152 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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New Scientist Weekly New Scientist

    • Science
    • 4.6 • 46 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.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    #152 Ancient species of human could control fire; complete brain map of fly

    #152 Ancient species of human could control fire; complete brain map of fly

    An extinct species of ancient human may have been much more advanced than we first realised. First discovered 10 years ago, Homo neladi had a brain about a third the size of ours and yet it may have done complex things like burying its dead and controlling fire. The team learns about the latest finding from the Rising Star cave near Johannesburg.
    Mars has long been described as geologically dead, but new evidence shows it may still be volcanically active. The team learns about a new theory which might explain what created the mysterious trenches in the Cerberus Fossae region of the planet.
    The largest complete map of the connections between neurons inside a brain has been made - but it’s not of a human brain. This whole-brain connectome is that of a Drosophila larva - the larva of a fruit fly. The team finds out about this massive undertaking - a stepping stone to describing the brains of more complex animals.
    Are penguins self-aware? When we try to answer this question in any animal, we tend to use the controversial mirror method - and that’s exactly what a group of researchers have done. But does it actually work, and can we trust the new findings? 
    The remains of the last known thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) have been found, 80 years after they went missing. Self-described Australian mammal nerd Jack Ashby of Cambridge University tells the team how this curious mystery was solved. As the author of Platypus Matters, Jack also shares a story about Platypuses, and the “cocktail of misery” in the animal’s poisonous sting.
    On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penn Sarchet, Leah Crane, Alison George and Michael Marshall. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com.
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    • 31 min
    #151 COP15: the meeting to save life on Earth; anti-ageing properties of urine

    #151 COP15: the meeting to save life on Earth; anti-ageing properties of urine

    Following repeated delays, the COP15 biodiversity conference is finally going ahead. On December 7th representatives from most of the countries in the world will meet to reach an agreement on how to address the global biodiversity crisis. There’s already a draft agreement in place, and the team explains the ambitions it lays out. But is this event likely to move the needle?
    A species of rat which should have gone extinct has somehow managed to keep going - and now we know why. In a story worthy of Margaret Atwood, the team finds out how the Amami spiny rat continues to survive despite losing its Y chromosome, the one which makes males. 
    There’s a genuine space race going on, with multiple companies hoping to become the first private firm to land on the Moon. The Japanese mission ispace has hit a delay, but the team explains how a viable lunar economy is now a serious prospect.
    Newborn female mice who sniff the urine of other female mice live longer - considerably so in fact. The team finds out what’s going on, and whether the finding applies to humans too…
    And Rowan chats with Henry Gee, senior editor at the journal Nature, who has won the 2022 Royal Society science book Prize. He describes his book, ‘A Very Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 billion years in 12 chapters’, as a bedtime story for adults, that tells the greatest story ever - the whole saga of life on Earth.
    On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, James Dinneen, Michael Le Page and Leah Crane. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com.
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    • 25 min
    #150 Megadrought in the US; how to move an elephant

    #150 Megadrought in the US; how to move an elephant

    The southwestern US is currently in the midst of a megadrought - the worst in 1200 years. And it has put the Colorado River in crisis, an essential source of water for more than 40 million people. Can it be saved? Chelsea Whyte investigates.
    The team unveils the fun new names that have been chosen to define incomprehensibly massive and incredibly tiny numbers. These prefixes describe measurements that have more than 27 zeroes, created as part of the International System of Units.
    Like mac and cheese but hate the faff of making a roux? You’re in luck. Sam Wong shares a science-based one-pot mac hack, that’ll save you time and up the flavour too.
    Was COP27 in Egypt a success or a flop? Madeleine Cuff describes it as a mixed bag. After returning from the climate summit in Sharm El-Sheik, she reports on the progress that was made, and the vital issues that must be addressed over the next 12 months.
    Have you ever wondered how to move an elephant? Well, Ugandan wildlife vet Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka has done it, andit’s a struggle. She was given the task early on in her career, working at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, and she shares her experience.
    On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Chelsea Whyte, Alex Wilkins, Madeleine Cuff, Graham Lawton and Sam Wong. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. For New Scientist’s in depth series on the US megadrought, visit newscientist.com/megadrought.
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    • 26 min
    #149 COP27 treaty emerges; a method to discover wormholes

    #149 COP27 treaty emerges; a method to discover wormholes

    Cheering greeted Brazil’s president-elect, Lula da Silva, when he appeared at COP27 this week. Madeleine Cuff brings us a report from the climate conference in Egypt, where Lula has made bold promises to protect the Amazon. She also tells us what we can expect from this year’s draft treaty - and why the text has been causing quite a stir.
    There’s plenty going on in Space, with NASA’s Artemis mission now finally launching to the Moon. And the news that we may be able to look for wormholes (if they exist). These are different to black holes because they are traversable - handy if you happen to be an interstellar traveller looking for a fast route across the universe.
    Our ancestors may have begun using sophisticated cooking methods as long as 780,000 years ago. The team explains how fish teeth have been discovered near hearths at an ancient settlement in Israel. And X-ray analysis suggests they may have been cooked in some sort of earthen oven.
    Rowan visits a colony of leaf-cutter ants, who use an incredible method of farming fungi that evolved between 45 and 65 million years ago. David Labonte at Imperial College London explains how this complex and decentralised society operates.
    And have you ever wondered why some poos float and others sink? Too much fat in your diet? Fibre maybe? Or is it gas? Well, new research has lifted the toilet lid on this age-old question, and the team shares the results.
    On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Madeleine Cuff, Leah Crane, Alice Klein and Sam Wong. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com.
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    • 31 min
    #148 Climate action from COP27; world population reaches 8 billion

    #148 Climate action from COP27; world population reaches 8 billion

    Warnings over the world’s mad dash to create new supplies of fossil fuels, discussions about climate loss and damage, and talk about nature-based solutions. COP27 in Egypt is in full swing. Our reporter Madeleine Cuff brings us the latest, direct from Sharm el Sheikh.
    This week’s Sci-fi alert is the unusual discovery of a star with a solid surface. The team explains how on this magnetar (the dense corpse of an exploded star), gravity would be immense and time would behave really weirdly - that’s if you’d be able to land on the thing. They also discuss how the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica has been able to plot the course of cosmic neutrinos back to their home galaxy.
    The 15th of November has been chosen by the UN to mark the point that the number of people on the planet passes 8 billion. Despite this, the team explains how the world’s population isn’t accelerating, and is expected to peak sometime this century - sharing surprising statistics from Japan and China.
    Birds that migrate long distances are more likely to break up with their partners. Usually bird species are pretty much monogamous, so the team finds out why travelling species find it harder to stay together.
    “May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.” The team shares news of the discovery of the oldest readable sentence written using the first alphabet.
    On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Madeleine Cuff, Leah Crane and Michael Le Page. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com.
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    • 28 min
    #147 The oldest yew trees in Europe – and how to save them

    #147 The oldest yew trees in Europe – and how to save them

    In a special episode of the podcast, host Rowan Hooper visits Newlands Corner in the North Downs in southern England, the site of one of the oldest and most significant populations of wild yews growing anywhere in the world.
    Yew trees are familiar from churchyards and are also revered by pagans and shamans. They can live for many hundreds of years. The grove at Newlands Corner is an exceptional ecosystem, with yews over 1000 years old, but they are declining, losing their needles and slowly dying. Rowan meets arboreal scientist Geoff Monck of Treecosystems, who specialises in surveying and restoring arboreal ecosystems.
    The cause of the decline in ancient yews has many factors, but the impact of nitrates in rainwater and in run-off from crop fields is perhaps the most important. Rowan hears how nitrates are changing the way the wood wide web operates, and how we might be able to fix it. 
    New Scientist podcasts are freely available. Subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.

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    • 11 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
46 Ratings

46 Ratings

HaraldS ,

I there is only one podcast to listen to, it’s this one!

The only bad thing about this intelligent, informative, and entertaining podcast is that it’s only once a week. I would love it daily.

It’s the one podcast I never miss.

moving on-missu ,

Cut the weak limbs

Your 30000 year old amputation story is not worth saving and should be removed. It was 100% speculation and below par for the show and for inebriated 21 year olds at the bar or a dungeon and dragon Tuesday night meeting.

Please review before posting or we’ll all need to cut the podcast off to save our dignity.

JadeTLG ,

Informative!

We subscribe to the weekly New Scientist magazine as well. Enjoy listening to NS podcast while waiting for new issue!

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