Science Magazine Podcast

By Science Magazine

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Subscribers: 3031
Reviews: 4

Anders
 Jul 13, 2020

Kas Pi
 Nov 10, 2018
Half of the program is basically an NSA hiring campaign. Bring science to the nerds in order to lure them into surveillance crime. Terrible program, really.

Harald Clark
 Oct 28, 2018
Good and quick glimpses into scientific fields. I find the sponsor adverts irritating, but overall well produced podcast.

A Podcast Republic user
 Jul 27, 2018

Description

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

Episode Date
Seeing the Milky Way’s central black hole, and calling dolphins by their names
2477
On this week’s show: The shadow of Milky Way’s giant black hole has been seen for the first time, and bottlenose dolphins recognize each other by signature whistles—and tastes  It’s been a few years since the first image of a black hole was published—that of the supermassive black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy came about in 2019. Now, we have a similar image of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way—our very own galaxy. Staff Writer Daniel Clery joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss why these images look so much alike, even though M87’s black hole is 1600 times larger than ours. We also discuss what’s next for the telescope that captured these shots. Also this week, we take to the seas. Bottlenose dolphins are known to have a “signature whistle” they use to announce their identity to other dolphins. This week in Science Advances, Jason Bruck and colleagues write about how they may also recognize other dolphins through another sense: taste. Jason, an assistant professor in the department of biology at Stephen F. Austin State University, talks with Sarah about what this means for dolphin minds. In a sponsored segment from the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office, Sean Sanders, director and senior editor, interviews Gary Michelson, founder and co-chair of Michelson Philanthropies, about the importance of supporting research in the field of immunology—and where that support should be directed. This segment is sponsored by Michelson Philanthropies. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Dolphin Quest ; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: bottlenose dolphin peeking its head out of the water with podcast symbol overlay] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Daniel Clery Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.add0515 About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 19, 2022
Fixing fat bubbles for vaccines, and preventing pain from turning chronic
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On this week’s show: Lipid nanoparticles served us well as tiny taxis delivering millions of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19, but they aren’t optimized—yet, and why we might need inflammation to stop chronic pain The messenger RNA payload of the mRNA vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 is wrapped up in little fatty packets called lipid nanoparticles (LNPs). These fat bubbles were originally designed for something much different—carrying molecules into cells to silence genes. But they were useful and we were in a hurry, so not much was changed about them when they were pressed into service against COVID-19. Science journalist Elie Dolgin talks with host Sarah Crespi about ongoing efforts to improve LNPs as a delivery system for mRNA vaccines and therapeutic treatments. Next on the show, we hear about “pain chronification.” Have you ever thought about chronic pain? What happens in the body when it heals—no specific thing is broken—but the pain never subsides? Sarah chats with Luda Diatchenko, professor on the faculties of medicine and dentistry at McGill University, about her Science Translational Medicine paper on the need for inflammation to prevent pain chronification.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: V. Altounian/Science; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: lipid nanoparticle illustration with podcast symbol overlay] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Elie Dolgin Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adc9455 About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 12, 2022
Staking out the start of the Anthropocene, and why sunscreen is bad for coral
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On this week’s show: Geoscientists eye contenders for where to mark the beginning of the human-dominated geological epoch, and how sunscreen turns into photo toxin We live in the Anthropocene: an era on our planet that is dominated by human activity to such an extent that the evidence is omnipresent in the soil, air, and even water. But how do we mark the start? Science Staff Writer Paul Voosen talks with host Sarah Crespi about how geoscientists are choosing the one place on Earth that best shows the advent of the Anthropocene, the so-called “golden spike.”   Also this week, Djordje Vuckovic, a Ph.D. candidate in the department of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, joins Sarah to talk about how sunscreen threatens coral reefs. Reefs are under a lot of stress these days, from things like warming waters, habitat destruction, and the loss of their fishy friends to voracious fishermen. Another suspected stressor is chemical sunscreens, which drift off swimming tourists. It turns out that common chemicals in sunscreen that protect skin from the Sun are modified by sea anemones and corals into a photo toxin that damages them when exposed to the Sun’s rays.   This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.   [Image: Amanda Tinoco; Music: Jeffrey Cook]   [alt: photo of healthy corals at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia with podcast symbol overlay]   Authors: Sarah Crespi; Paul Voosen   TWEET New @ScienceMagazine Podcast: @voooos Djordje Vuckovic @cee_stanford https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abq8294   This week on the @ScienceMagazine Podcast, reporter @voooos   https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abq8294         ++ LINKS FOR MP3 META   Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abq8294   About the Science Podcast:https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast                   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 05, 2022
Using quantum tools to track dark matter, why rabies remains, and a book series on science and food
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On this week’s show: How physicists are using quantum sensors to suss out dark matter, how rabies thwarts canine vaccination campaigns, and a kickoff for our new series with authors of books on food, land management, and nutrition science Dark matter hunters have turned to quantum sensors to find elusive subatomic particles that may exist outside physicists’ standard model. Adrian Cho, a staff writer for Science, joins host Sarah Crespi to give a tour of the latest dark matter particle candidates—and the traps that physicists are setting for them. Next, we hear from Katie Hampson, a professor in the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow, about her work contact tracing rabies in Tanzania. Her group was able to track rabies in a population of 50,000 dogs over 14 years. The massive study gives new insight into how to stop a virus that circulates at superlow levels but keeps popping up, despite vaccine campaigns. Finally, we launch our 2022 books series on food and agriculture. In six interviews, which will be released monthly for the rest of the year, host and science journalist Angela Saini will speak to authors of recent books on topics from Indigenous land management to foods that are going extinct. This month, Angela talks with Lenore Newman, director of the Food and Agriculture Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley, who helped select the books for the series. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Suzanne McNabb; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: Dogs in Tanzania with podcast symbol overlay] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Angela Saini, Adrian Cho Episode page: https://www.science.org/content/podcast/using-quantum-tools-track-dark-matter-why-rabies-remains-and-book-series-science-and About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast                  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 28, 2022
Protecting birds from brightly lit buildings, and controlling robots from orbit
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On this week’s show: Saving birds from city lights, and helping astronauts inhabit robots First up, Science Contributing Correspondent Josh Sokol talks with host Sarah Crespi about the millions of migrating birds killed every year when they slam into buildings—attracted by brightly lit windows. New efforts are underway to predict bird migrations and dim lights along their path, using a bird-forecasting system called . Next, we hear from Aaron Pereira, a researcher at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and a guest researcher at the human robot interaction lab at the European Space Agency. He chats with Sarah about his Science Robotics paper on controlling a robot on Earth from the International Space Station and the best way for an astronaut to “immerse” themselves in a rover or make themselves feel like it is an extension of their body.  In a sponsored segment from Science and the AAAS Custom Publishing Office, Sean Sanders, director and senior editor for custom publishing, interviews Alberto Pugliese, professor of medicine, microbiology, and immunology at the University of Miami, about a program he leads to advance research into type 1 diabetes. This segment is sponsored by the Helmsley Charitable Trust and nPod (the Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes). This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: M. Panzirsch et al., Science Robotics (2022); Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: remote-controlled rover with podcast symbol overlay] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Josh Sokol Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abq5907 About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 21, 2022
Desert ‘skins’ drying up, and one of the oldest Maya calendars
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On this week’s show: Climate change is killing critical soil organisms in arid regions, and early evidence for the Maya calendar from a site in Guatemala Staff Writer Elizabeth Pennisi joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss how climate change is affecting “biocrust,” a thin layer of fungi, lichens, and other microbes that sits on top of desert soil, helping retain water and create nutrients for rest of the ecosystem. Recent measurements in Utah suggest the warming climate is causing a decline in the lichen component of biocrust, which is important for adding nitrogen into soils. Next, Sarah talks with Skidmore College anthropologist Heather Hurst, who directs Guatemala’s San Bartolo-Xultun Regional Archaeological Project, and David Stuart, a professor of art history and director of the Mesoamerica Center at the University of Texas, Austin, about their new Science Advances paper. The study used radiocarbon dating to pin down the age of one of the earliest pieces of the Maya calendar. Found in an archaeological dig in San Bartolo, Guatemala, the character known as “seven deer” (which represents a day in the Maya calendar), was dated to 300 B.C.E. That early appearance challenges what researchers know about the age and origins of the Maya dating system. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Heather Hurst; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: Ixbalamque painting from San Barolo, Guatemala, with podcast symbol overlay] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Liz Pennisi Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abq4848 About the Science Podcast:https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast     See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 14, 2022
A surprisingly weighty fundamental particle, and surveying the seas for RNA viruses
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On this week’s show: A new measurement of the W boson could challenge physicists’ standard model, and an abundance of marine RNA viruses Staff Writer Adrian Cho joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss a new threat to the standard model of particle physics—a heavier than expected measurement of a fundamental particle called the W boson. They chat about how this measurement was taken, and what it means if it is right. Next, Sarah talks about the microscopic denizens of Earth’s oceans with Ahmed Zayed, a research scientist in the department of microbiology at Ohio State University, Columbus. They talk about findings from a global survey of marine RNA viruses. The results double the number of known RNA viruses, suggesting new classifications will be needed to categorize all this viral diversity. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: A. Mastin/Science; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: illustration of three RNA viruses with podcast symbol overlay] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Adrian Cho Episode page:  https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abq3391 About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 07, 2022
Probing Earth’s mysterious inner core, and the most complete human genome to date
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On this week’s show: A journey to the center of the center of the Earth, and what was missing from the first human genome project Staff Writer Paul Voosen talks with host Sarah Crespi about the many mysteries surrounding the innermost part of our planet—from its surprisingly recent birth to whether it spins faster or slower than the rest of the planet. Next,Sarah chats with Adam Phillippy about the results from the Telomere-to-Telomere (T2T) Consortium, an effort to create a complete and detailed read of the human genome. Phillippy, a senior investigator and head of the Genome Informatics Section at the National Human Genome Research Institute, explains what we can learn by topping up the human genome with roughly 200 more megabases of genetic information—practically a whole chromosome’s worth of additional sequencing. See all the T2T papers. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: V. Altounian/Science; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: An array of the human chromosomes showing newly sequenced parts from the Telomere-to-Telomere Consortium with podcast symbol overlay] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Paul Voosen Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abq1885 About the Science Podcast:https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 31, 2022
Scientists become targets on social media, and battling space weather
1629
On this week’s show: Why it’s tougher than ever to be a researcher on Twitter, and a highlight from this year’s AAAS Annual Meeting First up, Contributing Correspondent Cathleen O’Grady talks with host Sarah Crespi about the harassment that COVID-19 researchers are facing and a survey conducted by Science that shows more media exposure is linked to higher levels of abuse. Next, producer Meagan Cantwell shares another interview from this year’s AAAS Annual Meeting. She talks with Delores Knipp, a research professor in the Ann and H.J. Smead aerospace engineering sciences department at the University of Colorado, Boulder, about what happens when our well-behaved Sun behaves badly. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: SkyLab 4/NASA; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: solar flare image taken from Skylab 4] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Cathleen O'Grady Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adb2091 About the Science Podcast:https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 24, 2022
The challenges of testing medicines during pregnancy, and when not paying attention makes sense
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On this week’s show: Getting pregnant people into clinical trials, and tracking when mice aren’t paying attention First up, Staff Writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss how scientists can overcome the lack of research on drug safety in pregnancy. Next,Nikola Grujic, a Ph.D. student at the Institute for Neuroscience at ETH Zürich, talks aboutrational inattention in mice and how it helps explain why our brains notice certain things—and miss others. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Stefan Rotter/iStock; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: rodent peering out of a hole] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Jennifer Couzin-Frankel Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adb2037 About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 17, 2022
Monitoring wastewater for SARS-CoV-2, and looking back at the biggest questions about the pandemic
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On this week’s show: We have highlights from a special COVID-19 retrospective issue on lessons learned after 2 years of the pandemic First up, Contributing Correspondent Gretchen Vogel joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss what scientists have learned from scanning sewage for COVID-19 RNA. And now that so many wastewater monitoring stations are in place—what else can we do with them?  Next, we have researcher Katia Koelle, an associate professor of biology at Emory University. She wrote a review on the evolving epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2: What have been the most important questions from epidemiologists over the course of the pandemic, and how can they help us navigate future pandemic threats? Check out the full COVID-19 retrospective issue on lessons learned from the pandemic. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Stephan Schmitz/Folio Art; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: partially constructed bridge over water filled with giant SARS-CoV-2 viral particles] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Gretchen Vogel Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adb1867 About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 10, 2022
A global treaty on plastic pollution, and a dearth of Black physicists
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On this week’s show: The ins and outs of the first global treaty on plastic pollution, and why the United States has so few Black physicists First up, Staff Writer Erik Stokstad joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the world’s first global treaty on plastics pollution–and the many questions that need answers to make it work. Read a related Policy Forum here. Up next, we hear from some of more than 50 Black physicists interviewed for a special news package in Scienceabout the barriers Black physicists face, and potential models for change drawing on a 2020 report that documents how the percentage of undergraduates physics degrees going to Black students has declined over the past 20 years. In his excerpt, Willie Rockward, chair and professor of physics at Morgan State University, describes how a study group dubbed the “Black Hole” provided much-needed support for him and four colleagues who were part of the first cohort of Black graduate physics students at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Next, Fana Mulu-Moore, a physics and astronomy instructor at Aims Community College in Greeley, Colorado, explains her ‘life-changing’ transition from research to teaching, and how it has given her a sense of purpose. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Carl Campbell/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: sheaves of plastic wrap photographed against a black background] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Erik Stokstad Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adb1765 About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 03, 2022
Securing nuclear waste for 100,000 years, and the link between math literacy and life satisfaction
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On this week’s show: Finland puts the finishing touches on the world’s first high-level permanent nuclear repository, and why being good at math might make you both happy and sad First up, freelance science journalist Sedeer El-Showk joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss his visit to a permanent nuclear waste repository being built deep underground in Finland, and the technology—and political maneuvering—needed to secure the site for 100,000 years. Also this week, Pär Bjälkebring, a senior lecturer in the department of psychology at the University of Gothenburg, talks with Sarah on the sidelines of the 2022 annual meeting of AAAS (publisher of Science) about the link between numeracy—math literacy—income, and life satisfaction. Bjälkebring took part in the AAAS panel Decision-Making with Large Numbers and Its Underlying Psychological Mechanisms on 19 February. Learn more about the 2022 AAAS meeting here. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Tapani Karjanlahti/TVO; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: photograph of a digging machine inside a giant cave] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Sedeer El-Showk Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.ada1534 About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 24, 2022
COVID-19’s long-term impact on the heart, and calculating the survival rate of human artifacts
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On this week’s show: A giant study suggests COVID-19 takes a serious toll on heart health—a full year after recovery, and figuring out what percentage of ancient art, books, and even tools has survived the centuries  First up, Staff Writer Meredith Wadman talks with host Sarah Crespi about a new study that looked at more than 150,000 COVID-19 patient records and found increases in risk for 20 different cardiovascular conditions 1 year after recovery. Also this week we have Mike Kestemont, an associate professor in the department of literature at the University of Antwerp, talking about an estimate of how much of antiquity has endured.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Public domain; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: illuminated manuscript page showing a giant R, plus a person and some writing] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meredith Wadman Episode page:  https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.ada1311 About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 17, 2022
Merging supermassive black holes, and communicating science in the age of social media
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On this week’s show: What we can learn from two supermassive black holes that appear to be on a collision course with each other, and the brave new online world in which social media dominates and gatekeeps public access to scientific information First up, Staff Writer Daniel Clery talks with host Sarah Crespi about the possibly imminent merger of two supermassive black holes in a nearby galaxy. How imminent? We might see a signal as early as 100 days from now.  Also, this week we have a special section on science and social media. In her contribution, Dominique Brossard, professor and chair in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, talks about the shift in the source of scientific information away from traditional publishers, newspapers, etc. to social media platforms, and what it means for the future of science communication. Finally, we share some tweets about the relationship of social media and science communication submitted by young readers in our Letters section. You can read our picks here or check out all the submissions on Twitter at #NextGenSci. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: NASA’S GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: simulation of a pair of supermassive black holes on the cusp of merging] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Daniel Clery Episode page:  https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.ada1028 About the Science Podcast:https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 10, 2022
Building a green city in a biodiversity hot spot, and live monitoring vehicle emissions
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On this week’s show: Environmental concerns over Indonesia building a new capital on Borneo, and keeping an eye on pollution as it comes out of the tailpipe First up this week, Contributing Correspondent Dennis Normile talks with host Sarah Crespi about Indonesia’s plans for an ultragreen new capital city on the island of Borneo. Despite intentions to limit the environmental impact of the new urban center, many are concerned about unplanned growth surrounding the city which could threaten rare plants and animals.   Also this week, John Zhou, professor of environmental engineering at the University of Technology Sydney talks with Sarah about his Science Advances paper on reducing pollution from cars and trucks by live monitoring vehicle emissions using remote sensors. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Malinda Rathnayake/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: cars on the road in a city at sunset] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Dennis Normile See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 03, 2022
Fecal transplants in pill form, and gut bacteria that nourish hibernating squirrels
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On this week’s show: A pill derived from human feces treats recurrent gut infections, and how a squirrel’s microbiome supplies nitrogen during hibernation First up this week, Staff Writer Kelly Servick joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss putting the bacterial benefits of human feces in a pill. The hope is to avoid using fecal transplants to treat recurrent gut infections caused by the bacterium Clostridium difficile. Also this week, Hannah Carey, a professor in the department of comparative biosciences within the school of veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, talks with Sarah about how ground squirrels are helped by their gut microbes during hibernation. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Public domain; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: illustration of two 13-lined ground squirrels] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Kelly Servick Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.ada0494 About the Science Podcast:https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 27, 2022
A window into live brains, and what saliva tells babies about human relationships
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On this week’s show: Ethical concerns rise with an increase in open brain research, and how sharing saliva can be a proxy for the closeness of a relationship Human brains are protected by our hard skulls, but these bony shields also keep researchers out. With brain surgeries and brain implants on the rise, scientists are getting more chances to explore living brains. Staff Writer Kelly Servick joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about the ethics of doing research on patients undergoing intense medical procedures, and the kinds of research being done. Also this week, Ashley Thomas, a postdoctoral researcher in the brain and cognitive science department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, talks about the meaning behind sharing saliva. Spend any time with a baby lately? Were you in awe—eager to cuddle, kiss, even change a diaper? Or were you slightly horrified by the drool and other fluids seeping out of this new human? Your feelings on the matter might depend on your closeness with the baby and—as Thomas and colleagues write this week in Science—the baby may notice which way you feel. According to their results, babies, like adults, seem to recognize sharing saliva—like sharing food and utensils or kissing—as a signal of close relationships. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Onfokus/Getty/iStockphoto; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: baby chewing on a cellphone] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Kelly Servick Episode page: http://www.science.org/content/podcast/window-live-brains-and-what-saliva-tells-babies-about-human-relationships  About the Science Podcast:https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 20, 2022
Cloning for conservation, and divining dynamos on super-Earths
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On this week’s show: How cloning can introduce diversity into an endangered species, and ramping up the pressure on iron to see how it might behave in the cores of rocky exoplanets First up this week, News Intern Rachel Fritts talks with host Sarah Crespi about cloning a frozen ferret to save an endangered species. Also this week, Rick Kraus, a research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, talks about how his group used a powerful laser to compress iron to pressures similar to those found in the cores of some rocky exoplanets. If these super-Earths’ cores are like our Earth’s, they may have a protective magnetosphere that increases their chances of hosting life. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Kimberly Fraser/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: three baby black-footed ferrets being held by gloved hands] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Rachel Fritts Episode page:  https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.acz9974 About the Science Podcast:https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 13, 2022
Setting up a permafrost observatory, and regulating transmissible vaccines
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On this week’s show: Russia announces plans to monitor permafrost, and a conversation about the dangers of self-spreading engineered viruses and vaccines Science journalist Olga Dobrovidova joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about plans to set up a national permafrost observatory in Russia. Then Filippa Lentzos, senior lecturer in science and international security in the department of war studies and in the department of global health and social medicine, and co-director for the center for science and security at King’s College London, joins Sarah to discuss her Science commentary on the dangers of transmissible vaccines for controlling invasive species and viruses found in wildlife.   This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Евгений Ерыгин/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: person walking on snow at night in city of Norilsk, Russia] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Olga Dobrovidova See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 06, 2022
Top online stories, the state of marijuana research, and Afrofuturism
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On this week’s show: The best of our online stories, what we know about the effects of cannabinoids, and the last in our series of books on race and science First, Online News Editor David Grimm brings the top online stories of the year—from headless slugs to Dyson spheres. You can find out the other top stories and the most popular online story of the year here. Then, Tibor Harkany, a professor of molecular neuroscience at the Medical University of Vienna’s Center for Brain Research, talks with host Sarah Crespi about the state of marijuana research. Pot has been legalized in many places, and many people take cannabinoids—but what do we know about the effects of these molecules on people? Tibor calls for more research into their helpful and harmful potential.  Finally, we have the very last installment of our series of books on race and science. Books host Angela Saini talks with physician and science fiction author Tade Thompson about his book Rosewater. Listen to the whole series. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Biodiversity Heritage Library/Flickr/Public Domain; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: illustration of a wombat] Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm; Angela Saini See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 23, 2021
The Breakthrough of the year show, and the best of science books
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Every year Science names its top breakthrough of the year and nine runners up. Online News Editor Catherine Matacic joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss what Science’s editors consider some of the biggest innovations of 2021. Also this week, Books Editor Valerie Thompson shares her list of top science books for the year—from an immunology primer by a YouTuber, to a contemplation of the universe interwoven with a close up look at how the science sausage is made. Books on Valerie’s list: Immune: A Journey into the Mysterious System that Keeps You Alive by Phillip Dettmer Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime and Dreams Deferredby Chanda Prescod-Weinstein The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow Listen to last year’s books round up. List of this year’s top science books for kids.   This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Valerie Altounian/Science; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: golden protein confetti] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Catherine Matacic; Valerie Thompson   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 16, 2021
Tapping fiber optic cables for science, and what really happens when oil meets water
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Geoscientists are turning to fiber optic cables as a means of measuring seismic activity. But rather than connecting them to instruments, the cables are the instruments. Joel Goldberg talks with Staff Writer Paul Voosen about tapping fiber optic cables for science. Also this week, host Sarah Crespi talks with Sylvie Roke, a physicist and chemist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, and director of its Laboratory for fundamental BioPhotonics, about the place where oil meets water. Despite the importance of the interaction between the hydrophobic and the hydrophilic to biology, and to life, we don’t know much about what happens at the interface of these substances. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Artography/Shutterstock; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: oil droplets and water] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Paul Voosen; Joel Goldberg Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.acx9771 About the Science Podcast:https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 09, 2021
The ethics of small COVID-19 trials, and visiting an erupting volcano
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There has been so much research during the pandemic—an avalanche of preprints, papers, and data—but how much of it is any good? Contributing Correspondent Cathleen O’Grady joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the value of poorly designed research on COVID-19 and more generally.  In September, the volcano Cumbre Vieja on Spain’s Canary Islands began to erupt. It is still happening. The last time it erupted was back in 1971, so we don’t know much about the features of the past eruption or the signs it was coming. Marc-Antoine Longpré, a volcanologist and associate professor at Queens College, City University of New York, discusses the ongoing eruption with Sarah and what today’s sensors tell us about what happens when this volcano wakes up. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Eduardo Robaina; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [alt: The eruption of Cumbre Vieja, September 2021] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Cathleen O’Grady See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 02, 2021
Why trees are making extra nuts this year, human genetics and viral infections, and a seminal book on racism and identity
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Have you noticed the trees around you lately—maybe they seem extra nutty? It turns out this is a “masting” year, when trees make more nuts, seeds, and pinecones than usual. Science Staff Writer Elizabeth Pennisi joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the many mysteries of masting years.  Next, Producer Meagan Cantwell talks with Jean-Laurent Casanova, a professor at Rockefeller University and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, about his review article on why some people are more vulnerable to severe disease from viral infections. This is part of a special issue on inflammation in Science. Finally, in this month’s book segment on race and science, host Angela Saini talks with author Beverly Daniel Tatum about her seminal 2003 book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: LensOfDan/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: Pile of acorns] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Angela Saini See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 25, 2021
Wildfires could threaten ozone layer, and vaccinating against tick bites
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Could wildfires be depleting the ozone all over again? Staff Writer Paul Voosen talks with host Sarah Crespi about the evidence from the Polarstern research ship for wildfire smoke lofting itself high into the stratosphere, and how it can affect the ozone layer once it gets there. Next, we talk ticks—the ones that bite, take blood, and can leave you with a nasty infection. Andaleeb Sajid, a staff scientist at the National Cancer Institute, joins Sarah to talk about her Science Translational Medicine paper describing an mRNA vaccine intended to reduce the length of tick bites to before the pests can transmit diseases to a host. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Janice Haney Carr/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: digitally colorized scanning electron microscopic image of a grouping of Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, the causative agent of Lyme disease] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Paul Voosen See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 18, 2021
The long road to launching the James Webb Space Telescope, and genes for a longer life span
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The James Webb Space Telescope was first conceived in the late 1980s. Now, more than 30 years later, it’s finally set to launch in December. After such a long a road, anticipation over what the telescope will contribute to astronomy is intense. Daniel Clery, a staff writer for Science, joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about what took so long and what we can expect after launch. You might have heard that Greenland sharks may live up to 400 years. But did you know that some Pacific rockfish can live to be more than 100? That’s true, even though other rockfish species only live about 10 years. Why such a range in life span? Greg Owens, assistant professor of biology at the University of Victoria, discusses his work looking for genes linked with longer life spans. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Tyson Rininger; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: Sebastes caurinus, the copper rockfish ] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Daniel Clery See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 11, 2021
The folate debate, and rewriting the radiocarbon curve
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Some 80 countries around the world add folic acid to their food supply to prevent birth defects that might happen because of a lack of the B vitamin—even among people too early in their pregnancies to know they are pregnant. This year, the United Kingdom decided to add the supplement to white flour. But it took almost 10 years of debate, and no countries in the European Union joined them in the change. Staff Writer Meredith Wadman joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the ongoing folate debate. Last year, a highly anticipated tool for dating ancient materials was released: a new updated radiocarbon calibration curve. The curve, which describes how much carbon-14 was in the atmosphere at different times in the past 55,000 years, is essential to figuring out the age of organic materials such as wood or leather. Sarah talks with Tim Heaton, senior lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield, and Edouard Bard, a professor at the College of France, about how the curve was redrawn and what it means, both for archaeology and for our understanding of the processes that create radiocarbon in the first place—like solar flares and Earth’s magnetic fields. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Andrew Shiva/Wikipedia; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: close-up photograph of layers in volcanic tephra] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meredith Wadman See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 04, 2021
Sleeping without a brain, tracking alien invasions, and algorithms of oppression
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Simple animals like jellyfish and hydra, even roundworms, sleep. Without brains. Why do they sleep? How can we tell a jellyfish is sleeping? Staff Writer Liz Pennisi joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about what can be learned about sleep from these simple sleepers. The feature is part of a special issue on sleep this week in Science. Next is a look at centuries of alien invasions—or rather, invasive insects moving from place to place as humans trade across continents. Sarah talks with Matthew MacLachlan, a research economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, about his Science Advances paper on why insect invasions don’t always increase when trade does. Finally, a book on racism and the search algorithms. Books host Angela Saini for our series of interviews on race and science talks with Safiya Umoja Noble, a professor in the African American Studies and Information Studies departments at the University of California, Los Angeles, about her book: Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image:  marcouliana/iStock; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: brown marmorated stink bug pattern] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Liz Pennisi, Angela Saini See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 28, 2021
Soil science goes deep, and making moldable wood
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There are massive telescopes that look far out into the cosmos, giant particle accelerators looking for ever tinier signals, gargantuan gravitational wave detectors that span kilometers of Earth—what about soil science? Where’s the big science project on deep soil? It’s coming soon. Staff Writer Erik Stokstad talks with host Sarah Crespi about plans for a new subsoil observatory to take us beyond topsoil. Wood is in some ways an ideal building material. You can grow it out of the ground. It’s not very heavy. It’s strong. But materials like metal and plastic have one up on wood in terms of flexibility. Plastic and metal can be melted and molded into complicated shapes. Could wood ever do this? Liangbing Hu, a professor in the department of materials science and engineering and director of the Center for Materials Innovation at the University of Maryland, College Park, talked with Sarah about making moldable wood in a new way. In a sponsored segment from Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office, Sean Sanders, director and senior editor for the Custom Publishing office, interviews Michael Brehm, associate professor at UMass Chan Medical School Diabetes Center of Excellence, about how he is using humanized mouse models to study ways to modulate the body’s immune system as a pathway to treating type 1 diabetes. This segment is sponsored by the Jackson Laboratory.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Xiao et al., Science 2021; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text:  honeycomb structure made from moldable wood] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Erik Stokstad See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 20, 2021
The ripple effects of mass incarceration, and how much is a dog’s nose really worth?
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This week we are covering the Sciencespecial issue on mass incarceration. Can a dog find a body? Sometimes. Can a dog indicate a body was in a spot a few months ago, even though it’s not there now? There’s not much scientific evidence to back up such claims. But in the United States, people are being sent to prison based on this type of evidence. Host Sarah Crespi talks with Peter Andrey Smith, a reporter and researcher based in Maine, about the science—or lack thereof—behind dog-sniff evidence. With 2 million people in jail or prison in the United States, it has become incredibly common to have a close relative behind bars. Sarah talks with Hedwig Lee, a sociologist at Washington University in St. Louis, about the consequences of mass incarceration for families of the incarcerated, from economic to social.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image:  Adrian Brandon; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: illustration from the special issue on mass incarceration by Adrian Brandon. He writes: “This illustration shines a light on the structural role of the prison system and how deeply embedded it is in the fabric of this country.”] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Peter Andrey Smith     See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 14, 2021
Swarms of satellites could crowd out the stars, and the evolution of hepatitis B over 10 millennia
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In 2019, a SpaceX rocket released 60 small satellites into low-Earth orbit—the first wave of more than 10,000 planned releases. At the same time, a new field of environmental debate was also launched—with satellite companies on one side, and astronomers, photographers, and stargazers on the other. Contributing Correspondent Joshua Sokol joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about the future of these space-based swarms. Over the course of the first 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic, different variants of the virus have come and gone. What would such changes look like over 10,000 years? Arthur Kocher, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, talks with Sarah about watching the evolution of the virus that causes hepatitis B—over 10 millennia—and how changes in the disease’s path match up with shifts in human history. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Rafael Schmall; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: Starlink satellites moving across the sky in a long-exposure photograph of the star Albireo in Cygnus] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Josh Sokol See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 07, 2021
Whole-genome screening for newborns, and the importance of active learning for STEM
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Today, most newborns get some biochemical screens of their blood, but whole-genome sequencing is a much more comprehensive look at an infant—maybe too comprehensive? Staff Writer Jocelyn Kaiser joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the ethical ins and outs of whole-genome screening for newborns, and the kinds of infrastructure needed to use these screens more widely. Sarah also talks with three contributors to a series of vignettes on the importance of active learning for students in science, technology, engineering, and math. Yuko Munakata, professor in the department of psychology and Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis, talks about how the amount of unstructured time and active learning contributes to developing executive function—the way our brains keep us on task. Nesra Yannier, special faculty at Carnegie Mellon University and inventor of NoRILLA, discusses an artificial intelligence–driven learning platform that helps children explore and learn about the real world. Finally, Louis Deslauriers, senior preceptor in the department of physics and director of science teaching and learning at Harvard University, laments lectures: why we like them so much, why we think we learn more from lectures than inquiry-based learning, and why we’re wrong. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Jerry Lai/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: newborn baby feet] [Authors: Sarah Crespi; Jocelyn Kaiser] See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 30, 2021
Earliest human footprints in North America, dating violins with tree rings, and the social life of DNA
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Contributing Correspondent Lizzie Wade joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss fossilized footprints left on a lake shore in North America sometime before the end of Last Glacial Maximum—possibly the earliest evidence for humans on the continent. Read the research. Next, Paolo Cherubini, a senior scientist in the dendrosciences research group at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, discusses using tree rings to date and authenticate 17th and 18th century violins worth millions of dollars. Finally, in this month’s installment of the series of book interviews on race and science, guest host Angela Saini interviews Alondra Nelson, professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, about her 2016 book The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome. Note on the closing music: Violinist Nicholas Kitchen plays Johann Sebastian Bach’s Chaconne on the violin “Castelbarco” made by Antonio Stradivari in Cremona, Italy, in 1697. Courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Bennet et al., Science; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: human footprints preserved in rock] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Lizzie Wade; Angela Saini See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 23, 2021
Potty training cows, and sardines swimming into an ecological trap
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Online News Editor David Grimm joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about the health and environmental benefits of potty training cows. Next, Peter Teske, a professor in the department of zoology at the University of Johannesburg, joins us to talk about his Science Advances paper on origins of the sardine run—a massive annual fish migration off the coast of South Africa. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Steven Benjamin; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: sardines in a swirling bait ball] Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 16, 2021
Legions of lunar landers, and why we make robots that look like people
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Staff Writer Paul Voosen talks with host Sarah Crespi about plans for NASA’s first visit to the Moon in 50 years—and the quick succession of missions that will likely follow.  Next, Eileen Roesler, a researcher and lecturer at the Technical University of Berlin in the field of human-robot automation, discusses the benefits of making robots that look and act like people—it’s not always as helpful as you would think.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Virginie Angéloz/Noun Project; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: three robot drawings that look like people to different degrees] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Paul Voosen See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 09, 2021
Pinpointing the origins of SARS-CoV-2, and making vortex beams of atoms
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Staff Writer Jon Cohen joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the many theories circulating about the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and why finding the right one is important. Next, Ed Narevicius, a professor in the chemical and biological physics department at the Weizmann Institute of Science, talks with Sarah about creating vortex beams of atoms—a quantum state in which the phase of the matter wave of an atom rotates around its path, like a spiral staircase.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. [Image: Alon Luski et al./Science 2021; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: vortex beams showing holes in the center of the beam] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Jon Cohen See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 02, 2021
New insights into endometriosis, predicting RNA folding, and the surprising career of the spirometer
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News Intern Rachel Fritts talks with host Sarah Crespi about a new way to think about endometriosis—a painful condition found in one in 10 women in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows on the outside of the uterus and can bind to other organs. Next, Raphael Townshend, founder and CEO of Atomic AI, talks about predicting RNA folding using deep learning—a machine learning approach that relies on very few examples and limited data. Finally, in this month's edition of our limited series on race and science, guest host and journalist Angela Saini is joined by author Lundy Braun, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and Africana studies at Brown University, to discuss her book: Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: C. Bickel/Science; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: folded RNA 3D structures] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Rachel Fritts   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 26, 2021
Building a martian analog on Earth, and moral outrage on social media
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Contributing Correspondent Michael Price joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the newest Mars analog to be built on the location of the first attempt at a large-scale sealed habitat, Biosphere 2 in Arizona. Next, William Brady, a postdoctoral researcher in the psychology department at Yale University, talks with Sarah about using an algorithm to measure increasing expressions of moral outrage on social media platforms. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Listen to previous podcasts. Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Kai Staats; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: lettuce plants being tended in a Mars analog] [Caption: Lettuce plants being tended in a Mars analog] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Mike Price   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 19, 2021
A risky clinical trial design, and attacks on machine learning
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Charles Piller, an investigative journalist for Science, talks with host Sarah Crespi about a risky trial of vitamin D in asthmatic children that has caused a lot of concern among ethicists. They also discuss how the vitamin D trial connects with a possibly dangerous push to compare new treatments with placebos instead of standard-of-care treatments in clinical trials. Next, Birhanu Eshete, professor of computer and information science at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, talks with producer Joel Goldberg about the risks of exposing machine learning algorithms online—risks such as the reverse engineering of training data to access proprietary information or even patient data. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast [Image: Filip Patock/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] [Alt text: Bottle of Vitamin D pills] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Joel Goldberg; Charles Piller       See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 12, 2021
A freeze on prion research, and watching cement dry
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International News Editor Martin Enserink talks with host Sarah Crespi about a moratorium on prion research after the fatal brain disease infected two lab workers in France, killing one. Next, Abhay Goyal, a postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown University, talks with intern Claire Hogan about his Science Advances paper on figuring out how to reduce the massive carbon footprint of cement by looking at its molecular structure. Finally, in a sponsored segment from the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office, Sean Sanders interviews Ansuman Satpathy, assistant professor in the department of pathology at Stanford University School of Medicine and 2018 winner of the Michelson Prize for Human Immunology and Vaccine Research, about the importance of supporting early-career research and diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math. This segment is sponsored by Michelson Philanthropies. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Marquette LaForest/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Martin Enserink     See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 05, 2021
Debating healthy obesity, delaying type 1 diabetes, and visiting bone rooms
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First this week, Staff Writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the paradox of metabolically healthy obesity. They chat about the latest research into the relationships between markers of metabolic health—such as glucose or cholesterol levels in the blood—and obesity. They aren’t as tied as you might think. Next, Colin Dayan, professor of clinical diabetes and metabolism at Cardiff University and senior clinical researcher at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford, joins Sarah to discuss his contribution to a special issue on type 1 diabetes. In his review, Colin and colleagues lay out research into how type 1 diabetes can be detected early, delayed, and maybe even one day prevented. Finally, in the first of a six-part series of book interviews on race and science, guest host Angela Saini talks with author and professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Samuel Redman, about his book Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums. The two discuss the legacy of human bone collecting and racism in museums today. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Jason Solo/Jacky Winter Group; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Jennifer Couzin-Frankel; Angela Saini See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 29, 2021
Blood tests for Alzheimer’s disease, and what earthquakes on Mars reveal about the Red Planet’s core
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First this week, Associate Editor Kelly Servick joins us to discuss a big push to develop scalable blood tests for Alzheimer’s disease and how this could advance research on the disease and its treatment. Next, Amir Khan, a senior scientist at the Physics Institute of the University of Zurich and the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zürich, talks with multimedia intern Claire Hogan about marsquakes detected by NASA’s InSight lander—and what they can reveal about Mars’s crust, mantle, and core. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: C. Bickel/Science; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Kelly Servick; Claire Hogan See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 22, 2021
Science after COVID-19, and a landslide that became a flood
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First this week, Staff Writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss a new series on how COVID-19 may alter the scientific enterprise and they look back at how pandemics have catalyzed change throughout history.  Next, Dan Shugar, associate professor of geoscience and director of the environmental science program at the University of Calgary, talks with producer Joel Goldberg about a deadly rock and ice avalanche in northern India this year and why closely monitoring steep mountain slopes is so important for averting future catastrophes. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Irfan Rashid, Department of Geoinformatics, University of Kashmir; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Joel Goldberg; Jennifer Couzin-Frankel See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 15, 2021
Scientists’ role in the opioid crisis, 3D-printed candy proteins, and summer books
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First this week, Editor-in-Chief Holden Thorp talks with author Patrick Radden Keefe about his book Empire of Pain and the role scientists, regulators, and physicians played in the rollout of Oxycontin and the opioid crisis in the United States. Next, Katelyn Baumer, a Ph.D. student in the chemistry and biochemistry department at Baylor University, talks with host Sarah Crespi about her Science Advances paper on 3D printing proteins using candy.  Finally, book review editor Valerie Thompson takes us on a journey through some science-y summer reads—from the future of foods to a biography of the color blue. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). Authors: Sarah Crespi; Holden Thorp; Valerie Thompson See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 08, 2021
Preserving plastic art, and a gold standard for measuring extreme pressure
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First this week, Contributing Correspondent Sam Kean talks with producer Joel Goldberg about techniques museum conservators are using to save a range of plastic artifacts—from David Bowie costumes to the first artificial heart.  Next, Dayne Fratanduono, an experimental physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, talks with producer Meagan Cantwell about new standards for how gold and platinum change under extreme pressure. Fratanduono discusses how these standards will help researchers make more precise measurements of extreme pressure in the future. Finally, in a sponsored segment from the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office, Sean Sanders interviews Laura Mackay, professor and laboratory head at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne and 2018 winner of the Michelson Prize for Human Immunology and Vaccine Research, about the importance of diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math. This segment is sponsored by the Michelson Foundation. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Aleth Lorne; Music: Jeffrey Cook] ++ Authors: Joel Goldberg; Sam Kean; Meagan Cantwell See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 01, 2021
Does Botox combat depression, the fruit fly sex drive, and a series on race and science
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First this week, Contributing Correspondent Cathleen O’Grady talks with host Sarah Crespi about controversy surrounding the use of Botox injections to alleviate depression by suppressing frowning. Next, researcher Stephen Zhang, a postdoctoral fellow at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, discusses his Science Advances paper on what turns on the fruit fly sex drive. Finally, we are excited to kick off a six-part series of monthly interviews with authors of books that highlight the many intersections between race and science and scientists. This week, guest host and journalist Angela Saini talks with Keith Wailoo, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, who helped select the topics about the books we will be covering and how they were selected. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Tomasz Klejdysz/Shutterstock; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Cathleen O’Grady; Angela Saini See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 24, 2021
Keeping ads out of dreams, and calculating the cost of climate displacement
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First this week, News Intern Sofia Moutinho joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss scientists concerns about advertisers looking into using our smart speakers or phones to whisper ads to us while we sleep.  Next, Bina Desai, head of Programs at the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre in Geneva, discusses how to predict the economic impact of human displacement due to climate change as part of a special issue on strategic retreat. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF) [Image: Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Belur Math/Amphan Cyclone Relief Services; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Sofia Moutinho See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 17, 2021
Finding consciousness outside the brain, and using DNA to reunite families
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See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 10, 2021
Cicada citizen science, and expanding the genetic code
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First this week, freelance journalist Ian Graber-Stiehl discusses what might be the oldest community science project—observing the emergence of periodical cicadas. He also notes the shifts in how amateur scientists have gone from contributing observations to helping scientists make predictions about the insects’ schedules. Next, Jason Chin, program leader at the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, discusses how reducing redundancy in the genetic code opens up space for encoding unusual amino acids. His group shows that eliminating certain codes from the genome makes bacteria that are resistant to viruses and that these edited codes can be used to program the cells to make complicated molecules.  In a sponsored segment from the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office, Science Editor-in-Chief Holden Thorp talks with Gary Michelson, founder of the Michelson Medical Research Foundation and co-chair of Michelson Philanthropies, about the best ways to support early-career scientists, including through prizes such as the new Michelson Philanthropies and Science Prize for Immunology. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF) [Image: Bill Douthitt/Science; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Ian Graber-Stiehl See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 03, 2021
Cracking consciousness, and taking the temperature of urban heat islands
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First this week, Lucia Melloni, a group leader in the department of neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, talks with host Sarah Crespi about making the hard problem of consciousness easier by getting advocates of opposing theories to collaborate and design experiments to rule in or rule out their competing theories. Next, TC Chakraborty, a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University, shares his Science Advances paper on why it’s important to measure air temperature on the ground rather than from satellites when trying to understand urban heat islands—how cities heat up more than the surrounding countryside. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Joe Wolf/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 27, 2021
Ecstasy plus therapy for PTSD, and the effects of early childhood development programs on mothers
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Staff Writer Kelly Servick talks with host Sarah Crespi about the pairing of a specific type of psychotherapy with the drug MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, for treating post-traumatic stress disorder. Also this week, Pamela Jakiela, an economics professor at Williams College, discusses the importance of knowing how early childhood development interventions like free day care or parenting classes have an effect on caregivers, particularly mothers. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Graham Crouch/World Bank; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Kelly Servick; Sarah Crespi See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 20, 2021
Cutting shipping air pollution may cause water pollution, and keeping air clean with lightning
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News Staff Writer Erik Stokstad joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss possible harms from how the shipping industry is responding to air pollution regulations—instead of pumping health-harming chemicals into the air, they are now being dumped into oceans. Also this week, William Brune, professor of meteorology and atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, talks about flying a plane into thunderstorms and how measurements from research flights revealed the surprising amount of air-cleaning oxidants created by lightning. In a sponsored segment from the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office, Sean Sanders interviews Manfred Kraus, senior director and head of in vivo pharmacology oncology at Bristol Myers Squibb, about the impact of humanized mice on preclinical research. This segment is sponsored by the Jackson Laboratory. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Samantha Dellaert/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Erik Stokstad; Sarah Crespi See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 13, 2021
Chernobyl’s ruins grow restless, and entangling macroscopic objects
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Rich Stone, former international news editor at Science and current senior science editor at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Tangled Bank Studios, joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about concerning levels of fission reactions deep in an inaccessible area of the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Though nothing is likely to come of it anytime soon, scientists must decide what—if anything—they should do tamp down reactions in this hard-to-reach place. Also on this week’s show, Shlomi Kotler, an assistant professor in the department of applied physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, joins Sarah to discuss the quantum entanglement of macroscopic objects. This hallmark of quantum physics has been confined—up until now—to microscopic items like atoms, ions, and photons. But what does it mean that two drums, each the width of a human hair, can be entangled? Read a related insight. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Caption: New Safe Confinement structure built over Chernobyl ruins; Credit: URBEX Hungary/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Rich Stone; Sarah Crespi See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 06, 2021
Storing wind as gravity, and well-digging donkeys
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Contributing Correspondent Cathleen O’Grady joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about a company that stores renewable energy by hoisting large objects in massive “gravity batteries.” Also on this week’s show, Erick Lundgren, a postdoctoral researcher at Aarhus University, talks about how water from wells dug by wild horses and feral donkeys provides a buffer to all different kinds of animals and plants during the driest times in the Sonora and Mojave deserts. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Tracy Hall/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Cathleen O’Grady; Sarah Crespi See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 29, 2021
Rebuilding Louisiana’s coast, and recycling plastic into fuel
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Host Sarah Crespi talks with Contributing Correspondent Warren Cornwall about a restoration project to add 54 square kilometers back to the coast of Louisiana by allowing the Mississippi River to resume delivering sediment to sinking regions. Also on this week’s show, Dion Vlachos, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Delaware, Newark, and director of the Delaware Energy Institute, joins Sarah to talk about his Science Advances paper on a low-temperature process to convert different kinds of plastic to fuels, like gasoline and jet fuel.   This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Shannon Dosemagen/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Warren Cornwall; Sarah Crespi See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 22, 2021
Why muon magnetism matters, and a count of all the Tyrannosaurus rex that ever lived
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Host Sarah Crespi talks with Staff Writer Adrian Cho about a new measurement of the magnetism of the muon—an unstable cousin of the electron. This latest measurement and an earlier one both differ from predictions based on the standard model of particle physics. The increased certainty that there is a muon magnetism mismatch could be a field day for theoretical physicists looking to add new particles or forces to the standard model.   Also on this week’s show, Charles Marshall, director of the University of California Museum of Paleontology and professor of integrative biology, joins Sarah to talk about his team’s calculation for the total number of Tyrannosaurus rex that ever lived. In a sponsored segment from the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office, Sean Sanders interviews Imre Berger, professor of biochemistry at the University of Bristol, about his Science paper on finding a druggable pocket on the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and how the work was accelerated by intensive cloud computing. This segment is sponsored by Oracle for Research. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image:Lewis Kelly/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Adrian Cho; Sarah Crespi See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 15, 2021
Magnetar mysteries, and when humans got big brains
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Host Sarah Crespi talks with Contributing Correspondent Joshua Sokol about magnetars—highly magnetized neutron stars. A recent intense outburst of gamma rays from a nearby galaxy has given astronomers a whole new view on these mysterious magnetic monsters. Also on this week’s show, Christoph Zollikofer, a professor of anthropology at the University of Zurich, talks about the evolution of humanlike brains. His team’s work with brain-case fossils suggests the complex brains we carry around today were not present in the early hominins to leave Africa, but later developed in the cousins they left behind. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: (Text) Sculptor galaxy; (Image) ESO/J. Emerson/VISTA; Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Joshua Sokol; Sarah Crespi See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 08, 2021
Fighting outbreaks with museum collections, and making mice hallucinate
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Podcast Producer Meagan Cantwell talks with Pamela Soltis, a professor and curator with the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida and the director of the University of Florida Biodiversity Institute, about how natural collections at museums can be a valuable resource for understanding future disease outbreaks. Read the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. This segment is part of our coverage of the 2021 AAAS Annual Meeting. Also on this week’s show, Katharina Schmack, a research associate at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, joins producer Joel Goldberg to talk about giving mice a quiz that makes them hallucinate. Observing the mice in this state helps researchers make connections between dopamine, hallucinations, and mental illness. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: christopherhu/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Joel Goldberg; Meagan Cantwell See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apr 01, 2021
Social insects as models for aging, and crew conflict on long space missions
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Most research on aging has been done on model organisms with limited life spans, such as flies and worms. Host Meagan Cantwell talks to science writer Yao-Hua Law about how long-living social insects—some of which survive for up to 30 years—can provide new insights into aging.  Also in this episode, host Sarah Crespi talks with Noshir Contractor, the Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University, about his AAAS session on keeping humans in harmony during long space missions and how mock missions on Earth are being applied to plans for a crewed mission to Mars.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts About the Science Podcast [Image:TerriAnneAllen/Unsplash ; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Yao Hua Law; Meagan Cantwell See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 25, 2021
COVID-19 treatment at 1 year, and smarter materials for smarter cities
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Science News Staff Writer Kelly Servick discusses how physicians have sifted through torrents of scientific results to arrive at treatments for SARS-CoV-2. Sarah also talks with Wesley Reinhart of Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Institute for Computational and Data Science, about why we should be building smart cities from smart materials, such as metamaterials that help solar panels chase the Sun, and living materials like self-healing concrete that keep buildings in good shape. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF) [Image: Singapore Esplanade/Travis/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Kelly Servick See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 18, 2021
Next-generation gravitational wave detectors, and sponges that soak up frigid oil spills
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Science Staff Writer Adrian Cho joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about plans for the next generation of gravitational wave detectors—including one with 40-kilometer arms. The proposed detectors will be up to 10 times more sensitive than current models and could capture all black hole mergers in the observable universe. Sarah also talks with Pavani Cherukupally, a researcher at Imperial College London and the University of Toronto, about her Science Advances paper on cleaning up oil spills with special cold-adapted sponges that work well when crude oil gets clumpy. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: VLCC tanker Amoco Cadiz oil spill/Collection of Doug Helton/NOAA/NOS/ORR/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Adrian Cho See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 11, 2021
The world’s oldest pet cemetery, and how eyeless worms can see color
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Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about a 2000-year-old pet cemetery found in the Egyptian city of Berenice and what it can tell us about the history of human-animal relationships. Also this week, Dipon Ghosh, a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, talks about how scientists missed that the tiny eyeless roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, which has been intensively studied from top to bottom for decades, somehow has the ability to detect colors. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF) [Image: HINRICH SCHULENBURG; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mar 04, 2021
Measuring Earth’s surface like never before, and the world’s fastest random number generator
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First up, science journalist Julia Rosen talks with host Sarah Crespi about a growing fleet of radar satellites that will soon be able to detect minute rises and drops of Earth’s surface—from a gently deflating volcano to a water-swollen field—on a daily basis. Sarah also talks with Hui Cao, a professor of applied physics at Yale University, about a new way to generate enormous streams of random numbers faster than ever before, using a tiny laser that can fit on a computer chip. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Kyungduk Kim/Yale; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Julia Rosen See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 25, 2021
All your COVID-19 vaccine questions answered, and a new theory on forming rocky planets
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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. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: European Space Agency/Stuart Rankin/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Jon Cohen See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 18, 2021
Building Africa’s Great Green Wall, and using whale songs as seismic probess
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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. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Holly Gramazio/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Rachel Cernansky See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 11, 2021
Looking back at 20 years of human genome sequencing
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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. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast   Download a transcript (PDF).   [Image: Holly Gramazio/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]   Authors: Sarah Crespi; See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feb 04, 2021
Calculating the social cost of carbon, and listening to mole-rat chirps
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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. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Smithsonian’s National Zoo/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Paul Voosen See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 28, 2021
Counting research rodents, a possible cause for irritable bowel syndrome, and spitting cobras
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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. Listen to previous podcasts About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF) [Image: Rushen/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm; Jennifer Couzin-Frankel See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 21, 2021
An elegy for Arecibo, and how our environments may change our behavior
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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. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: University of Central Florida; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Daniel Clery   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 14, 2021
The uncertain future of North America’s ash trees, and organizing robot swarms
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Freelance journalist Gabriel Popkin and host Sarah Crespi discuss what will happen to ash trees in the United States as federal regulators announce dropping quarantine measures meant to control the emerald ash borer—a devastating pest that has killed tens of millions of trees since 2002. Instead of quarantines, the government will use tiny wasps known to kill the invasive beetles in hopes of saving the ash. Sarah also talks with Pavel Chvykov, a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, about the principles for organizing active matter—things like ant bridges, bird flocks, or little swarms of robots.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Donald Macauley/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]   Authors: Sarah Crespi; Gabriel Popkin See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jan 07, 2021
Areas to watch in 2021, and the living microbes in wildfire smoke
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We kick off our first episode of 2021 by looking at future trends in policy and research with host Meagan Cantwell and several Science news writers. Ann Gibbons talks about upcoming studies that elucidate social ties among ancient humans, Jeffrey Mervis discusses relations between the United States and China, and Paul Voosen gives a rundown of two Mars rover landings. In research news, Meagan Cantwell talks with Leda Kobziar, an associate professor of wildland fire science at the University of Idaho, Moscow, about the living component of wildfire smoke—microbes. The bacteria and fungi that hitch a ride on smoke can impact both human health and ecosystems—but Kobziar says much more research is needed. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Christopher Michel/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Meagan Cantwell; Ann Gibbons; Jeffrey Mervis, Paul Voosen See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 31, 2020
Breakthrough of the Year, top online news, and science book highlights
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Our last episode of the year is a celebration of science in 2020. First, host Sarah Crespi talks with Online News Editor David Grimm about some of the top online news stories of the year—from how undertaker bees detect the dead to the first board game of death. (It’s not as grim as it sounds.) Sarah then talks with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic about the Breakthrough of the Year, scientific breakdowns, and some of the runners-up—amazing accomplishments in science achieved in the face of a global pandemic. Finally, Book Review Editor Valerie Thompson joins Sarah to discuss highlights from the books section—on topics as varied as eating wild foods to how the materials we make end up shaping us. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: ISS Expedition 7 Crew/EOL/NASA; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm; Catherine Matacic; Valerie Thompson See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 17, 2020
Making ecology studies replicable, and a turnaround for the Tasmanian devil
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The field of psychology underwent a replication crisis and saw a sea change in scientific and publishing practices, could ecology be next? News Intern Cathleen O’Grady joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about the launch of a new society for ecologists looking to make the field more rigorous. Sarah also talks with Andrew Storfer, a professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University, Pullman, about the fate of the Tasmanian devil. Since the end of the last century, these carnivorous marsupials have been decimated by a transmissible facial tumor. Now, it looks like—despite many predictions of extinction—the devils may be turning a corner. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: The Mammals of Australia, John Gould, 1804-1881/Biodiversity Library/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Cathleen O’Grady See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 10, 2020
How the new COVID-19 vaccines work, and restoring vision with brain implants
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Staff Writer Meredith Wadman and host Sarah Crespi discuss what to expect from the two messenger RNA–based vaccines against COVID-19 that have recently released encouraging results from their phase III trials and the short-term side effects some recipients might see on the day of injection. Sarah also talks with researcher Xing Chen, a project co-leader and postdoctoral scientist at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, about using brain stimulation to restore vision. Researchers have known for about 70 years that electrical stimulation at certain points in the brain can lead to the appearance of a phosphene—a spot of light that appears not because there’s light there, but because of some other stimulation, like pressing on the eyeball. If electrical stimulation can make a little light appear, how about many lights? Can we think about phosphenes as pixels and draw a picture for the brain? How about a moving picture? This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dec 03, 2020
Keeping coronavirus from spreading in schools, why leaves fall when they do, and a book on how nature deals with crisis
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Many schools closed in the spring, during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Many opened in the fall. Staff Writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about what was learned in spring about how coronavirus spreads in schools that might help keep children safe as cases surge once again. Also this week: What makes leaves fall off deciduous trees when they do—is it the short, cold nights? Or is the timing of so-called “leaf senescence” linked to when spring happens? Sarah talked to Constantin Zohner, a lead scientist at the Institute of Integrative Biology at ETH Zurich, about his tree leaf timing study. Sarah also spoke with commentary author Christy Rollinson, a forest ecologist at the Morton Arboretum, about how important these trees and the timing of their leaf drop is for climate change. In the books segment, host Kiki Sanford talks with Ruth DeFries about her book, What Would Nature Do? A Guide for Our Uncertain Times. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Joe Cheng/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Jennifer Couzin-Frankel See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 26, 2020
Fish farming’s future, and how microbes compete for space on our face
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These days about half of the protein the world’s population eats is from seafood. Staff Writer Erik Stokstad joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about how brand-new biotech and old-fashion breeding programs are helping keep up with demand, by expanding where we can farm fish and how fast we can grow them. Sarah also spoke with Jan Claesen, an assistant professor at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, about skin microbes that use their own antibiotic to fight off harmful bacteria. Understanding the microbes native to our skin and the molecules they produce could lead to treatments for skin disorders such as atopic dermatitis and acne. Finally, in a segment sponsored by MilliporeSigma, Science’s Custom Publishing Director and Senior Editor, Sean Sanders, talks with Timothy Cernak, an Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Chemistry at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, about retrosynthesis—the process of starting with a known chemical final product and figuring out how to make that molecule efficiently from available pieces.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF) [Image: Erik Christensen/Wikipedia; Music: Jeffrey Cook, Podington Bear] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Erik Stokstad See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 19, 2020
How the human body handles extreme heat, and improvements in cooling clothes
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This week the whole show focuses on keeping cool in a warming world. First up, host Sarah Crespi talks with Senior News Correspondent Elizabeth Pennisi about the latest research into how to stay safe when things heat up—whether you’re running marathons or fighting fires.  Sarah also talks with Po-Chun Hsu, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke University, about the future of cooling fabrics for everyday use. It turns out we can save a lot of energy and avoid carbon dioxide emissions by wearing clothing designed to keep us cool in slightly warmer buildings than we’re used to now. But the question is, will cooling clothes ever be “cool”? Visit the whole special issue on cooling. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF).    ++Meta   [Image: J. Bartlett Team Rubicon/BLM for USFS/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]   Authors: Sarah Crespi; Elizabeth Pennisi See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 12, 2020
What we can learn from a mass of black hole mergers, and ecological insights from 30 years of Arctic animal movements
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First up, host Sarah Crespi talks with Staff Writer Adrian Cho about new gravitational wave detections from the first half of 2019—including 37 new black hole mergers. With so many mergers now recorded, astrophysicists can do different kinds of research into things like how new pairs of black holes come to be and how often they merge. Sarah also talks with Sarah Davidson, data curator at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, about results from an Arctic animal tracking project that includes 3 decades of location information on many species, from soaring golden eagles to baby caribou taking their first steps. The early results from the Arctic Animal Movement Archive show that researchers can use the database as a baseline for future Arctic investigations and to examine the effects of climate on ecosystems in this key region. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: N. Fischer, H. Pfeiffer, and A. Buonanno/Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics/Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) Collaboration; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Adrian Cho See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Nov 05, 2020
Taking the politicians out of tough policy decisions; the late, great works of Charles Turner; and the science of cooking
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First up, host Sarah Crespi talks to News Intern Cathleen O’Grady about the growing use of citizens’ assemblies, or “minipublics,” to deliberate on tough policy questions like climate change and abortion. Can random groups of citizens do a better job forming policy than politicians? Next, we feature the latest of a new series of insight pieces that revisit landmark Science papers. Sarah talks with Hiruni Samadi Galpayage Dona, a Ph.D. student at Queen Mary University of London, about Charles Turner, a Black zoologist who published multiple times in Science in the early 1900s. Despite being far ahead of his time in his studies of animal cognition, Turner’s work was long overlooked—due in large part to the many difficulties facing a Black man in academia at the turn of the century. Finally, in our monthly books segment, host Kiki Sanford chats with author Pia Sorensen about her new book: Science and Cooking: Physics Meets Food, From Homemade to Haute Cuisine. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 29, 2020
Early approval of a COVID-19 vaccine could cause ethical problems for other vax candidates, and ‘upcycling’ plastic bags
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First up, host Sarah Crespi talks with Staff Writer Jon Cohen about some tricky ethical questions that may arise after the first coronavirus vaccine is authorized for use in the United States. Will people continue to participate in clinical trials of other vaccines? Will it still be OK to give participants placebo vaccines? Next, producer Meagan Cantwell talks with Bert Weckhuysen, a professor at Utrecht University, about a process for taking low-value plastic like polyethylene (often used for packaging and grocery bags) and “upcycling” it into biodegradable materials that can be used for new purposes. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Zeev Barkan/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Jon Cohen See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 22, 2020
Making sure American Indian COVID-19 cases are counted, and feeding a hungry heart
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First up, host Meagan Cantwell speaks with Abigail Echo-Hawk, director of the Urban Indian Health Institute and chief research officer for the Seattle Indian Health Board. Echo-Hawk shares what inspired her journey in public health and explains the repercussions of excluding native people from health data. This story was originally reported by Lizzie Wade, who profiled Echo-Hawk as part of Science’s “voices of the pandemic” series. Next, host Sarah Crespi interviews Danielle Murashige, a Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania, about her Science paper that attempts to quantify how much fuel a healthy heart needs.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF).  ++Meta [Image OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Lizzie Wade See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 15, 2020
Visiting a once-watery asteroid, and how buzzing the tongue can treat tinnitus
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First up, Staff Writer Paul Voosen talks with host Sarah Crespi about the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission to the asteroid Bennu. After OSIRIS-REx’s up-close surveys of the surface revealed fewer likely touchdown points than expected, its sampling mission has been rejiggered. Paul talks about the prospects for a safe sampling in mid-October and what we might learn when the craft returns to Earth in 2023. Sarah also talks with Hubert Lim, from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and Neuromod Devices Limited, about his Science Translational Medicine paper on a new treatment for tinnitus. The team showed that bimodal stimulation—playing sounds in the ear and buzzes on the tongue—was able to change the brain and turn down the tinnitus in a large clinical trial. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Extra audio credits: Tinnitus sound samples courtesy of the American tinnitus Association. Treatment samples courtesy of Neuromod Ltd. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Stuart Rankin/Flickr/NASA/Goddard; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Paul Voosen See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 08, 2020
FDA clinical trial protection failures, and an AI that can beat curling’s top players
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Investigative journalist Charles Piller joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss his latest Science exclusive: a deep dive into the Food and Drug Administration’s protection of human subjects in clinical trials. Based on months of data analysis and interviews, he uncovered long-term failures in safety enforcement in clinical trials and potential problems with trial data used to make decisions about drug and device approvals. Sarah also talks with Klaus-Robert Müller, a professor of machine learning at the Technical University of Berlin, about an artificial intelligence (AI) trained in the sport of curling—often described as a cross between bowling and chess. Although AI has succeeded in chess, Go, and poker, the constantly changing environment of curling is far harder for a nonhuman mind to adapt to. But AIs were the big winners in competitions with top human players, Müller and colleagues report this week in Science Robotics. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF).    ++Meta   [Image: Cory Denton/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]   Authors: Sarah Crespi; Charles Piller   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Oct 01, 2020
How Neanderthals got human Y chromosomes, and the earliest human footprints in Arabia
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Contributing Correspondent Ann Gibbons talks with host Sarah Crespi about a series of 120,000-year-old human footprints found alongside prints from animals like asses, elephants, and camels in a dried-up lake on the Arabian Peninsula. These are the earliest human footprints found so far in Arabia and may help researchers better understand the history of early hominin migrations out of Africa. Continuing on the history of humanity theme, Sarah talks with Janet Kelso of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, about her team’s efforts to fish the elusive Y chromosome out of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA. It turns out Y chromosomes tell a different story about our past interbreeding with Neanderthals than previous tales told by the rest of the genome. Read a related Insight article. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Stuart Rankin/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Ann Gibbons See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 24, 2020
Performing magic for animals, and why the pandemic is pushing people out of prisons
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Staff Writer Kelly Servick joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss how jail and prison populations in the United States have dropped in the face of coronavirus and what kinds of scientific questions about public health and criminal justice are arising as a result. Also this week, Elias García-Pelegrín, a Ph.D. student at the University of Cambridge, talks with Sarah about his article on watching animals watch magic tricks. Do animals fall for the same illusions we do? What does it say about the way their minds work? This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 17, 2020
Alien hunters get a funding boost, and checking on the link between chromosome ‘caps’ and aging
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First up this week, Senior Correspondent Daniel Clery talks with host Sarah Crespi about how Breakthrough Listen—a privately funded initiative that aims to spend $100 million over 10 years to find extraterrestrial intelligent life—has changed the hunt for alien intelligence-link.  And as part of a special issue on the Genotype-Tissue Expression  (GTEx) Project, Brandon Pierce, a professor in the Departments of Public Health Sciences and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, joins Sarah to discuss his group’s work on variation in the protective caps at the end of our chromosomes. The gradual shortening of these caps, also known as telomeres, has been associated with aging.  Read more from the GTEx special issue. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF) [Image: V. Altounian/Science; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Dan Clery See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 10, 2020
Fighting Europe’s second wave of COVID-19, and making democracy work for poor people
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First up this week, Contributing Correspondent Kai Kupferschmidt talks with host Sarah Crespi about rising numbers of coronavirus cases in Europe. Will what we’ve learned this summer about how the virus is transmitted and treated help prevent a second peak? Read all of our coronavirus news coverage.  And as part of a special issue on democracy, Rohini Pande, a professor in the department of economics at Yale University, joins Sarah to discuss her review that asks the question: Can democracy work for poor people? Read more from the special issue on democracy. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Mattias Berg/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Kai Kupferschmidt See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Sep 03, 2020
Arctic sea ice under attack, and ancient records that can predict the future effects of climate change
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Staff Writer Paul Voosen talks with host Sarah Crespi about how Arctic sea ice is under attack from above and below—not only from warming air, but also dangerous hot blobs of ocean water. Next, Damien Fordham, a professor and global change ecologist at the University of Adelaide, talks about how new tools for digging into the past are helping catalog what happened to biodiversity and ecosystems during different climate change scenarios in the past. These findings can help predict the fate of modern ecosystems under today’s human-induced climate change. And in our books segment, Kiki Sanford talks with author Carl Bergstrom about his new book: Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 27, 2020
Wildlife behavior during a global lockdown, and electric mud microbes
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First up this week, Staff Writer Erik Stokstad joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about how wildlife biologists are taking advantage of humanity’s sudden lull. Scientists are launching studies of everything from sea turtles on suddenly quiet beaches to noise-averse birds living near airports to see how animal behavior changes when people are a little less obtrusive. Read all of our coronavirus coverage here. Next, as part of our special issue on mud—yes, wet dirt— Senior Correspondent Elizabeth Pennisi talks about her story on electric microbes that were first found in mud and are now found pretty much everywhere. Why do bacteria need to move electrons around and what does it mean that they do it all over the planet? This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). Image: Lars Riis-Damgaard and Steffen Larsen; Music: Jeffrey Cook Authors: Sarah Crespi; Liz Pennisi; Erik Stokstad See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 20, 2020
A call for quick coronavirus testing, and building bonds with sports
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Staff Writer Robert Service talks with host Sarah Crespi about a different approach to COVID-19 testing that might be useful in response to the high numbers of cases in the United States. To break chains of transmission and community spread, the new strategy would replace highly accurate but slow polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests with cheaper, faster tests that are less accurate but can be administered frequently. Such tests cost between $1 and $3 compared with more than $100 for diagnostic PCR tests and give results in less than 30 minutes instead of days. Read all of our coronavirus coverage here. Also this week, Salma Mousa, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, joins Sarah to talk about an experiment that added Muslim players to teams in a Christian soccer league in northern Iraq. The goal of the study was to see whether this type of social contact would change how the Christians—a threatened minority in the region—behaved toward Muslims, on and off the field. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Kate Brady/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Robert Service See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 13, 2020
Why COVID-19 poses a special risk during pregnancy, and how hair can split steel
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Staff Writer Meredith Wadman joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the risk of the novel coronavirus infection to pregnant women. Early data suggest expectant women are more likely to get severe forms of the infection and require hospitalization. Meredith describes how the biology of pregnancy—such as changes to the maternal immune system and added stress on the heart and lungs—might explain the harsher effects of the virus. Also this week, Sarah talks with Gianluca Roscioli about his experiments with commercial razor blades and real human hair. By using a scanning electron microscope, he was able to show how something relatively soft like hair is able to damage something 50 times harder like stainless steel. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: G. Roscioli et al., Science 2020; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meredith Wadman Episode page: https://www.sciencemag.org/podcast/why-covid-19-poses-special-risk-during-pregnancy-and-how-hair-can-split-steel   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Aug 06, 2020
Fighting COVID-19 vaccine fears, tracking the pandemic’s origin, and a new technique for peering under paint
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Science Editor-in-Chief Holden Thorp joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss his editorial on preventing vaccine hesitancy during the coronavirus pandemic. Even before the current crisis, fear of vaccines had become a global problem, with the World Health Organization naming it as one of the top 10 worldwide health threats in 2019. Now, it seems increasingly possible that many people will refuse to get vaccinated. What can public health officials and researchers do to get ahead of this issue? Also this week, Sarah talks with Science Senior Correspondent Jon Cohen about his story on Chinese scientist Shi Zhengli, the bat researcher at the center of the COVID-19 origins controversy—and why she thinks President Donald Trump owes her an apology. Finally, Geert Van der Snickt, a professor in the conservation-restoration department at the University of Antwerp, talks with Sarah about his Science Advances paper on a new process for peering into the past of paintings. His team used a combination of techniques to look beneath an overpainting on the Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan Van Eyck—a pivotal piece that showed the potential of oil paints and even included an early example of painting from an aerial view. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: van der Snickt et al., Science Advances 2020; Music: Jeffrey Cook] See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 30, 2020
How Hiroshima survivors helped form radiation safety rules, and a path to stop plastic pollution
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Contributing Correspondent Dennis Normile talks about a long-term study involving the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Seventy-five years after the United States dropped nuclear bombs on the two cities in Japan, survivors are still helping scientists learn about the effects of radiation exposure. Also this week, Sarah talks with Winnie Lau, senior manager for preventing ocean plastics at Pew Charitable Trusts about her group’s paper about what it would take to seriously fight the flow of plastics into the environment.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: MPCA Photos/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Dennis Normile   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 23, 2020
Reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, and taking the heat out of crude oil separation
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Contributing correspondent Gretchen Vogel talks about what can be learned from schools around the world that have reopened during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, few systematic studies have been done but observations of outbreaks in schools in places such as France or Israel do offer a few lessons for countries looking to send kids back to school soon. The United Kingdom and Germany have started studies of how the virus spreads in children and at school, but results are months away. In the meantime, Gretchen’s reporting suggests small class sizes, masks, and social distancing among the adults at school are particularly important measures.      Read all our coronavirus news coverage.   Also this week, Sarah talks with Kirstie Thompson, a Ph.D. student in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, about increasing the efficiency of petroleum processing. If all—or even some—petroleum processing goes heat free, it would mean big energy savings. Around the world, about 1% of all energy use goes to heating up petroleum in order to get useful things such as gas for cars or polymers for plastics. These days, this separation is done through distillation, heating and separating by boiling point. Kirstie describes a heat-free way of getting this separation—by using a special membrane instead.   Read a related Insight.   This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.   Listen to previous podcasts   About the Science Podcast   Download a transcript (PDF)  ++   [Image: Kurt Bauschardt/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]   Authors: Sarah Crespi; Gretchen Vogel See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 16, 2020
A fast moving megatrial for coronavirus treatments, and transferring the benefits of exercise by transferring blood
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Contributing correspondent Kai Kupferschmidt talks with host Sarah Crespi about the success of a fast moving megatrial for coronavirus treatments. The UK’s RECOVERY (Randomized Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy) trial has enrolled more than 12,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients since early March and has released important recommendations that were quickly taken up by doctors and scientists around the world. Kai discusses why such a large study is necessary and why other large drug trials like the WHO’s SOLIDARITY trial are lagging behind. Also this week, producer Meagan Cantwell talks with Saul Villeda, a professor in the Department of Anatomy at University of California, San Francisco, about transferring the beneficial effects of exercise on the brain from an active mouse to a sedentary mouse by transferring their blood. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF) [Image: eyesplash/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Kai Kupferschmidt See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 09, 2020
An oasis of biodiversity a Mexican desert, and making sound from heat
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First up this week, News Intern Rodrigo Pérez-Ortega talks with host Meagan Cantwell about an oasis of biodiversity in the striking blue pools of Cuatro Ciénegas, a basin in northern Mexico. Researchers have published dozens of papers exploring the unique microorganisms that thrive in this area, while at the same time fighting large agricultural industries draining the precious water from the pools. David Tatnell, a postgraduate researcher at the University of Exeter, talks with host Sarah Crespi about using heat to make sound, a phenomenon known as thermoacoustics. Just like the sound of fire or thunder, sudden changes in temperature can create sound waves. In his team’s paper in Science Advances, Tatnell and colleagues describe a thermoacoustic speaker that uses thin, heated films to make sound. This approach cuts out the crosstalk seen in mechanical speakers and allows for extreme miniaturization of sound production. In the ultrasound range, arrays of thermoacoustic speakers could improve acoustic levitation and ultrasound imaging. In the hearing range, the speakers could be made extremely small, flexible, and even transparent.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast  ++ [Image: David Jaramillo; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Meagan Cantwell; Rodrigo Pérez-Ortega, Sarah Crespi See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jul 02, 2020
Stopping the spread of COVID-19, and arctic adaptations in sled dogs
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Kimberly Prather, an atmospheric chemist at the University of California, San Diego, who studies how ocean waves disperse virus-laden aerosols, joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about how she became an outspoken advocate for using masks to prevent coronavirus transmission. A related insight she wrote for Science has been downloaded more than 1 million times. Read Science’s coronavirus coverage. Mikkel Sinding, a postdoctoral fellow at Trinity College Dublin, talks sled dog genes with Sarah. After comparing the genomes of modern dogs, Greenland sled dogs, and an ancient dog jaw bone found on a remote Siberian island where dogs may have pulled sleds some 9500 years ago, they found that modern Greenland dogs—which are still used to pull sleds today—have much in common with this ancient Siberian ancestor. Those similarities include genes related to eating high-fat diets and cold-sensing genes previously identified in woolly mammoths. In this month's book segment, Kiki Sanford talks with Rutger Bregman about his book, Humankind: A Hopeful History which outlines a shift in the thinking of many social scientists to a view of humans as more peaceful than warlike. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Muhammad Mahdi Karim/Wikipedia; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Episode page: https://www.sciencemag.org/podcast/stopping-spread-covid-19-and-arctic-adaptations-sled-dogs See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 25, 2020
Coronavirus spreads financial turmoil to universities, and a drone that fights mosquito-borne illnesses
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Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Mervis joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about how universities are dealing with the financial crunch brought on by the coronavirus. Jeff discusses how big research universities are balancing their budgets as federal grants continue to flow, but endowments are down and so is the promise of state funding. Read all our coronavirus coverage. Mosquito-borne infections like Zika, dengue, malaria, and chikungunya cause millions of deaths each year. Nicole Culbert and colleges write this week in Science Roboticsabout a new way to deal with deadly mosquitoes—using drones. The drones are designed to drop hundreds of thousands of sterile male mosquitoes in areas with high risk of mosquito-borne illness. The idea is that sterile male mosquitoes will mate with females and the females then lay infertile eggs, which causes the population to decline. They found this drone-based approach is cheaper and more efficient than other methods of releasing sterile mosquitoes and does not have the problems associated with pesticide-based eradication efforts such as resistance and off-target effects. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). Episode page: https://www.sciencemag.org/podcast/coronavirus-spreads-financial-turmoil-universities-and-drone-fights-mosquito-borne-illnesses   ++ [Image: Muhammad Mahdi Karim/Wikipedia; Music: Jeffrey Cook] Authors: Sarah Crespi; Jeffrey Mervis See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 18, 2020
The facts on COVID-19 contact tracing apps, and benefits of returning sea otters to the wild
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Staff Writer Kelly Servick joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about the ins and outs of coronavirus contact tracing apps—what they do, how they work, and how to calculate whether they are crushing the curve.   Read all our coronavirus coverage.   Edward Gregr, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, talks with Sarah about the controversial reintroduction of sea otters to the Northern Pacific Ocean—their home for centuries, before the fur trade nearly wiped out the apex predator in the late 1800s. Gregr brings a unique cost-benefit perspective to his analysis, and finds many trade-offs with economic implications for fisheries For example, sea otters eat shellfish like urchins and crabs, depressing the shellfishing industry; but their diet encourages the growth of kelp forests, which in turn provide a habitat for economically important finfish, like salmon and rockfish. Read a related commentary article.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 11, 2020
Why men may have more severe COVID-19 symptoms, and using bacteria to track contaminated food
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First up this week, staff writer Meredith Wadman talks with host Sarah Crespi about how male sex hormones may play a role in higher levels of severe coronavirus infections in men. New support for this idea comes from a study showing high levels of male pattern baldness in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.  Read all our coronavirus coverage. Next, Jason Qian, a Ph.D. student in the systems biology department at Harvard Medical School, joins Sarah to talk about an object-tracking system that uses bacterial spores engineered with unique DNA barcodes. The inactivated spores can be sprayed on anything from lettuce, to wood, to sand and later be scraped off and read out using a CRISPR-based detection system. Spraying these DNA-based identifiers on such things as vegetables could help trace foodborne illnesses back to their source.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Jun 04, 2020
A rare condition associated with coronavirus in children, and tracing glaciers by looking at the ocean floor
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First up this week, Staff Writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel talks with host Sarah Crespi about a rare inflammatory response in children that has appeared in a number of COVID-19 hot spots. Next, Julian Dowdeswell, director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and professor of physical geography at the University of Cambridge, talks with producer Meagan Cantwell about tracing the retreat of Antarctica's glaciers by examining the ocean floor. Finally, Kiki Sanford interviews author Danny Dorling about his new book, Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration―and Why It’s Good for the Planet, the Economy, and Our Lives. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF).   [Image: Scott Ableman/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]   Authors: Sarah Crespi; Jennifer Couzin-Frankel; Kiki Sanford See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 28, 2020
How scientists are thinking about reopening labs, and the global threat of arsenic in drinking water
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Online news editor David Grimm talks with producer Joel Goldberg about the unique challenges of reopening labs amid the coronavirus pandemic. Though the chance to resume research may instill a sense of hope, new policies around physical distancing and access to facilities threaten to derail studies—and even careers. Despite all the uncertainty, the crisis could result in new approaches that ultimately benefit the scientific community, and the world.   Also this week, Joel Podgorski, a senior scientist in the Water Resources and Drinking Water Department at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the global threat of arsenic in drinking water. Arsenic is basically present in all rocks in minute amounts. Under the right conditions it can leach into groundwater and poison drinking water. Without a noticeable taste or smell, arsenic contamination can go undetected for years. The paper, published in Science, estimates that more than 100 million people are at risk of drinking  arsenic contaminated water and provides a guide for the most important places to test.   This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.   Listen to previous podcasts   About the Science Podcast   Download a transcript (PDF)  ++   [Image: Ian Aiden Relkoff/Wikipedia; Music: Jeffrey Cook]   Authors: Sarah Crespi; Joel Goldberg; David Grimm See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
May 21, 2020