124 episodes

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.
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    • Science
    • 4.4 • 194 Ratings

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.
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    #124: Lopsided universe; solar activity affects heart health; hero rats trained for rescue missions

    #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 the risk of heart attacks.
    African pouched rats are being trained as heroes. Donning special little backpacks, they will use their keen sense of smell to go on search and rescue missions. The team explains why they’ve been chosen for the task.
    Last September El Salvador became the first country to make cryptocurrency legal tender. But with the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies plummeting, the team examines what the future holds.
    Covid-19 is proving resilient, and as new variants of omicron emerge, infection rates still remain high. As omicron is milder than its predecessors, the team asks whether we should still be worried about the disease, and they find out how it may continue to evolve.
    On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page, Corryn Wetzel, Leah Crane, Jacob Aron and Alice Klein. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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    • 28 min
    #123: ‘Sentient’ claim for Google AI; spacecraft spots starquakes; the rise of the mammals; hot brains

    #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 explores its findings.
    Net Zero pledges are becoming more popular - which is great - but a lot of them aren’t being acted on. According to a new consortium Net Zero Tracker, a worrying number of these pledges aren’t credible. The team finds out how the group aims to hold companies to account.
    Our brains are hotter than we realised - 2.5 degrees celsius hotter in fact. The team asks why we’re only just finding this out in 2022, and how the discovery may improve care for people undergoing brain surgery.
    Steve Brusatte is best known as a dinosaur palaeontologist, but he has turned his attention now to our own class, the mammals. Rowan chats with him, and amongst other things finds out how enslaved Africans in South Carolina were instrumental in the development of palaeontology. 
    On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Clare Wilson,Matt Sparkes and James Dinneen. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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    • 28 min
    #122: The science of Top Gun; the 1.5°C climate goal is out of reach; return to the moon; hepatitis mystery

    #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 he’s found a way of making it about science - or technology, at least. In the film we see many new applications of technology and artificial intelligence in warfare, so we chat with AI and drone expert Arthur Holland Michel to discuss the future of combat and what Top Gun 3 might look like in another thirty years.
    The team brings you an incredibly exotic life form of the week… chickens! It turns out that chickens were domesticated a lot more recently than we thought. Hear some of the humorous archaeological blunders that have led to this confusion.
    In recent months doctors around the world have been reporting mysterious cases of children suddenly developing liver failure. While we don’t know what’s happening, the team explores some possible explanations. 
    On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page and Adam Vaughan. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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    • 27 min
    #121: Creation of artificial life; gene therapy saves children’s lives; new understanding of chronic pain

    #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 the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii has been sequenced. The team finds out how the DNA from 79 AD managed to survive the heat of the volcano, and what the findings tell us about the lives of these two people.
    Solar sails - a method of harnessing the sun’s light for space travel - are usually quite clumsy, so a NASA-funded team is developing a new more agile type of solar sail. The team finds out how they’re overcoming the problem.
    Haider Warraich, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, discusses his new book ‘The Song of Our Scars: The Untold Story of Pain’, which addresses “modern medicine’s failure to understand pain”.
    On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Chelsea Whyte, Leah Crane, Alice Klein, Anna Demming and Alex Wilkins. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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    • 30 min
    #120: DeepMind claims artificial intelligence breakthrough; searching for ancient life on Mars; Stonehenge surprise; monkeypox latest

    #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 about their eating habits.
    CRISPR gene editing has been used to make supercharged tomatoes, rich in vitamin D. The team finds out how they managed to do it, and explains why this breakthrough is particularly good news for vegans.
    Ever wondered what it’s like to explore another planet? We hear from Sanjeev Gupta from Imperial College London, one of the scientists with the breathtaking job of helping Nasa's Perseverance rover navigate Mars, as it starts sampling an ancient river delta to look for ancient life.
    We’re in the midst of the largest known outbreak of monkeypox. The virus is endemic to Central and West Africa, but has begun to spread to the rest of the world, with 170 cases now confirmed. The team examines the likelihood of this virus becoming the next global pandemic.
    On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Jacob Aron and Corryn Wetzel. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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    • 29 min
    #119: How to tackle the global food crisis; rainforest animal orchestra; George Monbiot on humanity’s biggest blight

    #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 (a dummy, not a real human!) is heading to the International Space Station in Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. The test flight is part of NASA’s commercial spacecraft programme, and the team examines its goals.
    Farming is the most destructive human activity ever to have blighted the Earth according to the writer and environmental activist George Monbiot. His new book Regenesis explores his thinking, and explains why we should all be eating microbes instead of animals.
    Read these out loud… “Funk fungus”, “gnome bone”, “spam scrotum”. If you have a smirk across your face, you’re not alone. The team finds out why some word pairings are more funny than others.
    On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Jacob Aron and Michael Le Page. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.
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    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
194 Ratings

194 Ratings

RainbowRad ,

Unmissable

I have only recently started listening to the New Scientist podcast, though I have been reading the magazine for decades. Here you can not only keep up to date with all the latest developments in various sciences, but it is very accessible, with everything explained concisely. Whether you are interested in physics, astronomy, archeology, medicine, neuroscience or any other topic under the general umbrella of science, you should find plenty to learn and enjoy on this podcast.

thorpetowers ,

A bit Blue Peter

Some interesting stuff but often gets a little too Blue Peterish.

Denbyster ,

Highlight of the week

Brilliant hosts make this podcast the highlight of my podcast listening week. They choose great scientific developments giving real insights at a level suitable for a curious layman. They combine passion and humour in their style, (usually) leaving me optimistic about mankinds journey on and off this planet.

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