371 episodes

Weekly podcasts from Science Magazine, the world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary.

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Weekly podcasts from Science Magazine, the world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary.

    All your COVID-19 vaccine questions answered, and a new theory on forming rocky planets

    All your COVID-19 vaccine questions answered, and a new theory on forming rocky planets

    Science Staff Writer Jon Cohen joins host Sarah Crespi to take on some of big questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, such as: Do they stop transmission? Will we need boosters? When will life get back to “normal.”

    Sarah also talks with Anders Johansen, professor of planetary sciences and planet formation at the University of Copenhagen, about his Science Advances paper on a new theory for the formation of rocky planets in our Solar System. Instead of emerging out of ever-larger collisions of protoplanets, the new idea is that terrestrial planets like Earth and Mars formed from the buildup of many small pebbles.

    This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.

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    • 28 min
    Building Africa’s Great Green Wall, and using whale songs as seismic probes

    Building Africa’s Great Green Wall, and using whale songs as seismic probes

    Science journalist Rachel Cernansky joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about progress on Africa’s Great Green Wall project and the important difference between planting and growing a tree.

    Sarah also talks with Václav Kuna, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, about using loud and long songs from fin whales to image structures under the ocean floor.

    This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.

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    • 21 min
    Looking back at 20 years of human genome sequencing

    Looking back at 20 years of human genome sequencing

    This week we’re dedicating the whole show to the 20th anniversary of the publication of the human genome. Today, about 30 million people have had their genomes sequenced. This remarkable progress has brought with it issues of data sharing, privacy, and inequality.

    Host Sarah Crespi spoke with a number of researchers about the state of genome science, starting with Yaniv Erlich, from the Efi Arazi School of Computer Science and CEO of Eleven Biotherapeutics, who talks about privacy in the age of easily obtainable genomes.

    Next up Charles Rotimi, director of the Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health at the National Human Genome Research Institute, discusses diversity—or lack thereof—in the field and what it means for the kinds of research that happens.

    Finally, Dorothy Roberts, professor in the departments of Africana studies and sociology and the law school at the University of Pennsylvania, talks about the seemingly never-ending project of disentangling race and genomes.

    This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.

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    • 34 min
    Calculating the social cost of carbon, and listening to mole rat chirps

    Calculating the social cost of carbon, and listening to mole rat chirps

    On its first day, the new Biden administration announced plans to recalculate the social cost of carbon—a way of estimating the economic toll of greenhouse gases. Staff Writer Paul Voosen and host Sarah Crespi discuss why this value is so important and how it will be determined. 

    Next up, Alison Barker, a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, talks with Sarah about the sounds of naked mole rats. You may already know naked mole rats are pain and cancer resistant—but did you know these eusocial mammals make little chirps to identify themselves as colony members? Can these learned local dialects make naked mole rats a new research model for language learning?

    This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.

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    • 22 min
    Counting research rodents, a possible cause for irritable bowel syndrome, and spitting cobras

    Counting research rodents, a possible cause for irritable bowel syndrome, and spitting cobras

    Online News Editor David Grimm joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss a controversial new paper that estimates how many rodents are used in research in the United States each year. Though there is no official number, the paper suggests there might be more than 100 million rats and mice housed in research facilities in the country—doubling or even tripling some earlier estimates.

    Next, Staff Writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel talks with Sarah about a new theory behind the cause of irritable bowel syndrome—that it might be a localized allergic reaction in the gut.

    Sarah also chats with Taline Kazandjian, a postdoctoral research associate at the Centre for Snakebite Research & Interventions in Liverpool, U.K., about how the venom from spitting cobras has evolved to cause maximum pain and why these snakes might have developed the same defense mechanism three different times.

    This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.

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    • 27 min
    An elegy for Arecibo, and how our environments change our behavior

    An elegy for Arecibo, and how our environments change our behavior

    Science Senior Correspondent Daniel Clery regales host Sarah Crespi with tales about the most important work to come from 57 years of research at the now-defunct Arecibo Observatory and plans for the future of the site.

    Sarah also talks with Toman Barsbai, an associate professor in the school of economics at the University of Bristol, about the influence of ecology on human behavior—can we figure out how many of our behaviors are related to the different environments where we live? Barsbai and colleagues took on this question by comparing behaviors around finding food, reproduction, and social hierarchy in three groups of animals living in the same places: foraging humans, nonhuman mammals, and birds.

    This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.

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    • 23 min

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