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New Scientist Weekly

Author: New Scientist

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Keep up with the latest scientific developments and breakthroughs in this award winning weekly podcast from the team at New Scientist, the world’s most popular weekly science and technology magazine. Each discussion centers around three of the most fascinating stories to hit the headlines each week. From technology, to space, health and the environment, we share all the information you need to keep pace.
67 Episodes
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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 who explains the concept of brain plasticity. They mark a very special year for the loudest insect in the world - cicadas - and they discuss how degrowth - a deliberate step down in economic activity - might be the safest way to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O'Callaghan, Graham Lawton and Clare Wilson.
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 soon create more carbon pollution than the whole of Sweden. And they explain how the naming of a new species of ant has been used to champion gender diversity, and share some amazing findings about the crew from the wreck of Henry VIII’s warship the Mary Rose. Also, make sure to check out this piece from Jemma Wadham who spent two weeks living under a glacier in Norway. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O'Callaghan, Cat de Lange, Karina Shah and Matt Sparkes.
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 Chinese space station. We also hear from legendary biologist Suzanne Simard. Simard discovered the wood wide web - revealing that trees live in a connected society, trading, collaborating and communicating in sophisticated ways through a shared underground network. The team also discusses a rapid rise of covid-19 infections in India, and they dig into the discovery of ancient structures in Arabia which predate Stonehenge and the Pyramids. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O'Callaghan, Michael Le Page, Leah Crane and Ibrahim Sawal.
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 carbon drawdown technologies. The discussion leans into the dangers of losing the Amazon rainforest, the importance of working with local communities, and the role billionaires play in advancing global climate goals. And while the scale of the problem seems insurmountable to many, the team says it’s important to remember that your actions are not futile - taking a personal stand and changing your habits is still absolutely critical. The Earth can recover, if we let it. On the pod this week: New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Michael Le Page and Adam Vaughan, joined by Tilly Collins from the Centre for Environmental Policy and Bonnie Waring from the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment. 
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 genetic sequence of the coronavirus into beautiful and ethereal music. On top of this, the team brings news of a robot with an artificial nervous system that’s learnt to catch a ball, and they celebrate a new discovery about the world’s oldest animal, the comb jelly. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, Sam Wong and Donna Lu. To read more about all these stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. And if you want to hear more of Markus Buehler’s work, visit his SoundCloud page.
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 challenge to the Standard Model of particle physics, as Fermilab’s muon g-2 experiment threatens to shake up everything we thought we knew. And finally the team explains how the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs gave rise to the Amazon rainforest, and explore news of rare blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Layal Liverpool, Richard Webb and Krista Charles. To read about these and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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 and exciting flavours of the classic taste. As countries around the world prepare for a third wave of covid-19 infections, the team explains how the vaccine rollout will impact hospitalisation and death rates. And they also celebrate the Octopus, as new research suggests they might be able to dream. On the pod are Tiffany O’Callaghan, Graham Lawton, Stuart Clark and Clare Wilson. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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 surface to listen to, and the upcoming launch of the Ingenuity helicopter. Also on the pod is the worrying story of vaccine hesitancy in the EU, and the team celebrates a microbe unlike anything seen before. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Layal Liverpool, Richard Webb, Chelsea Whyte and Leah Crane. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Perseverance audio credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
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 the mystery of the Antikythera mechanism, a 2000-year-old cosmos decoding device often called the world’s first computer. And they explain how mushrooms might be the answer to our clean energy needs, and chat to author and podcaster Dr Helen Scales about her new book ‘The Brilliant Abyss’. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Jo Marchant, Eleanor Parsons and Michael Le Page. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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, they find out how we can use light to power spacecraft, and they celebrate the wondrous sea slug, which has a penchant for chopping off its own head. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Clare Wilson, Alison George and Richard Webb. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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 the pod to talk about her new book ‘Under a White Sky’, and whether environmental fixes like geoengineering will help or harm our efforts to address climate change. In the mix is a brand new theory for creating a working warp drive, and new research looking at human friendship. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan and Michael Le Page. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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 Jezero Crater. They also uncover myths about how our metabolisms work, and why long-held assumptions about exercise and weight loss are wrong. Also: why researchers have been teaching Morse code to people while they sleep, and new findings about cetaceans and their unexpectedly low rates of cancer. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Cat de Lange, Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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 highlights a newly discovered covid-19 mutation which is a combination of the variants first found in Kent and California. And they answer the questions “why is ice slippery?”, “why do flames jump up and down?”, and “why aren’t people at the South Pole upside down?”. On the pod are Graham Lawton, Anna Demming, Caroline Williams, and Richard Webb. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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 why scientists need to take the search for intelligent life more seriously. The team also finds out whether it’s ever ethical or sustainable to eat fish, they share the musical tones of an 18,000-year-old conch, and in a new segment which answers children’s ‘but why?’ questions, they tackle “what’s behind the sky?”. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Graham Lawton, Caroline Williams, and Leah Crane. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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 carbon targets, the team discusses renewed hype about hydrogen as a sustainable fuel source. They also share a breakthrough in touch-sensitive robots, and explore the surprisingly controversial history of the evolution of flowers. On the pod are Tiffany O’Callaghan, Graham Lawton, Caroline Williams, and Adam Vaughan. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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 of reality. There’s the news that artificial intelligence is now able to figure out what song you’re listening to, just by studying your brainwaves. And the team also discusses new methods being used to search for sun-harnessing megastructures known as Dyson spheres, and they examine new satellite data which shows 28 trillion tonnes of ice disappeared globally between 1994 and 2017. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Michael Le Page, and Caroline Williams. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.If you’ve been affected by domestic violence, there are a number of charities that can help. UK National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247; US National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233; Aus 1800Respect: 1800 737 732. Search online for local alternatives.
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. There’s also news that questions our assumptions about why water is essential for life, as well as a story of hope in the form of President Joe Biden’s long list of climate action plans. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Layal Liverpool and Graham Lawton. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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-fast computers and ultra-efficient renewable energy. They also discuss the huge biodiversity issue that is coral loss, and how a team of researchers on Heron Island is helping to boost corals on the Great Barrier Reef. Then there’s news from Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, and his plans for a new zero carbon city, and an exposé on the cannibalistic tendencies of ancient megalodon sharks. On the panel are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Clare Wilson, Donna Lu and Michael Brooks. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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 for your heart as you might think. We discuss the discovery of ancient bones in a cave in South Africa which may belong to a new species of human. There’s also a look at how scientists are using soda bread as a scaffold for growing cells, which could be promising for lab-grown meat, and we discuss the result in the Georgia election for the US senate, and why that spells hope for action on climate change. On the panel are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Clare Wilson and Michael Le Page. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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 finds out whether we’re going to be able to get back on track in the fight against climate change, and they discuss the growing problem of microplastics, as this year we hope to learn more about the impact these tiny particles have on our health. As a bonus, the team shares their cultural picks for the new year. On the panel are Rowan Hooper, Cat de Lange, Layal Liverpool, Adam Vaughan, Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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Comments (18)

Kristaps Makovskis

Whar was the title of the new podcast?

Jan 18th
Reply (1)

Kristaps Makovskis

What was the new podcast Title?

Jan 18th
Reply

Tony Rickman

I have to skip the bits when Adam Vaughan is on. Dropping syllables and using "free" instead of "three" just isn't good delivery

Oct 16th
Reply

chinch b

I was thinking about ice nine and Space Force when I was listening to this episode! Feels so good to just have those moments of recognition :)

Sep 28th
Reply

Mehdi Ahangar Kiasari

Nice podcasts!

Jun 15th
Reply

ID17263458

Can I get the name of the speaker who talks about the FRBs?

May 9th
Reply

inov8ive

why do the new scientist podcast editors exclude any covid-19 scientific news? you're dropping the ball in my opinion

May 2nd
Reply

ncooty

A podcast supposedly about recent scientific discoveries really should evince a better understanding of science, including critical thinking. You should also cite the research and methods. As it is, this comes across to me as people pretending to be twits having a scripted, condescending, pedestrian discussion of titles of journal articles.

Apr 18th
Reply

ncooty

A podcast putatively about scientific discoveries, but with no citations and very little scientific understanding or scrutiny?

Apr 18th
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Apr 1st
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Mar 31st
Reply (1)

jim vincent

I can't/won't listen to your liberal tone. I need facts, not opinions.

Mar 25th
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Abdullah Ahmadzai

if you send us transcripts via email that would be great

Mar 3rd
Reply

Nuage Laboratoire

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Mar 3rd
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Sarah Ferrigan

I can't download or listen to this one

Feb 10th
Reply (1)
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