panel for the Amazon, who say we must step in now to support regeneration efforts. If you’re looking for a drummer for your new band, you might want to hire a chimp. The team hears recordings of chimps drumming on the buttresses of tree roots i...
2022-Aug-31 • 26 minutes
#134 Artemis moon mission; decoding the dreams of mice
The launch of NASA’s Artemis moon rocket didn’t go to plan this week. The team looks at the problems that stopped this long-awaited launch. And with the launch rescheduled for Saturday, they find out what the mission hopes to achieve. Deep below the surface of the Earth live nearly half of all microbes on the planet. While studying life in the deep biosphere is tough, the team shares an exciting development. Researchers have managed to find and analyse a type of heat-loving bacteria, called thermophile...
2022-Aug-24 • 26 minutes
#133 A treatment for food allergies; predicting earthquakes
There may be a way of treating, or even preventing, food allergies. A promising new trial has used a fat molecule called butyrate to treat peanut allergies in mice. The problem is, butyrate smells like dog poo, so the team finds out how researchers are getting around that issue. We’ve long thought earthquakes happen randomly, but that may not be the case. A new modelling technique using old records and machine learning shows we may be able to predict earthquakes, which could save millions of lives. The...
2022-Aug-17 • 29 minutes
#132 Impact of drought; monkeys using sex toys
Droughts in many parts of Europe are the worst in 500 years. Even as temperatures begin to cool and some rain begins to fall, it may be a long time till we’re out of the woods. The team explores the impact the droughts are having on things like food production, energy and transport, and wildlife.Monkeys use sex toys too - who knew? Long-tailed macaques in a Balinese sanctuary have figured out how to use stone tools to masturbate. The team finds out what’s going on…Radiation exposure is one of the biggest is...
2022-Aug-11 • 30 minutes
#131 Why thinking hard tires you out; game-changing US climate bill
The US is about to pass an historic piece of climate legislation. The Inflation Reduction Act allocates $370 billion to climate mitigation, and the team explores how that money will be spent - plus why some people think the bill holds us hostage to fossil fuel.Do you ever get embarrassed talking to Siri when you’re out in public? Well, the team learns about an experimental new piece of tech called EarCommand, which may make communicating with your virtual assistant less awkward.Thinking hard is tiring - and...
2022-Aug-04 • 34 minutes
#130 How to reverse death; Neil Gaiman on Sandman; AlphaFold and biology’s revolution; life in the multiverse with Laura Mersini-Houghton
A new type of artificial blood has been created which, in the future, could bring people back from the dead - or what we think of now as dead, at least. This special fluid has been shown to preserve the organs of dead pigs, long after what was previously thought possible - which the team says could be a game-changer for organ transplants. Rowan talks to legendary writer Neil Gaiman about the new Netflix series, out this week, based on his smash-hit Sandman comics. They also discuss the function of drea...
2022-Jul-28 • 45 minutes
#129 BlueDot special: Mysteries of the universe; stories of hope and joy; growing tiny human brains; solving global problems
Welcome to a special edition of the show recorded live at the bluedot music festival. On the panel are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper and Abby Beall, along with Emmy-nominated composer Hannah Peel and geoscientist and broadcaster Chris Jackson.With the awesome Lovell radio telescope dominating the sky above the festival, this episode begins with astronomy news, and in particular stories from the James Webb Space Telescope - including its mission to look at the atmosphere of rocky planets in the sear...
2022-Jul-21 • 23 minutes
#128 Extreme heatwaves; China’s space station launch; covid’s effects in pregnancy; a black hole symphony
Following scolding 40 degree record temperatures, it’s clear the UK is not set up to deal with such heat. But as extreme weather events become more common, how can we prepare for a hotter future? The team finds out, and looks to the US and Europe where hot temperatures are also wreaking havoc.China’s space plans are rocketing forward, as the country prepares to launch the second part of its space station into orbit on 24 July. With the third and final module due to launch in October, the team finds out what...
2022-Jul-14 • 28 minutes
#127: Pig hearts transplanted into dead people; James Webb Space Telescope gives best-ever view of the universe; boosting wheat genetics to feed the world
After the first pig-human transplant patient died just 2 months after receiving his new heart, researchers are now testing modified pig hearts by transplanting them into recently deceased people on life support. The team discusses a new experiment which has shown very promising results.NASA has revealed stunning images of deep-space captured by the James Webb Space Telescope - and there’s so much more to come. The team explains how the telescope is like a time machine, helping us to peer back into the early...
2022-Jul-07 • 30 minutes
#126: Are we stuck in a time loop? Legal action against climate change; covid fifth wave; time loop are we stuck?
Ten years since the discovery of the fabled Higgs boson, can the Large Hadron Collider ever make us that excited again? Physicists are now kind of bored by the Higgs - the hype has well and truly died down. So as the LHC kicks off its third period of operation, the team asks whether there will be anything new to get them fired up again.How do large hawks land without crashing? That’s what a team of researchers has been trying to find out. The team explains how their findings could help with future innovatio...
2022-Jun-30 • 29 minutes
#125: Poo transplants cure IBS; climate change shrinks the human niche; CRISPR babies; monkeypox latest
The world’s first CRISPR babies are now toddlers. Now, nearly four years since the super-controversial experiment was announced, scientists in China want to set up a healthcare institute specifically to look after the three children. The team examines the ethics of it all.Humans thrive at particular temperatures, and that’s why we live where we live. But these areas of optimal climate are shrinking because of climate change. As we’re on course to hit 2.7 degrees of warming by the end of the century, the tea...
2022-Jun-23 • 28 minutes
#124: Lopsided universe; solar activity affects heart health; hero rats trained for rescue missions
If you like things orderly, we have bad news for you - our universe is lopsided. Based on everything we know about gravity and the early universe, we’d expect galaxies to be distributed symmetrically - but they’re not. Something spooky’s going on, and the team searches for answers.The activity of the Sun may be affecting our heart health. Sometimes the weather on the Sun gets a little chaotic, and the team discusses new research that suggests these solar storms are messing with our heart rhythms, raising th...
2022-Jun-16 • 29 minutes
#123: ‘Sentient’ claim for Google AI; spacecraft spots starquakes; the rise of the mammals; hot brains
How will we know when we’ve made a truly sentient artificial intelligence? Well, one Google engineer believes we’re already there. The team discusses the story of Google’s very clever AI called LaMDA, and ask another chatbot, GPT3, what it would think if LaMDA was destroyed.Did you know stars have ‘earthquakes’ too? These starquakes have been spotted by the Gaia space observatory, which aims to build a 3D map of all the stars in our galaxy. It’s been collecting a phenomenal amount of data, and the team expl...
2022-Jun-09 • 27 minutes
#122: The science of Top Gun; the 1.5°C climate goal is out of reach; return to the moon; hepatitis mystery
While it may be technically possible to keep global heating to 1.5°C it’s really not very likely - at all. So why are we clinging to it? The team asks, when do we admit that 1.5°C is dead, and what will it mean when we do?NASA is about to launch its CAPSTONE spacecraft into lunar orbit, paving the way for its lunar space station. As a precursor to the Artemis mission to put people back on the moon, CAPSTONE is basically a test run, and the team explains its goals.Rowan’s been to see Top Gun: Maverick, and h...
2022-Jun-01 • 30 minutes
#121: Creation of artificial life; gene therapy saves children’s lives; new understanding of chronic pain
Synthetic cell membranes have been fused with protein machinery from living cells to create an artificial membrane. Could this be a precursor to the creation of artificial life? The team discusses its potential and limitations.Babies with severe genetic conditions are being cured by new gene replacement therapies, allowing them to overcome fatal diseases. There are a number of different treatments which have seen success, and the team finds out how they work. The DNA of two people who were killed by th...
2022-May-26 • 30 minutes
#120: DeepMind claims artificial intelligence breakthrough; searching for ancient life on Mars; Stonehenge surprise; monkeypox latest
DeepMind’s new artificial intelligence, Gato, is a step beyond anything we’ve seen before. But how close has it brought us to the coveted goal of creating ‘artificial general intelligence’? The team unpacks just how powerful this technology really is, and what it means for the future of machine consciousness.You can learn a lot from poop. In an archaeological detective story, 4500-year-old fossil excrement belonging to the people who built Stonehenge has been examined, and the team explains what it tells us...
2022-May-19 • 26 minutes
#119: How to tackle the global food crisis; rainforest animal orchestra; George Monbiot on humanity’s biggest blight
We’re in the middle of a global food crisis, brought on by a combination of the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and the war in Ukraine. As food prices rise and the world faces “hunger on an unprecedented scale”, the team looks for solutions.The health of an ecosystem can be measured through sound alone. The team discusses a new field of study called ecoacoustics which is being used to assess biodiversity, sharing sounds of an ‘animal orchestra’ recorded in the Brazilian rainforest.Rosie the Rocketeer (...
2022-May-12 • 29 minutes
#118: Heatwaves push limits of human tolerance; chemical computer to mimic brain; first non-human to practice medicine
It feels like temperature records are being broken almost daily. We’ve seen heatwaves already this year in Texas and Mexico, with forecast highs of 50oC set to hit Pakistan and India. As we edge closer to breaking 1.5 degrees of global warming in the next 5 years, Rowan speaks to climate scientist Vikki Thompson from the University of Bristol, to find out how heatwaves are pushing at the limits of what humans can cope with.Chemical computers have taken a step up. Lee Cronin and his colleagues at the Univers...
2022-May-05 • 26 minutes
#117: US threat to women’s health; saving the world with bacteria; Darwinian feminism and primate gender; invasion of the earthworms
Women’s abortion rights are under threat in the US. Leaked documents suggest the Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning the landmark Roe v Wade decision that protects the right to abortion. The team discusses the dramatic impact this move could have on women’s health.Eating microbes could save the world. The team examines a new study which found that substituting just a fifth of the meat in our diets with microbial proteins would more than halve global deforestation rates and related carbon emissions....
2022-Apr-28 • 32 minutes
#116: DNA from outer space; Devi Sridhar on covid lessons; climate change in an Oxford wood
Could life on Earth have an extraterrestrial origin? The team revisits this ancient theory as we’ve now found all four of the key building blocks of DNA on meteorites that are older than our planet.There may be a warning signal in our brains that helps us keep out unwanted thoughts. The team hears about the fascinating word-pairing method researchers used to identify this mechanism, and how the findings could help people with PTSD, OCD, and anxiety disorders.When we talk about climate change, we often think...
2022-Apr-21 • 29 minutes
#115: Quantum consciousness; next decade of space exploration; songs played on rat whiskers
What is consciousness? We’ve discussed many theories on the podcast, but in this episode the team explores a particularly bonkers one. Experiments with anaesthetics have hinted that something might be going on at the quantum level with microtubules in the brain. But is this finding enough?Ever wondered what a rainbow sounds like? Or perhaps what sounds a rat’s whiskers would make if played like a harp? Then wonder no longer! You can hear these sounds and more as the team speaks to musician and TV presenter ...
2022-Apr-14 • 18 minutes
#114: A message to aliens, phage therapy for acne, calibrating the world’s oldest computer
Two teams are developing messages to send into space, in the hope that some advanced alien civilization will be able to pick them up. While METI is sending music, Beacon in the Galaxy is sending more complex information, like Earth’s location - which as the team explains is rather controversial…Acne is usually treated using antibiotics, but as the issue of antibiotic resistance grows, researchers have been looking at alternative methods. The team discusses the promising early successes of phage therapy.Most...
2022-Apr-07 • 28 minutes
#113: Climate change: suing governments to cut emissions; shock discovery in particle physics; a new function for dreams
The latest major report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is out, and the message is clear. Time is running out to keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees. The report outlines the many ways we can make emissions cuts, one of which is through litigation. Hear from one of the report’s authors, Joana Setzer, who explores the growing use of legal action to challenge governments and corporations.Physicists are excited this week about a new finding that might challenge the standard model of part...
2022-Mar-31 • 26 minutes
#112: Gene therapy success; biodiversity talks; the genetics of blood sucking; the farthest star ever seen
A world-first gene therapy has been used to successfully treat a rare genetic skin disease. Referred to as “the worst disease you’ve never heard of”, the condition makes everyday living an ordeal. The team finds out how this new treatment works.Astronomers have detected a star more than 27 billion light years away - the most distant individual star we’ve ever seen. The team explains how this finding could shed light on what was going on in the early universe, ‘shortly’ after the Big Bang.In a bid to tackle ...
2022-Mar-24 • 28 minutes
#111: Antarctic and Arctic record-breaking heat; octopus brains insight; black hole paradox explained
Extreme weather events have been recorded at both of Earth’s polar regions, as the Arctic and Antarctic are hit by major heat waves. To put this into context, Rowan speaks with climate scientist and Hot Air author Peter Stott.How did octopuses get to be so clever? Their intelligence is unusual for an invertebrate, so researchers have been trying to track down what’s going on in their brains. The team examines new findings which suggest it has something to do with microRNAs.Black holes have always been myste...
2022-Mar-18 • 29 minutes
#110: Solution for Ukraine food crisis; why young blood rejuvenates; climate horror in Australia; Hannah Peel’s new music
As 10 percent of the world’s wheat comes from Ukraine, Russia’s attack on the country could spark global food shortages. But the team discuss a simple solution to the problem that could have knock-on benefits for climate and biodiversity.In vampire news, the team explains how we may have found the secret ingredient in young blood that causes it to have rejuvenating powers. This comes off the back of a 2012 study which saw old mice rejuvenated fur after being transfused with the blood of the young.Cases of c...
2022-Mar-11 • 32 minutes
#109: Ukraine war stokes energy crisis; emergency sounded over Amazon rainforest; secular intelligent design; mammalian virgin birth
The war in Ukraine has sparked an energy crisis, as European countries attempt to cut ties with Russia. The team discusses what this means for the future of energy production and how it may speed up our pivot to renewable energy. They also explore the growing concerns at various nuclear sites in Ukraine, as some have been seized by the Russians, while others have been damaged during the conflict.For the first time a virgin birth has taken place in a mammal - a female mouse has given birth without any input ...
2022-Mar-04 • 33 minutes
#108: Ukraine: health crisis and threat of nuclear war; IPCC report on limits to climate adaptation; Wuhan origin of covid
As the war in Ukraine intensifies, Vladimir Putin raised Russia’s nuclear readiness level. The team discusses what this means about the likelihood of nuclear war. They also explore the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the country.The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is out, and it focuses on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. We hear from Swenja Surminski, head of adaptation research at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.New studies into the star...
2022-Feb-25 • 33 minutes
#107: Ukraine invasion: cyberwar threat and effect on climate targets; Covid pandemic isn’t over; how we sense pain
Russia has begun its invasion of Ukraine, a move which will have far reaching consequences. The team discusses two of those - the first being western Europe’s reliance on oil and gas from Russia, and the knock-on effect on climate targets. The second is the threat of Russian cyberattacks on Ukraine, which could cause huge disruption to internet and IT services globally.The last remaining covid restrictions have been scrapped in England, as the Prime Minister announces the country’s ‘living with covid’ plan....
2022-Feb-18 • 30 minutes
#106: Saving children from cancer; new ways to remove greenhouse gases; brain growth in adults
Children with some of the most aggressive forms of cancer are being saved by a personalised medicine treatment programme in Australia. The Zero Childhood Cancer Program has saved more than 150 children who would’ve otherwise died. The team shares a moving interview with one of the parents. Lichens evolve even more slowly than you might think. The team examines new research into the abundant Trebouxia genus of lichen which appears to take around a million years to adapt to changing climate conditions.En...
2022-Feb-11 • 26 minutes
#105: Electrodes treat paralysis; first detected isolated black hole; the ancient human inhabitants of a French cave; breakthroughs in transplant organs from pigs; why you should pick up your dog’s poo
Three men paralysed from the waist down have regained their ability to walk. They’re the subjects of a breakthrough operation which involves implanting electrodes in the spine. The team explains how the method works.Astronomers have detected an isolated black hole for the first time ever. Despite being 5000 light years away and incredibly difficult to spot, the team explains how the Hubble Space Telescope was able to do it.A cave in France is providing us with an intriguing snapshot of human activity in Fra...
2022-Feb-04 • 29 minutes
#104: Gene variant for extreme old age, gravitational waves and dark matter, what fruit flies tell us about nature and nurture
The quest for a longer life continues - raising the question of whether we can escape death. The team discusses a rare gene variant that may explain why centenarians live so long - and how we might be able to use it to create age-defying drugs.The team explores a theory that suggests gravitational waves may be the thing that finally helps us detect dark matter - we just need to look for the ‘gravitational glint’.Spring is rolling around earlier and earlier. The team examines a new study which shows that sin...
2022-Jan-28 • 32 minutes
#103: How covid affects brain function; glacier loss on Svalbard; start of the Anthropocene; hottest life on Earth
Covid-19 can have profound consequences for the brain, and now we’re beginning to understand why. The team explains how the virus causes issues from strokes to muscle-weakness and brain-fog. We have names for all of Earth’s geological phases, and right now we’re in the Anthropocene… or are we? The epoch hasn’t actually been officially named, but the team says researchers are working on it. Rowan returns home from Norway with a story about melting glaciers in the Arctic circle. He speaks to Norwegi...
2022-Jan-21 • 28 minutes
#102: Living with covid; Tonga eruption; neutral atom quantum computers; phage therapy for superbugs; AI with Beth Singler
We’re being told we have to “learn to live with covid”, but what exactly does that mean? In this episode the team discusses how we live with flu and the measures we’ll need to take to prevent wave upon wave of covid-19 infections and deaths. There’s been a massive volcanic eruption in Tonga that’s caused widespread damage, and the team examines the impact it's having on the island nation. There’s more news in the race to build the world’s best quantum computer - the team finds out about a unique way of buil...
2022-Jan-14 • 33 minutes
#101: Man gets first pig heart transplant; robot therapy for mental health; omicron update; dolphin sexual pleasure
David Bennett has become the first person in history to have a pig to human heart transplant. Scientists have edited several genes to make this possible. On the pod, the team say that if it proves successful longer term, it could be a game-changer for medicine. In cetacean news, have you ever wondered why dolphins have so much sex? Patricia Brennan from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts has been studying dolphin clitorises, and shares her findings with the team. We now know much more about the omicron ...
2022-Jan-07 • 24 minutes
#100: New Scientist journalists pick out their scientific and cultural highlights for 2022
In this special episode the team looks ahead to the next 12 months, sharing the science and cultural events they’re most looking forward to in 2022. Highlights include the launch into orbit of SpaceX’s Starship, the opening of a new Stonehenge exhibition at The British Museum, the TV adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s novel ‘Life After Life’, and an innovative new breast cancer trial. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Adam Vaughan, Graham Lawton and Richard Webb. To read about thes...
2021-Dec-24 • 40 minutes
#99: The legendary New Scientist end-of-year holiday party and quiz
What a year 2021 has been. For our final podcast of the year, we’re signing off with a party and quiz. And as this is a Christmas special, this quiz delivers a sleigh-full of optimism, starting with a look at the ‘funniest science story of the year’. Other categories include ‘the story that made you feel small’, ‘life form of the year’, ‘hero of the year’ and ‘most surprising story’. Contestants also field questions from the audience and they share the story they’re most hoping for in 2022. Rowan Hooper is ...
2021-Dec-17 • 26 minutes
#98: Brain cells wired to the Matrix; omicron latest; how to make truly intelligent machines; the mysterious border between sleep and wake
In a step towards creating intelligent cyborg brains, Cortical Labs in Melbourne have trained lab-grown brain organoids to play a classic 1970s video game. The team explains how the brain cells live in a Matrix-like, simulated world, where all they know is Pong. And there’s more AI news, as the team digs into DeepMind’s invention of a ‘search engine’ style supercomputer, one much smaller than its competitors. The team discusses sleep, and how manipulating the hypnagogic phase of sleep can lead to bursts of ...
2021-Dec-10 • 28 minutes
#97: The latest on omicron; Don’t Look Up review; Steven Pinker on human rationality; the sound of melting glaciers
Omicron is spreading quickly and once again we’re facing another wave of infections and restrictions over the holiday period. The team says although it’s early days, we’re beginning to get a handle on why this covid-19 variant is so good at dodging immunity, and they unpack ‘misleading’ reports that it causes milder infections.  Climate journalist Emily Atkin joins the team to discuss Netflix’s new satire Don’t Look Up, which follows the story of two astronomers and their attempts to warn humanity of a...
2021-Dec-03 • 23 minutes
#96: What does the rise of omicron mean for us?; living robots able to reproduce; mini black holes and the end of the universe
Omicron, a new covid-19 variant of concern, has become the most common variant in South Africa and is spreading fast. The team examines fears that it may be more transmissible than the delta variant, and better at evading vaccines and immunity. Following research of 5000-year-old beer jars, the team finds out that Ancient Egyptians used to eat (or drink?) alcoholic beer porridge - seriously! Then they go back even further in time to discover the origins of water, and how new evidence suggests water first ar...
2021-Nov-26 • 26 minutes
#95: The origin of coronavirus; how red light boosts eyesight; deflecting asteroids; body chemical changes human behaviour
Where did covid-19 really come from? Well, the team explains why the wet market in Wuhan is back on top as the most likely place of origin. They also look ahead to the future of the pandemic, as the delta variant continues to run rampant across the globe. In eyesight news, forget carrots - if you want to improve your vision all you need (maybe) is some red light. The team digs into new research which shows that red light can boost mitochondrial activity in cells - but will it prove useful? The team get a li...
2021-Nov-19 • 28 minutes
#94: IBM’s huge quantum computer, Russia’s anti-satellite weapon, the verdict on COP26, AI predicting the next legal highs
The race for quantum supremacy continues, with IBM setting a new benchmark for processing power. But the new supercomputer hasn’t actually demonstrated its capabilities just yet - so will it really beat its competitors? The team shares the latest. They also report on Russia’s ‘dangerous’ anti-satellite weapon test, which sent fragments of satellite hurtling towards the International Space Station. They hear from founder of the popular science YouTube channel Kurzgesagt, Philipp Dettmer, about his new book I...
2021-Nov-12 • 37 minutes
#93: COP26 special, week 2: voices from the Global South; what does the Glasgow Accord look like - and where does it go from here on climate action
Young climate activists from nations bearing the brunt of climate change speak out. In this COP26 special, hear the moving and impassioned words of the young voices representing the plight of the Global South, as they demand action and reparations. As the climate summit comes to an end, the team in Glasgow reflect on their experiences of the event, and unpack the pledges and commitments that have been made. Ahead of the release of the official cover decision - the document that will outline the main outcome...
2021-Nov-05 • 34 minutes
#92: COP26 week 1 special from Glasgow; first Earthlings to go interstellar; genetically engineered microbes for our cells
It’s the most consequential climate meeting in a generation. COP26 is underway and we’re bringing you special episodes of the podcast featuring in-depth analysis and interviews. Reporter Graham Lawton is in Glasgow and shares his experiences of the event, discussing positive news about “game-changing” pledges to cut methane emissions. There have been many exciting pledges made at the event, and the team examines new analysis that suggests we could keep global warming under the 2 degrees mark if countries fo...
2021-Oct-28 • 25 minutes
#91: Earth heading for climate disaster; Kim Stanley Robinson looks to the future; hunt for aliens; Tesla worth $1 trillion
The Earth could be heading for disaster. In the lead up to COP26 the team discusses The Emissions Gap, a new UN report which has found that even if countries around the world stick to their emissions pledges, the planet will still warm by 2.7°C, which would be catastrophic. Legendary sci-fi writer Kim Stanley Robinson makes an appearance, discussing his climate heroes, thoughts on geoengineering and on the future of the planet. The team unveils the news that a signal from space that looked like it was sent ...
2021-Oct-21 • 29 minutes
#90: COP26 climate playlist; the science of Dune; life-saving treatment for children without immune systems; covid sweeps Iran
In rare cases children can be born without an immune system, and sadly their chances are very bad. Fortunately the team brings news of a life-saving implant which has now been approved for use in the US. If you’re thinking of seeing the new film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s epic novel Dune, you’ll want to hear the insights of ecosystem professor Yadvinder Malhi. Herbert was amazingly ahead of his time, anticipating the work of James Lovelock and the Gaia hypothesis, for example. The team hears about the w...
2021-Oct-14 • 22 minutes
#89: Climate-ready food of the future; the biology of poverty; deepfake audio; mystery cosmic signal; Captain Kirk in space
Breadfruit could help us weather the storm of climate change. The team hears how the tropical fruit is tough enough to survive Earth’s warming temperatures and could even replace staple crops like wheat in the future. The team finds out why children living below the poverty line experience a raft of health issues, as new research examines the mechanisms that are at play. They also explore a good old fashioned space mystery, after strange signals have been detected from an unknown object at the centre of our...
2021-Oct-07 • 27 minutes
#88: Should climate activism go to extreme levels?; malaria vaccine; new drugs to treat covid; mission to the asteroid belt
The team opens with the welcome news that after 37 years of development, the world’s first malaria vaccine has been approved. They then hear from Swedish author Andreas Malm, who argues that the climate movement needs to get more militant. He says the likes of Extinction Rebellion have 'peace-washed' historical accounts of protest movements, and, controversially, puts the case for escalating from mass civil disobedience to engage in property destruction. The fight against covid is picking up pace ...
2021-Sep-30 • 27 minutes
#87: Mini black holes impacting the moon; first CRISPR gene-edited food goes on sale; why leaves turn brown in autumn
CRISPR gene-edited food has gone on sale commercially for the first time. The team finds out about this ‘super tomato’ which has been created by a startup in Japan. Have you ever wondered why leaves change colour in the autumn? The team discusses an evolutionary explanation suggesting that leaf colour is a signal. Following Greta Thunberg’s latest speech at the pre-COP26 event Youth4Climate, the team reflects on Germany’s recent election, which could be very positive for action on climate change. They also ...
2021-Sep-23 • 28 minutes
#86: The woman who couldn’t smell; solving the climate and biodiversity emergencies; China’s quantum of solace
Imagine going your whole life without being able to smell - and then suddenly you can. The team tells the amazing story of a woman who first gained the ability to smell aged 24 - a case which has scientists baffled. Efforts to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises need to be unified. We hear from Nathalie Pettorelli of the Zoological Society of London, lead author of a new paper calling for a more joined up approach, with an emphasis on nature-based solutions. The team discusses the latest developments...
2021-Sep-16 • 31 minutes
#85: The violent frontline of climate change; bringing back the mammoth; another first for SpaceX
In some parts of the world, taking a stand for the planet can be incredibly dangerous. This week we hear from Laura Furones, of the campaign group Global Witness, on the finding that 227 environment activists were murdered in 2020. She explains why this is happening and what needs to be done to protect these people. In de-extinction news, $15 million has been given to a team hoping to bring mammoths back to life. While exciting news for some, evolutionary biologist Tori Herridge discusses the ethical implic...
2021-Sep-09 • 27 minutes
#84: Health benefits of male flatulence; cave dwellings on Mars; covid booster shots
Great news for the more flatulent among us - breaking wind is a sign of good gut bacterial health. The team discusses a slightly unsavoury experiment in which men weighed their poos, stored them in freezers, and even had their farts measured… all in the name of science. The team also questions the wisdom of rolling out covid-19 booster jabs. Some countries are already gearing up to deliver dose number three, all while poorer populations struggle to get their hands on a first dose. Potential homes have been ...
2021-Sep-02 • 30 minutes
#83: Low carbon shipping; Anil Seth on consciousness; humanity’s ancient history in Arabia; quantum gravity
A bold move from the world’s largest shipping company could have big implications for the planet . Maersk has bought ships which can run on both traditional fuel and methanol. This alternative fuel, the team explains, could drastically reduce shipping’s contribution to global CO2 emissions. Neuroscientist Anil Seth puts forward a radical new theory of the self, the subject of his latest book Being You – A New Science of Consciousness. The team explains how researchers are inching closer to solving one of t...
2021-Aug-26 • 25 minutes
#82: Taliban seize Afghan biometric equipment; uploading our brains to machines; investigating Nazi uranium
Equipment from a massive biometrics programme in Afghanistan has been seized by the Taliban. From police and election commission programmes, they “have everything” according to one expert. The team explores the potential dangers caused by the Taliban’s access to this equipment. They also discuss the past and future of artificial intelligence with author Jeanette Winterson as she dives into her new book ‘12 Bytes’. A uranium cube that dates back to the Nazi’s atomic bomb programme is being examined by expert...
2021-Aug-19 • 29 minutes
#81: Breakthrough in nuclear fusion; mini human brain grown with eyes; rapid evolution of synthetic bacteria
Recreating the power of the sun, the dream of nuclear fusion - it’s a dream we’re inching ever closer to. A new breakthrough at a lab in the US has the team excited, and they catch up with Jeremy Chittenden, co-director of the Centre for Inertial Fusion Studies at Imperial College London, to get the latest. The team then see how evolution has proved, once again, that it is cleverer than we are, as an artificial ‘minimal cell’ created by scientists demonstrates its ability to adapt and evolve dramatically an...
2021-Aug-12 • 28 minutes
#80: Analysis of IPCC climate report; the rise of synthetic milk; discovery of new carnivorous plant
A lead author of the latest IPCC climate report, Tamsin Edwards, joins the team for a special episode of the podcast. News headlines have left many concerned, and with more questions than ever, so the team devotes a large chunk of the show to unpacking the findings of the report, and emphasising hope and action over doom and gloom. Linked to the issue of climate change is the agricultural industry’s impact on the environment, but there’s hope there too. The team explains how precision fermentation technolog...
2021-Aug-05 • 23 minutes
#79: Google creates a time crystal; microplastics in human placenta; boosting China’s vaccines; our climate future
As severe weather events around the world give us a very real taste of the devastating effects of climate change, we’re also getting a better understanding of what the future holds for our planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its big report on the physical basis of climate change next week - the team previews what’s to come. They also explain why a number of nations are now mixing and matching their vaccine doses in order to stop the spread of the covid-19 delta variant. For the fi...
2021-Jul-29 • 28 minutes
#78: Will covid evolve to evade vaccines?; the oldest animal fossils ever found; predicting climate change’s extreme weather
More than a week since England lifted its covid restrictions, infection numbers in the UK are very high. The team examines how the country has set up the perfect circumstances for the evolution of “escape variants” - forms of the virus that may be able to evade our immune systems and vaccines. The team also learns of the discovery of the earliest fossil animals ever found - sponges that are 350 million years older than anything we’ve seen before. They explain how a 14-legged single-cell organism is able to ...
2021-Jul-22 • 25 minutes
#77: Is dropping covid restrictions unethical?; methane hints to life on Mars; Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin’s road to space
Freedom day arrived in England this week, as the country dropped most covid restrictions. But as cases continue to rise and many people, children included, remain unvaccinated, the team discuss why hundreds of experts are calling the move an ‘unethical experiment’. High levels of methane have been detected on Mars by the Curiosity rover, which could indicate life on the Red Planet - but the team explains why they aren’t breaking out the champagne just yet. They then discuss the launch of Blue Origin’s New S...
2021-Jul-15 • 22 minutes
#76: Harm of race-based medicine; space tourism industry is go; America’s heatwave challenges
Race-based medical practises are being challenged more and more, as it becomes increasingly clear they have little basis in science. The team finds out why adjustments for race and ethnicity are still being made in medicine, despite the potential harm and healthcare implications they cause. It’s been a massive week for the future of space tourism - the team shares a clip of a very excited Richard Branson who’s recent journey into microgravity has set the stage for the launch of Virgin Galactic’s first comme...
2021-Jul-08 • 28 minutes
#75: Vaccine for kids; legacy of Dolly the sheep; how to repair the climate; China’s quantum advantage
In the UK, rules around attendance at schools after a covid outbreak are changing, but the country still hasn’t decided whether or not to vaccinate children. The team finds out what the hold up is, especially given some countries have already taken the leap. It’s been 25 years since the cloning of Dolly the sheep, so the team looks at Dolly’s legacy, exploring the many advancements and discoveries that have come as a result of this marvel of biological science. They then discuss the small matter of how to s...
2021-Jul-01 • 24 minutes
#74: ‘Dragon man’ could be new species of human; Wally Funk goes to space; human and financial cost of heatwave; how covid affects the brain
A unique kind of human skull has been discovered in China. The team describes the details of this skull, known as the ‘Dragon Man’, and explains how it might belong to a new species of human. And if that’s not exciting enough, its discovery has the most amazing Indiana Jones style backstory too. In breaking news, Jeff Bezos has announced that legendary aviator Wally Funk, one of the Mercury 13 women who trained as astronauts, will go to space with him on the first crewed Blue Origin mission. The team then d...
2021-Jun-24 • 31 minutes
#73: How to treat long covid; evolution of cooperation; Turing’s ACE computer; aliens watching Earth
The symptoms of long covid are diverse and numerous, and we’re still getting to grips with a clinical definition. Adam Vaughan visited the UK’s first long covid clinic, and explains how it provides both physical and psychological support to patients. The team then discusses the evolution of cooperation with professor Nichola Raihani, author of ‘The Social Instinct’, who explains why species collaborate, an act which seems to contradict the competitive nature of life in Darwin’s theory of natural selection. ...
2021-Jun-17 • 27 minutes
#72: The evil in all of us; delta variant of coronavirus; glacier memory project
The delta variant of covid-19 has torn across India, and is making its way around the globe, forcing the extension of lockdown measures in the UK. The team explores its spread, and also digs into findings showing that “elimination countries” - those which enacted swift and extreme lockdown measures - have fared better across the board in the health, wealth and even freedom of their populations. They then discuss the Ice Memory Project, which is archiving and preserving material and data from glaciers - anci...
2021-Jun-10 • 28 minutes
#71: Alzheimer’s treatment approved; human brain map breakthrough; time flowing backwards
For the first time in 18 years, a new drug for Alzheimer’s disease has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. This is big news because rather than just treating the symptoms, the drug targets the amyloid plaques that are thought to cause the disease. But the team explains why there are still many reasons to remain cautious. They also discuss an exciting breakthrough in our understanding of the brain, as Google researchers have, for the first time, mapped all the connections in one cubic milli...
2021-Jun-03 • 27 minutes
#70: Coronavirus origin story; Big Oil’s nightmare; history of the gender pain gap
From a bat… or from a lab? It seemed the question of where SARS-CoV-2 originated had been settled, but recently it's been reignited. Amid lots of conflicting and confusing news stories, the team explores what we really know about the origins of covid-19. They then mark a historic tipping point in climate news, as three of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies are forced to work harder and faster to reduce their environmental impact. They also speak to Elinor Cleghorn, author of a new book called ‘U...
2021-May-27 • 26 minutes
#69: Coronavirus evolution; geoengineering and food supply; Alice Roberts on the revolution in archaeology
A new variant of coronavirus which originated in India is spreading rapidly. The team explains how both this new mutation and the UK variant are capable of evading vaccines, causing huge concerns for the global fight against covid-19. They also discuss whether the risks of solar geoengineering outweigh the benefits, as new research in the journal Nature Food looks at the potential impact on agricultural yields. They discuss a revolution taking place in archaeology as the discipline absorbs modern techniques...
2021-May-20 • 22 minutes
#68: Climate change and methane mystery; breathable liquid; covid vaccines
When it comes to climate change, carbon dioxide usually gets the spotlight, but methane, although shorter-lived in the atmosphere, is more potent as a greenhouse gas - and levels have been mysteriously increasing. The team explains where the methane is coming from and how efforts to curb methane emissions could be important in tackling global warming. They then explore the peculiar discovery that pigs can breathe oxygen through the anus, and what that means for future applications in space travel. In corona...
2021-May-13 • 28 minutes
#67: Brain plasticity; entropy and the nature of time; vaccine booster shots
Efforts to fight covid-19 won’t stop even when everyone is vaccinated. There’s a good chance we’ll need vaccine booster shots to keep on top of the disease. With Israel already planning to roll these out, and many other countries considering the same, the team explains what the booster shots will look like. They then explore the mind-melting discovery that simply by measuring time, humans are adding to the amount of entropy or disorder in the universe. They catch up with the neuroscientist David Eagleman wh...
2021-May-06 • 27 minutes
#66: Sea level rise; Bitcoin carbon pollution; how to measure self-awareness
The most detailed analysis yet of global warming and sea level rise has been published. The paper’s lead author, Tamsin Edwards of King’s College London, explains that we now have a better understanding of the consequences of missing the 1.5 degrees target of the Paris Agreement. Later the team gets introspective as they learn about metacognition, and how brain scanners are now able to measure self-awareness: learn how to boost your own self-awareness here. They discuss how the digital currency Bitcoin will...
2021-Apr-29 • 30 minutes
#65: Chernobyl radiation safety; Chinese space station; wisdom of trees
It’s been 35 years since the devastating explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. But new research shows there has been no increase in genetic mutations in people who worked to clean up the accident site, nor in their children. The team discusses communicating safety risks around radiation with the director of the Chernobyl Tissue Bank, Gerry Thomas. The team then talks about two stories in space exploration news, with another SpaceX launch to the ISS, and the start of the construction of a new Chine...
2021-Apr-22 • 31 minutes
#64: Earth Day rescue plan: climate change and biodiversity special
To mark Earth Day 2021, we’ve assembled a panel of experts to discuss climate change and biodiversity loss - “two runaway crises tightly interlinked that will mutually make each other’s effects worse”. New evidence shows 2021 really is a make-or-break year for the environment and the planet. In this episode the panel explores the disparity between our efforts to combat each issue, they explain how some attempts to help the environment can actually worsen the situation, and they discuss the limitations of ca...
2021-Apr-15 • 27 minutes
#63: Musical spider’s webs; magic mushrooms for treating depression; the sound of coronavirus
The vibrations of a spider’s web have been transformed into some spectacularly haunting pieces of music. The team shares the work of MIT researcher Markus Buehler, which gives us a glimpse into what life is like for a spider. The team then discusses new research suggesting psilocybin, the psychoactive component of magic mushrooms, might be an effective way of treating depression. The theme of sound continues as the team shares the work of molecular biologist and composer Mark Temple, who’s turned the geneti...
2021-Apr-08 • 29 minutes
#62: Synthetic life; rescue plan for Earth; muon g-2 new physics
Scientists tinkering around with the creation of synthetic life have taken a significant step forward. The team explains how synthetic cells could one day be implanted in humans. Alongside this is the news that researchers have used frog skin cells to create a microscopic living robot, which can heal and power itself. As levels of CO2 in the atmosphere reach a record high, the team looks at ways to join up global efforts in tackling both the climate and biodiversity emergencies. They discuss another challen...
2021-Apr-01 • 24 minutes
#61: Worse allergies; black hole in our backyard; new flavours of vanilla
Spring has sprung and… ACHOO!! Yep, hay fever is back with a vengeance. This week the team has some bad news for hay fever sufferers, as allergies are set to get worse (in every way imaginable) because of climate change. The team then ramps up the excitement with the news that there may be an ancient black hole sitting on the edge of our solar system, which might actually be within our reach! They discuss vanilla’s attempts to break free of its ‘boring’ stereotype, as growers begin to experiment with new an...
2021-Mar-26 • 26 minutes
#60: New physics; anti-ageing human embryos; Mars update
The Large Hadron Collider might, just might, have found something that challenges the Standard Model of particle physics. The team hears why an anomaly concerning a quark could hint at a crack in our understanding of physics. They also find out whether the age-defying, rejuvenating properties of human embryos can help us reset the ageing process in adults. As the Perseverance rover has been on Mars for a month now, there is of course more news from our neighbouring planet, namely new recordings from the sur...
2021-Mar-19 • 28 minutes
#59: Vaccine success; hibernation and anti-ageing; world’s first computer
We’re tantalisingly close to resuming normal life, as promising news from Israel has shown that vaccines are swinging the fight against covid-19 in our favour. But we’re not out of the woods yet - the team explains why it’s still too risky to completely lift restrictions. They also discuss great news if you love your beauty sleep! It turns out when marmots hibernate the ageing process slows down dramatically, which is going to be useful as we develop ways to put humans into hibernation. The pod also tackles...
2021-Mar-12 • 24 minutes
#58: Covid good news; cold water swimming; quantum unreality
This week: relief and joy for people in the US, with the news that those who’ve had two doses of vaccine will be allowed to meet up inside with friends and family. The team also discusses the exciting news about how the vaccine might help people with long covid. Things take a turn for the weird when the team explains just how little we know about reality, certainly from a quantum mechanical point of view - but Carlo Rovelli might have an answer. They also explore why cold water swimming is so good for us, t...
2021-Mar-05 • 29 minutes
#57: Moon base; Neanderthal speech; Elizabeth Kolbert on geoengineering
Ever looked up at the Moon and thought “I could live there”? Well… this week we hear how Chinese researchers have managed to make an almost completely self-sustaining base on Earth which could be replicated on the lunar surface. They’re also joined by Rebecca Wragg Sykes, the author of ‘Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art’, who explores new evidence suggesting the extinct humans may have had the power of language and speech. Pulitzer-prize winning environment reporter Elizabeth Kolbert also joins...
2021-Feb-26 • 25 minutes
#56: How to spend a trillion dollars; landing on Mars; exercise and metabolism myths
What could you do with a trillion dollars? Rowan Hooper tackles this question in his latest book which examines how the money could be used to safeguard the future of our planet. The team talks about raising cash through a tax on carbon, how much it would cost to protect all the world’s endangered species, and Elon Musk’s carbon capture and storage competition. Also on the show excitement mounts over NASA’s successful touchdown on Mars, as the team discusses Perseverance and its first full week in the Jezer...
2021-Feb-19 • 24 minutes
#55: Rescuing nature; Mars missions; new covid mutation
2021 could well go down in history as the year we saved our planet… the alternative really doesn’t bear thinking about. Luckily the team brings news of a “rescue plan for nature”, with several initiatives launching this year including the UN Decade of Ecological Restoration. NASA’s Mars lander Perseverance has successfully touched down on the Red Planet. The team discusses its goals, and shares the latest on the two craft which entered Mars’ orbit last week, China’s Tianwen-1 and the UAE’s Hope. The team hi...
2021-Feb-12 • 27 minutes
#54: Next-gen vaccines; alien space probes; ethics of fish
Whilst we’ve been celebrating the rollout of the covid-19 vaccines, new variants of the virus have thrown a spanner in the works, and there’s a concern over the lack of vaccine availability in low-income countries. The team explores these issues and highlights the exciting developments of both a nasal vaccine and (maybe) one which can be taken in pill form. Plus... Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb explains why he believes the interstellar object ‘Oumuamua could be a piece of alien technology, and tells us wh...
2021-Feb-05 • 27 minutes
#53: Pandemic burnout; vaccines for the world; sustainable fuel
By now most of us have felt or are feeling the effects of pandemic burnout. From unexplained exhaustion to emotional detachment and general uneasiness, the team explains why the pandemic is causing these feelings and offers tips on how to combat the problem. They also explain why it's critical we have a coordinated global strategy for the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine, so that poorer countries are not left without enough jabs to protect their citizens. As a growing number of countries set net zero ca...
2021-Jan-29 • 25 minutes
#52: Life after vaccination; gaslighting; mind reading
A year on from the launch of our podcast, the team reflects on the news highlighted in the first ever episode, of a small outbreak of an unknown virus in Wuhan - how life has changed. The good news is vaccination programmes are being rolled out across the globe, but the bad news is new models suggest infection rates will continue to rise, even after most of us have had the jab. The team also explores the issue of gaslighting, explaining how it’s possible for people to manipulate and exploit our perception o...
2021-Jan-22 • 27 minutes
#51: Covid evolution; new dinosaur; missing genome data
As we continue to discover new mutant variants of the covid-19 virus, the team looks at how these will impact vaccination efforts and discuss the long-term implications of virus evolution. They also bring exciting news of a new dinosaur discovery, a sauropod that is among the biggest animals of all time. And staying with dinos, they highlight the University of Bristol’s reconstruction of dinosaur genitalia. They also discuss genome sequencing, and the massive diversity gap in the world’s DNA databases. Ther...
2021-Jan-15 • 34 minutes
#50: Covid vaccine dosing; superconductors; coral restoration
The coronavirus vaccines that have been approved so far all require two doses to be given 3-4 weeks apart. But the UK has chosen to delay the time between doses to 12 weeks, so it can roll out the vaccine to more people more quickly. This week the team examines whether this is the right move, and whether it’s safe. Also on the show, they explore the incredible potential that could be achieved if we’re able to design a superconductor that can operate at room temperature, including high speed travel, super-fa...
2021-Jan-08 • 26 minutes
#49: New coronavirus variants
Two fast-spreading variants of coronavirus have been discovered in the UK and South Africa. With case numbers soaring, it’s feared these variants could lead to a massive wave of new infections around the world. The team examines why the mutations allow the virus to spread more quickly, what this means for the effectiveness of covid vaccines, and whether these new variants are more deadly. Also on the show, we explore the health benefits of going low-carb, and explain why high-fat diets might not be as bad f...
2021-Jan-01 • 29 minutes
#48: Must-know science of 2021
Happy New Year! This special episode previews some of the biggest science stories to keep an eye on over the coming year. Coronavirus, the story that’s defined our lives for the past year, will continue to evolve and unfold. The team digs into what life will look like as vaccinations eventually allow us to come out the other side of the pandemic. There are also several missions to Mars to look out for this year - the UAE’s orbiter Hope, NASA’s Perseverance rover, and China’s Tianwen-1 mission. The team also...
2020-Dec-18 • 29 minutes
#47: Christmas special quiz of the year
2020 has been unconventional to say the least, and this Christmas special is full of much needed hope, optimism and laughter. The team brings you highlights from this week’s live holiday event which you can watch in full here. Categories include the ‘funniest story of the year’, featuring the recreated groans of mummies and a sobering up machine; we award prizes for ‘animal story of the year’ and ‘evidence-based survival tips for 2021’. There’s also a music round, a look at this year’s moments of greatest h...
2020-Dec-11 • 28 minutes
#46: Stardust hunting, the illusion of the self, space rocks return to Earth
One hundred tonnes of cosmic dirt rains down on us every day, so there’s a good chance you have a meteorite on your roof... well, a micrometeorite. The team explains how you can find one yourself, and explore the surprise link with Norwegian jazz musician Jon Larsen. They also question whether you really exist, or at least the version of you that you recognise to be yourself. There’s also more news of space rocks coming to Earth, but this time returning from the super speedy Chang’e 5 moon mission, and from...
2020-Dec-04 • 34 minutes
#45: Vaccine roll out in UK and China; Chris Packham on connectedness; AlphaFold breakthrough
With the UK becoming the first country in the world to approve the roll out of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the team discusses issues around safety, effectiveness in older people, and who gets it first. They also discuss coronavirus in China and the country’s own vaccination programme, as well as Australia’s remarkable return to normal life. The naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham makes a guest appearance to discuss global connectivity, the food we eat, Brazil, deforestation and the Cerrado. The team a...
2020-Nov-27 • 36 minutes
#44: When we’ll get the vaccine; fast-expanding universe; lunar missions
Vaccine scientist Katrina Pollock answers some of the biggest questions about covid-19 vaccines: when are we going to get one, and when will life go back to normal? A clinician at Imperial College London, Katrina is working on both the Imperial mRNA vaccine trials, and the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine trials. She discusses vaccine safety, and the finding in trials that a low-dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine caused a bigger immune response. Also on the podcast, science writer Stuart Clark explains why the unusu...
2020-Nov-20 • 30 minutes
#43: How the covid RNA vaccine works; systemic racism; origin of humans
Even as covid-19 cases keep going up, we’ve had some good news about possible vaccines for coronavirus. Two of the promising vaccines are mRNA vaccines, and on this week’s show Anna Blakney, an RNA bioengineer at Imperial College London, explains all about this new technology. Also on the podcast: we highlight research into systemic racism and the role it plays in socioeconomic disparity, healthcare outcomes, and even technology. We explore the controversy around the species thought to be the earliest membe...
2020-Nov-13 • 28 minutes
#42: Vaccine for covid-19; origin of animals; overpopulation
There are exciting results in trials of two coronavirus vaccines. But just how excited should we be? We discuss the latest findings, the strength of these potential vaccines, and how likely it is they’ll be rolled out before the end of the year. Also on the show, the team discusses the controversial issue of overpopulation, debates which animal group was the first to evolve on Earth, examines the female-led mating habits of mongoose, and explores new possibilities for space gardening. On the pod this week a...
2020-Nov-06 • 26 minutes
#41: The function of dreams
On this week’s election-distraction special, we hear about a new hypothesis which could explain an age-old mystery. Dreams could be a way of freeing our brains from the limits of normal life. Also on the pod, the team discusses the discovery of the source of a fast radio burst, sent out by a neutron star in our galaxy. They also explore a method to create a temporary vaccine for covid-19, until a long-term solution is found. Also on the agenda: the news that octopuses taste with their arms, and an ancient s...
2020-Oct-30 • 29 minutes
#40: Halloween special: real-life vampires, the science of ghosts, deep-sea zombies, monster black holes
What price would you pay for eternal youth? Some real-life vampires in California took part in a trial where they infused themselves with the blood plasma of young people, in an attempt to rejuvenate their brains and extend their lives.For this Halloween special we gathered journalists from the dungeons at New Scientist towers: Rowan Hooper, Cat de Lange, Beth Ackerley, Sam Wong, Layal Liverpool, Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte.The team get their teeth stuck into the vampire experiments in Silicon Valley, and ...
2020-Oct-22 • 28 minutes
#39: Social lives of viruses; CRISPR to fight antibiotic resistance; dealing with risk; George RR Martin and the moon
When we think about the way a virus operates, we tend to think of it as a lone assassin. But it turns out viruses have surprisingly rich social lives - perhaps richer than many human social lives at the moment. In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O'Callaghan and Graham Lawton.The team sets out to change the way we see viruses, by explaining how different viruses cooperate to improve their chances of spreading - and how this understanding can help in the fight agains...
2020-Oct-15 • 33 minutes
#38: Tackling the climate crisis; essential, like, filler words of, um, language; mystery of the human penis; your covid questions answered
2020 was meant to be a pivotal year in the fight against climate change, but a rather pressing issue has knocked us off course. But there are still ways that the covid-19 crisis could trigger the changes we need to see.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O'Callaghan and Adam Vaughan, and science writer David Robson.The team discusses how the pandemic response has shown us possible routes to tackling climate change - particularly if working from home becomes a lastin...
2020-Oct-08 • 31 minutes
#37: Black holes and CRISPR gene editing spring Nobel surprises; climate change and indigenous people in the Arctic; symptom clusters identified for covid-19
This year’s Nobel prize season has been the most thrilling in ages. Not only are we celebrating fascinating scientific breakthroughs, but this is also only the fourth time a woman has won a physics prize in 117 years.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Cat de Lange and Tim Revell.The team chats about the physics and chemistry Nobel prizes, awarded for work on black holes and CRISPR gene editing. CRISPR is on the agenda twice as the team discusses the creation of a new type of ge...
2020-Oct-01 • 33 minutes
#36: Hunt for life on Venus and Mars; how the paleo diet affects your age; strategy for the second wave of coronavirus; species extinction crisis
Hopes of discovering life on Venus have been dampened somewhat as the sheer scale of the task becomes clear. But don’t get in a slump just yet, because Mars has come out fighting...In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Cat de Lange, Leah Crane and Graham Lawton.The team explains how scientists have confirmed the existence of a huge underground lake of liquid water on Mars. Surrounded by smaller ponds, this news has reinvigorated those eager to find signs of alien life on the Red P...
2020-Sep-24 • 33 minutes
#35: The first woman on the moon; evolution special; purpose of sleep and dreams; deep water mystery
We’ve all wondered why we dream, or even why we sleep. We know it’s good for you, but we don’t really know what’s going on in the brain while you’re tucked up under the covers.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson, Leah Crane and Jess Hamzelou.The team discusses a study that shows sleep functions differently depending on our age, particularly when babies develop into toddlers, and the purpose of sleep shifts from growing and developing their brains, to repairing t...
2020-Sep-17 • 33 minutes
#34: Race to find life on Venus; coronavirus claims lives of 1 million people; extinction crisis; how the brain slows time
Move over Mars - Venus might actually be the best place to find alien life in our solar system. Phosphine, a molecule that on Earth is only created by bacteria or by industrial processes has been found in the planet’s clouds. Could it really be a new lifeform?In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson, Leah Crane and Adam Vaughan.The team discusses the thrilling discovery of phosphine on Venus and how the spacecraft BepiColombo will soon try to confirm this news. If it...
2020-Sep-10 • 31 minutes
#33: The healthy-eating revolution; China’s cosmic ambitions; Russia’s pursuit of gene-editing technology; the world’s greatest mammal
If you’ve longed for the day when scientists announce pizza is actually good for you, you *may* be in luck. It turns out there’s no such thing as a universally wholesome diet - what’s healthy for one person might be harmful for the next.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson and Graham Lawton.The team discusses the advent of a healthy eating revolution. “Precision nutrition” aims to measure the metabolic response of individuals to certain types of food, to figure ...
2020-Sep-03 • 34 minutes
#32: Billionaire plan to geoengineer the planet; how the moon affects your health; Neuralink’s telepathic pigs
If we’re not going to make the effort to cut carbon emissions, why don’t we manipulate Earth’s climate, forcing it to cool down? Obviously that’s not ideal - but geoengineering, one the most controversial proposals to combat climate change, is back in the spotlight this week.In the pod are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson and Cat de Lange. They’re joined by best-selling author and former New Scientist editor Jo Marchant. Silicon Valley billionaires have been linked with a new method ...
2020-Aug-27 • 24 minutes
#31: Widening the search for alien life on habitable planets; why unconscious bias training might not work; the microbiome of cancer tumours
The universe is so large, so expansive, it’s hard to believe that life doesn’t exist elsewhere. Over the years we’ve found a handful of planets that look like they could host life, but now the net’s being cast wider than ever before.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Valerie Jamieson, Clare Wilson and Tim Revell. They explain how our definition of a ‘habitable planet’ might be too narrow - that a planet might not need to sit in the Goldilocks zone to sustain life - opening up the possibility...
2020-Aug-20 • 30 minutes
#30: Redefining time; why mindfulness can cause problems; secrets of super-resilient tardigrades
Our measurement of time isn’t up to scratch. We can’t define a second or an hour or even a day by referring to the length of time it takes the Earth to spin on its axis, because that duration isn’t constant. But even caesium atomic clocks, with an accuracy of 1 second in 100 million years, are no longer accurate enough. Time needs a new definition.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson and Clare Wilson. They discuss a new, more precise way of defining a second, a m...
2020-Aug-13 • 31 minutes
#29: Loneliness during lockdown; medical artificial intelligence beats doctors; who gets the coronavirus vaccine first
By now we’re all feeling the effects of video call fatigue. Even though we’ve found new ways to connect with each other virtually during lockdown, remote conversation can’t replace the benefits of real, face-to-face social interactions.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson and Graham Lawton. They discuss the serious negative effects of social isolation on health and general well-being. People need shared experiences and physical connections to stay healthy, and it...
2020-Aug-06 • 34 minutes
#28: Origin of life on Earth; second wave of coronavirus; science of miscarriage
How did life spring up on planet Earth? What happened to turn sterile, lifeless rock into cells that could harness energy, grow and reproduce?In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson, Adam Vaughan and Alice Klein. They discuss the origin of life itself, and how we need a rethink of the processes that form life. Scientists are attempting to make a proto-living cell self-assemble and operate without the biochemical machinery it would usually need. The team also discuss...
2020-Jul-30 • 30 minutes
#27: Putting plastic back on the agenda; revisiting the iconic black hole image, how dinosaurs dominated the planet
With the threat of coronavirus taking centre stage in all our minds, has the issue of plastic waste taken a backseat - has the public lost interest?In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Valerie Jamieson, Graham Lawton and Adam Vaughan. They discuss a new study exploring ways to fix our ever-increasing problem of plastic pollution, which is being especially compounded by many of the world’s new hygiene measures and the dumping of thousands of tonnes of PPE. As different parts of the world look t...
2020-Jul-23 • 28 minutes
#26: The hidden dark matter of our food; NASA’s new search for life on Mars; smallpox in the American civil war
What’s in our food? By now you’d think we’d have a pretty firm handle on that question, but it turns out we don’t know the half of it.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson and Graham Lawton. They discuss what’s been called nutritional dark matter: the massive void in our understanding of the biochemicals that make up the food we eat. Our standard guidelines neglect to take into account thousands of molecules and compounds, which might explain why nutritional recom...
2020-Jul-16 • 32 minutes
#25: Coronavirus effects on children, and on other diseases; changing the way you sit could add years to your life; supercrops for a climate-changed world
Contracting covid-19 isn’t the only thing that’s making coronavirus deadly - the outbreak could lead to a jump in the number of deaths from diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and HIV. With healthcare systems at capacity, issues with drug supply chains, and with people unwilling to visit hospitals, the knock-on effects could be devastating.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Cat de Lange, and Adam Vaughan. Bringing you the latest news about the pandemic, the team also hear about...
2020-Jul-09 • 32 minutes
#24: Half a year in a world of covid-19; meat production breaking Earth’s nitrogen limits; what does gravity weigh?
It’s been half a year since coronavirus and covid-19 emerged and the world dramatically changed. Our understanding of the virus and the disease has also hugely changed in those six months, and it’s time to take stock on our understanding of how it spreads, its symptoms and how to tackle it.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson and Cat de Lange. They explore the various methods being used in the fight against coronavirus, why some countries have seen second waves w...
2020-Jul-02 • 33 minutes
#23: Coronavirus immunity and vaccine implications; evolutionary reasons for the types of world leader; treating people with CRISPR gene editing
Coronaviruses don’t usually produce a strong “immune memory”, and that has been worrying scientists, because it spells trouble for long-term immunity and the development of a vaccine. But, thankfully, the coronavirus that causes covid-19 doesn’t seem to be typical.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Graham Lawton. They explore new research that suggests people are developing immunity to the disease.The team also discusses how CRISPR gene editing has been used t...
2020-Jun-26 • 25 minutes
#22: Consciousness from the body as well as the brain; record temperatures in the Arctic; long-term symptoms of covid-19
If your brain was put in a vat and supplied with food and oxygen, would it be able to think? Would it be you? For much of the 20th century, people assumed the answer to this thought experiment was yes. But there is growing evidence suggesting the brain needs the body to work properly, and even to create consciousness. In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Catherine de Lange. They discuss whether artificial consciousness in a robot or computer is even possible if ...
2020-Jun-19 • 28 minutes
#21: How to prevent future pandemics, black lives matter and racism in science, suspended animation
There are now more than 8 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, and at least 450,000 deaths. Given the lack of preparation for this pandemic, it’s clear that we need to start preparing for the next one. One glimmer of light is that an existing drug has been found that reduces the mortality of covid-19.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Graham Lawton and Layal Liverpool. They discuss the politics of the response to the pandemic and the problems we need...
2020-Jun-12 • 29 minutes
#20: Human cryptic mate choice, cracking nuclear fusion, countering coronavirus misinformation
Scientists have discovered a fascinating new way that women might choose between men to father their babies - and the choice may happen after having sex. It turns out that a woman’s egg can itself choose between the sperm of different men - and the egg may not always agree with the woman’s choice of partner.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Donna Lu and Valerie Jamieson. They discuss how a form of mate choice seen in many kinds of insects and other animals has n...
2020-Jun-05 • 29 minutes
#19: How the UK got it wrong on coronavirus, mystery around chronic Lyme, Greta Thunberg’s musical debut
The UK now has the highest number of covid-19 deaths in Europe, and worldwide, the total number of confirmed covid-19 deaths is second only to the US. So how did the UK get it so wrong? We discuss why slowness to get testing seems to have been a real problem, and if it is even possible to vaccinate against covid-19. In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, and Adam Vaughan. They delve into the ethics of vaccine development, and why hopes of seeing one in September are ...
2020-May-29 • 26 minutes
#18: Bending the curve on climate change, the era of commercial space travel, staying safe from coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic is a human disaster that is dominating the news right now, but climate change is going to be worse and longer-lasting. The two crises may seem to be completely separate, but there are parallels that can be drawn between the two in our reaction and response to them, our ability to change behaviour and the possibility of bending the curve of their impact.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, and Graham Lawton. They discuss the views of the chi...
2020-May-22 • 30 minutes
#17: The truth about our appetites, the impact of coronavirus on conservation, mud volcanoes on Mars
Rather than simply eating until we are full, humans selectively try to eat the right amounts of three macronutrients – protein, carbs and fat – plus two micronutrients, sodium and calcium. It turns out we have five separate appetites that drive us to eat the right amount of each.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, and Graham Lawton. They discuss an evolutionary explanation for the obesity epidemic: the fact humans will gorge on carbohydrates to try and get enough ...
2020-May-15 • 26 minutes
#16: Hints of a new force of nature; making mice with human cells; seaweed in the fight against climate change
There are four fundamental forces that describe how everything works, from black holes to radioactive decay to sounds coming out of your headphones. But this week we discuss hints that there is a fifth fundamental force of nature.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, and Valerie Jamieson. They ask whether physics is in crisis, given that it struggles to explain 95% of the universe, or if physicists are happy, because there is so much still to discover. The team also...
2020-May-08 • 29 minutes
#15: Mystery of radio signals from deep space; the future of music; epidemic of bad coronavirus science
MIDI, the digital encoding technology that revolutionised music production in the 1980s, is getting an upgrade. We explore how MIDI 2.0 will change not only how music is made, but how sounds are produced in movies. We discuss the history and future of sound, using Nancy Sinatra, Radiohead and pioneering electronic musician Aphex Twin as examples. In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Valerie Jamieson and Bethan Ackerley. They discuss the infodemic of bad science sur...
2020-May-01 • 32 minutes
#14: Dreams, sleep and coronavirus, a new explanation of consciousness, brain-stimulation anorexia treatment
Is the coronavirus crisis giving you bad dreams? Anxiety and stress about covid-19 has changed our sleeping patterns and the tone of our dreams. But rest assured, bad dreams and nightmares are just a sign of the brain doing its job. In this episode, special guest Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California and best-selling author of ‘Why We Sleep’, shares top tips for sleeping well, and gives advice for people experiencing bad dreams. In the pod this week are New...
2020-Apr-24 • 29 minutes
#13: Evidence for a parallel universe, protecting mental health in lockdown, why covid-19 hits men harder
We might have the first evidence for the mind-blowing idea that there is a parallel universe to our own, an antimatter universe which is mirror-flipped and travelling backwards in time.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Cat de Lange and Gilead Amit. They discuss the tantalising clues suggesting there might be a weird parallel universe created with ours, and speculate as to what this might mean.They also explore how you can protect your mental health during the co...
2020-Apr-17 • 22 minutes
#12: Strength training for better health, bats mimic sound, biggest ever supernova
While much of the world is still on lockdown and with global cases of coronavirus now over two million, one positive thing that’s come out of this crisis is that we’re paying more attention to our physical fitness. In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Cat de Lange. They discuss the latest UK and US government advice on fitness that emphasises how muscle strengthening is just as important as aerobic activity, and how you can do this kind of exercise even in a con...
2020-Apr-10 • 31 minutes
#11: Covid World, coronavirus in New York, invasion of parakeets, bacteria and their amazing powers
The United States now accounts for one-fifth of all new coronavirus cases globally, with New York at the epicentre with over 150,000 cases. In this episode, special guest Dr Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shares his thoughts from New York on how to reduce the risk to healthcare workers, why until we find a vaccine we are living in a ‘Covid World’, and on how the world can come out of this crisis a safer place. In the pod this week are New Scientist journalist...
2020-Apr-03 • 25 minutes
#10: Coronavirus questions answered, revolution in human evolution, mind-reading computers
There’s still so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, from the symptoms and spreadability to matters like how long you should self-isolate. In this episode, we attempt to answer some of the most pressing questions about COVID-19. In the pod for this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Graham Lawton. Also, the poet laureate Simon Armitage reads a poem written in response to the coronavirus crisis, called Lockdown. We discuss when you are likely to be at the peak of infection,...
2020-Mar-27 • 34 minutes
#9: Coronavirus lockdown – how to flatten the curve, reset the immune system, and the world’s most hardcore mammal
The UK government says they are going to distribute millions of covid-19 coronavirus testing kits in the next few days, but how effective will these be and is it too late now to flatten the curve of increasing infections? In the pod for this week’s episode are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Graham Lawton. The team is joined by epidemiologist Christl Donnelly from Imperial College London. Christl is associate director of the MRC centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, which ...
2020-Mar-20 • 35 minutes
#8: Coronavirus special – disaster preparation, environmental change and disease emergence; plus science round-up
The actions taken now by countries and governments globally is crucial in limiting the impact of the covid-19 coronavirus - but has the response been strong enough? In the pod for this week’s episode are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Graham Lawton. The team is joined by two experts from University College London: professor of risk and disaster reduction David Alexander, and professor of ecology and biodiversity Kate Jones. The panel explores just how prepared we are for this glob...
2020-Mar-13 • 26 minutes
#7: Coronavirus vaccine, neutrinos in the early universe, and organ transplants
Everyone wants a coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible - but what is involved, and how long will it take? On the panel for this week’s episode are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Jacob Aron and Clare Wilson. The team is joined by Katrina Pollock, a vaccine scientist from Imperial College London, who explains the work that needs to be done before we have a safe and effective vaccine for covid-19. Also on the show is the surprising finding that subatomic and ghostly neutrinos may have...
2020-Mar-06 • 33 minutes
#6: Coronavirus special - the spread of covid-19, fatality rates, and the importance of hand washing
Governments globally are taking serious measures to halt the spread of the covid-19 coronavirus, from shutting schools to cancelling major events. On the panel for this special episode dedicated to the disease are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Donna Lu. The team is joined by Adam Kucharski, associate professor in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Adam answers questions on the biology of the disease, what the true fatality rates are, and when the ...
2020-Feb-28 • 27 minutes
#5: Pandemic preparations, mind-reading – and a trillion trees
As the covid-19 coronavirus spreads around the globe, we’ve been warned to prepare for a pandemic. On the panel this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Jacob Aron and Clare Wilson. The team answers questions from you about the coronavirus outbreak, shares news of a technique being used to read the minds of people with brain injuries who aren’t otherwise able to communicate, and discusses the pros and cons of an initiative to plant a trillion trees to combat climate change. To fi...
2020-Feb-21 • 29 minutes
#4: Lab-grown meat, Neanderthal burials, and space tourism
Would you eat lab-grown meat? The guilt-free, environmentally friendly animal alternative will be hitting our shelves this year. On the panel for this week’s episode are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Donna Lu and Graham Lawton. The team explains how a company in Singapore called Shiok Meats is due to launch a range of lab-cultured shrimp meat, explores the possibility that Neanderthals may have buried their dead*, and discusses how SpaceX is launching the new age of space tourism. T...
2020-Feb-14 • 27 minutes
#3: Coronavirus latest, a woman with half a brain, and love drugs
Just when we thought we were seeing a decline in the number of Wuhan coronavirus cases, there has been a sharp uptick in reported deaths. On the panel for this week’s episode are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Donna Lu, Jess Hamzelou and Lilian Anekwe. The team brings you the latest news on the spread of the disease, now known as covid-19, explore the story of a woman with above average language skills despite being born with only half of her brain, and – just in time for Valentine’s...
2020-Feb-07 • 23 minutes
#2: Weird quantum experiment, origin of the alphabet, and coronavirus developments
Being in two different places at once — it's one of the deeply weird things that happens in the quantum realm. On the panel for this week’s episode are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Donna Lu and Jacob Aron. The team begins by discussing a super-cool experiment that hopes to demonstrate quantum physics by placing a solid object in two places at once. They also explore revelations about the ancient origins of the alphabet, and examine a report from Wuhan City on the coronavirus o...
2020-Jan-31 • 26 minutes
#1: Wuhan coronavirus, nuclear fusion, and the Solar Orbiter spacecraft
It’s a rapidly spreading outbreak with the potential to become a full blown pandemic – but just how concerned should we be about the global impact of Wuhan coronavirus? On the panel for the inaugural episode of the podcast are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Adam Vaughan and Jacob Aron. As well as answering your questions on the continuing spread of the coronavirus, the team explore the news that scientists are nearly ready to recreate nuclear fusion, the process that powers the Sun. ...