726 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
    • 4.5 • 677 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.

    How AI could improve robotics, the cockroach’s origins, and promethium spills its secrets

    How AI could improve robotics, the cockroach’s origins, and promethium spills its secrets

    In this episode:
    00:25 What the rise of AI language models means for robotsCompanies are melding artificial intelligence with robotics, in an effort to catapult both to new heights. They hope that by incorporating the algorithms that power chatbots it will give robots more common-sense knowledge and let them tackle a wide range of tasks. However, while impressive demonstrations of AI-powered robots exist, many researchers say there is a long road to actual deployment, and that safety and reliability need to be considered.
    News Feature: The AI revolution is coming to robots: how will it change them?

    16:09 How the cockroach became a ubiquitous pestGenetic research suggests that although the German cockroach (Blattella germanica) spread around the world from a population in Europe, its origins were actually in South Asia. By comparing genomes from cockroaches collected around the globe, a team could identify when and where different populations might have been established. They show that the insect pest likely began to spread east from South Asia around 390 years ago with the rise of European colonialism and the emergence of international trading companies, before hitching a ride into Europe and then spreading across the globe.
    Nature News: The origin of the cockroach: how a notorious pest conquered the world

    20:26: Rare element inserted into chemical 'complex' for the first timePromethium is one of the rarest and most mysterious elements in the periodic table. Now, some eight decades after its discovery, researchers have managed to bind this radioactive element to other molecules to make a chemical ‘complex’. This feat will allow chemists to learn more about the properties of promethium filling a long-standing gap in the textbooks.
    Nature News: Element from the periodic table’s far reaches coaxed into elusive compound
    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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    • 23 min
    How mathematician Freeman Hrabowski opened doors for Black scientists

    How mathematician Freeman Hrabowski opened doors for Black scientists

    Growing up in Alabama in the 1960s, mathematician Freeman Hrabowski was moved to join the civil rights moment after hearing Martin Luther King Jr speak. Even as a child, he saw the desperate need to make change. He would go on to do just that — at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he co-founded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, one of the leading pathways to success for Black students in STEM subjects in the United States.
    Freeman is the subject of the first in a new series of Q&As in Nature celebrating ‘Changemakers’ in science — individuals who fight racism and champion inclusion. He spoke to us about his about his life, work and legacy.
    Career Q&A: I had my white colleagues walk in a Black student’s shoes for a day

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    • 36 min
    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

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
677 Ratings

677 Ratings

hootieman ,

Perfect

I love reading Nature but the publisher has given me lots of issues, not paying $200 for zero customer service - so at this point I just listen

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You lost me. This is anti science.

“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.”

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