724 episodes

The Nature Podcast brings you the best stories from the world of science each week. We cover everything from astronomy to zoology, highlighting the most exciting research from each issue of the Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and provide in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors.
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Nature Podcast Springer Nature Limited

    • Science
    • 4.3 • 160 Ratings

The Nature Podcast brings you the best stories from the world of science each week. We cover everything from astronomy to zoology, highlighting the most exciting research from each issue of the Nature journal. We meet the scientists behind the results and provide in-depth analysis from Nature's journalists and editors.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Audio long read: How does ChatGPT ‘think’? Psychology and neuroscience crack open AI large language models

    Audio long read: How does ChatGPT ‘think’? Psychology and neuroscience crack open AI large language models

    AIs are often described as 'black boxes' with researchers unable to to figure out how they 'think'. To better understand these often inscrutable systems, some scientists are borrowing from psychology and neuroscience to design tools to reverse-engineer them, which they hope will lead to the design of safer, more efficient AIs.
    This is an audio version of our Feature: How does ChatGPT ‘think’? Psychology and neuroscience crack open AI large language models

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    • 17 min
    Fentanyl addiction: the brain pathways behind the opioid crisis

    Fentanyl addiction: the brain pathways behind the opioid crisis

    00:45 The neuroscience of fentanyl addictionResearch in mice has shown that fentanyl addiction is the result of two brain circuits working in tandem, rather than a single neural pathway as had been previously thought. One circuit underlies the positive feelings this powerful drug elicits, which the other was responsible for the intense withdrawal when it is taken away. Opioid addiction leads to tens of thousands of deaths each year, and the team hopes that this work will help in the development of drugs that are less addictive.
    Research Article: Chaudun et al.

    09:16 Research HighlightsHow an ‘assembloid’ could transform how scientists study drug delivery to the brain, and an edible gel that prevents and treats alcohol intoxication in mice.
    Research Highlight: Organoids merge to model the blood–brain barrier
    Research Highlight: How cheesemaking could cook up an antidote for alcohol excess
    11:36: Briefing ChatWhy babies are taking the South Korean government to court, and Europe’s efforts to send a nuclear-powered heater to Mars.
    Nature News: Why babies in South Korea are suing the government
    Nature News: Mars rover mission will use pioneering nuclear power source
    Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.

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    • 20 min
    Lizard-inspired building design could save lives

    Lizard-inspired building design could save lives

    In this episode:
    00:45 A recyclable 3D printing resin from an unusual sourceMany 3D printers create objects using liquid resins that turn into robust solids when exposed to light. But many of these are derived from petrochemicals that are difficult to recycle. To overcome this a team has developed a new type of resin, which they’ve made using a bodybuilding supplement called lipoic acid. Their resin can be printed, recycled and reused multiple times, which they hope could in future contribute to reducing waste associated with 3D printing.
    Research Article: Machado et al
    10:05 Research HighlightsHow housing shortages can drive a tiny parrot resort to kill, and the genes that gave cauliflower its curls.
    Research Highlight: These parrots go on killing sprees over real-estate shortages
    Research Highlight: How the cauliflower got its curlicues
    12:27 To learn how to make safe structures researchers... destroyed a buildingMany buildings are designed to prevent collapse by redistributing weight following an initial failure. However this relies on extensive structural connectedness that can result in an entire building being pulled down. To prevent this, researchers took a new approach inspired by the ability of some lizards to shed their tails. They used this to develop a modular system, which they tested by building — and destroying — a two storey structure. Their method stopped an initial failure from spreading, preventing a total collapse. The team hope this finding will help prevent catastrophic collapses, reducing loss of life in aid rescue efforts.
    Research Article: Makoond et al.
    Nature video: Controlled failure: The building designed to limit catastrophe
    23:20: Briefing ChatAn AI algorithm discovers 27,500 new asteroids, and an exquisitely-accurate map of a human brain section reveals cells with previously undiscovered features.
    New York Times: Killer Asteroid Hunters Spot 27,500 Overlooked Space Rocks
    Nature News: Cubic millimetre of brain mapped in spectacular detail
    Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.
    Subscribe to Nature Briefing: AI and robotics

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    • 31 min
    Alphafold 3.0: the AI protein predictor gets an upgrade

    Alphafold 3.0: the AI protein predictor gets an upgrade

    In this episode:
    00:45 A nuclear timekeeper that could transform fundamental-physics research.Nuclear clocks — based on tiny shifts in energy in an atomic nucleus — could be even more accurate and stable than other advanced timekeeping systems, but have been difficult to make. Now, a team of researchers have made a breakthrough in the development of these clocks, identifying the correct frequency of laser light required to make this energy transition happen. Ultimately it’s hoped that physicists could use nuclear clocks to probe the fundamental forces that hold atoms together.
    News: Laser breakthrough paves the way for ultra precise ‘nuclear clock’
    10:34 Research HighlightsWhy life on other planets may come in purple, brown or orange, and a magnetic fluid that could change shape inside the body.
    Research Highlight: Never mind little green men: life on other planets might be purple
    Research Highlight: A magnetic liquid makes for an injectable sensor in living tissue
    13:48 AlphaFold gets an upgradeDeepmind’s AlphaFold has revolutionised research by making it simple to predict the 3D structures of proteins, but it has lacked the ability to predict situations where a protein is bound to another molecule. Now, the AI has been upgraded to AlphaFold 3 and can accurately predict protein-molecule complexes containing DNA, RNA and more. Whilst the new version is restricted to non-commercial use, researchers are excited by its greater range of predictive abilities and the prospect of speedier drug discovery.
    News: Major AlphaFold upgrade offers huge boost for drug discovery
    Research Article: Abramson et al.
    Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.

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    • 21 min
    Talking about sex and gender doesn't need to be toxic

    Talking about sex and gender doesn't need to be toxic

    Ever since scientific enquiry began, people have focused mainly on men, or if studies involve animals, on male mice, male rats or whatever it may be. And this has led to gaps in scientists’ understanding of how diseases, and responses to treatment, and many other things might vary between people of different sexes and genders.
    These days, mainly thanks to big funders like the NIH introducing new guidelines and mandates, a lot more scientists are thinking about sex and, where appropriate, gender. And this has led to a whole host of discoveries.
    But all this research is going on within a sociopolitical climate that’s becoming increasingly hostile and polarized, particularly in relation to gender identity. And in some cases, science is being weaponized to push agendas, creating confusion and fear.
    It is clear that sex and gender exist beyond a simple binary. This is widely accepted by scientists and it is not something we will be debating in this podcast. But this whole area is full of complexity, and there are many discussions which need to be had around funding, inclusivity or research practices.
    To try to lessen fear, and encourage clearer, less divisive thinking, we have asked three contributors to a special series of opinion pieces on sex and gender to come together and thrash out how exactly scientists can fill in years of neglected research – and move forward with exploring the differences between individuals in a way that is responsible, inclusive and beneficial to as many people as possible.
    Read the full collection: Sex and gender in science

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    • 58 min
    Dad's microbiome can affect offsprings' health — in mice

    Dad's microbiome can affect offsprings' health — in mice

    In this episode:
    00:46 Using genomics to explain geographic differences in cancer riskThe risk of developing cancer can vary hugely depending on geographic region, but it’s not exactly clear why. To get a better idea, a team has compared the genomes of kidney cancers taken from people around the globe. They reveal a link between geographical locations and specific genetic mutations, suggesting that there are as-yet unknown environmental or chemical exposures in different locations. They hope this work will inform public health efforts to identify and reduce potential causes of cancer.
    Research Article: Senkin et al.
    News and Views: Genomics reveal unknown mutation-promoting agents at global sites
    07:46 Research HighlightsResearch reveals that the extinct ‘sabre-toothed salmon’ actually had tusks, and a common fungus that can clean up both heavy-metal and organic pollutants.
    Research Highlight: This giant extinct salmon had tusks like a warthog
    Research Highlight: Garden-variety fungus is an expert at environmental clean-ups
    09:55 How disrupting a male mouse’s microbiome affects its offspringDisruption of the gut microbiota has been linked to issues with multiple organs. Now a team show disruption can even affect offspring. Male mice given antibiotics targeting gut microbes showed changes to their testes and sperm, which lead to their offspring having a higher probability of severe growth issues and premature death. Although it’s unknown whether a similar effect would be seen in humans, it suggests that factors other than genetics play a role in intergenerational disease susceptibility.
    Research article: Argaw-Denboba et al.
    News and Views: Dad’s gut microbes matter for pregnancy health and baby’s growth
    17:23 Briefing ChatAn updated atlas of the Moon that was a decade in the making, and using AI to design new gene-editing systems.
    Nature News: China's Moon atlas is the most detailed ever made
    Nature News: ‘ChatGPT for CRISPR’ creates new gene-editing tools
    Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.

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    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
160 Ratings

160 Ratings

Fabrizio.Alberti ,

Good way to get the latest scientific updates

Thank you for keeping the main podcast and the Coronavirus podcast separate!

.Psamathe ,

Too Many Ads

Content is OK and commercial podcasts need ads/money but over time this podcast has gone OTT on ads to the point where it’s a real nuisance, to the point where I’m about to give-up on it.

Ladybird166 ,

Shallow

Only just tried this podcast and a couple of episodes were interesting but interspersed with others tackling subjects in a superficial and very inadequate way. The episode on Long Covid in third world countries was the last straw and I have unsubscribed. A pity, it could be good with the minimum of effort.

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