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Nature Podcast

Nature Podcast - the world's best science and medicine in your earbuds

The Nature Podcast brings you the best stories from the world of science each week. We cover everything from astronomy to zoology, highlighting the most exciting research from each issue of the Nature journal. We meet th
Latest Episode2/1/2023

How mummies were prepared: Ancient Egyptian pots spill secrets

In this episode:00:47 Chemical analysis of ancient embalming materialsMummification was a significant part of ancient Egyptian culture but, despite decades of research, much is unknown about the substances and methods used during the process. Now a team have analysed the contents of ceramic vessels uncovered in an embalming workshop that dates back to around 600 BC. The results reveal that some substances assumed to be a single thing were actually mixtures, while some came from far outside Egypt, providing a clearer picture of ancient mummification practices.Research article: Rageot et al.News and Views: Recipes for ancient Egyptian mummification09:11 Research HighlightsModelling how fruit wrinkles as it ages, and a trove of ancient animal skulls suggest Neanderthals may have collected hunting trophies.Research Highlight: A chilli’s wrinkles and a cherry’s dimples explainedResearch Highlight: Neanderthals stashed dozens of animal skulls in a cave — but why?11:28 The race to refine CAR-T therapiesCAR-T therapies are a type of cancer immunotherapy in which part of a person’s immune system – their T cells – are engineered to recognise and attack tumours. While these therapies have been shown to be effective at treating certain blood cancers, they are expensive and can have serious side effects. We hear about efforts to tackle these issues and even expand the range of diseases that CAR-T could be used to treat.News Feature: The race to supercharge cancer-fighting T cells19:36 Briefing ChatWe discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, why scientists need to agree on what time it is on the Moon, and the liquid-metal robots that can melt and re-form.Nature News: What time is it on the Moon?New Scientist: Metal robot can melt its way out of tight spaces to escapeNature Video: The race to make a variant-proof COVID vaccineSubscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.
2/1/2023

How mummies were prepared: Ancient Egyptian pots spill secrets

In this episode:00:47 Chemical analysis of ancient embalming materialsMummification was a significant part of ancient Egyptian culture but, despite decades of research, much is unknown about the substances and methods used during the process. Now a team have analysed the contents of ceramic vessels uncovered in an embalming workshop that dates back to around 600 BC. The results reveal that some substances assumed to be a single thing were actually mixtures, while some came from far outside Egypt, providing a clearer picture of ancient mummification practices.Research article: Rageot et al.News and Views: Recipes for ancient Egyptian mummification09:11 Research HighlightsModelling how fruit wrinkles as it ages, and a trove of ancient animal skulls suggest Neanderthals may have collected hunting trophies.Research Highlight: A chilli’s wrinkles and a cherry’s dimples explainedResearch Highlight: Neanderthals stashed dozens of animal skulls in a cave — but why?11:28 The race to refine CAR-T therapiesCAR-T therapies are a type of cancer immunotherapy in which part of a person’s immune system – their T cells – are engineered to recognise and attack tumours. While these therapies have been shown to be effective at treating certain blood cancers, they are expensive and can have serious side effects. We hear about efforts to tackle these issues and even expand the range of diseases that CAR-T could be used to treat.News Feature: The race to supercharge cancer-fighting T cells19:36 Briefing ChatWe discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, why scientists need to agree on what time it is on the Moon, and the liquid-metal robots that can melt and re-form.Nature News: What time is it on the Moon?New Scientist: Metal robot can melt its way out of tight spaces to escapeNature Video: The race to make a variant-proof COVID vaccineSubscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.
12/28/2022

The Nature Podcast’s highlights of 2022

In this episode:00:53 How virtual meetings can limit creative ideasIn April, we heard how a team investigated whether switching from face-to-face to virtual meetings came at a cost to creativity. They showed that people meeting virtually produced fewer creative ideas than those working face-to-face, and suggest that when it comes to idea generation maybe it’s time to turn the camera off.Nature Podcast: 27 April 2022Research article: Brucks & LevavVideo: Why video calls are bad for brainstorming08:29 How the Black Death got its startThe Black Death is estimated to have caused the deaths of up to 60% of the population of Europe. However, the origin of this wave of disease has remained unclear. In June, we heard from a team who used a combination of techniques to identify a potential starting point in modern-day Kyrgyzstan.Nature Podcast: 15 June 2022Research article: Spyrou et al.15:24 Research HighlightsHippos’ habit of aggressively spraying dung when they hear a stranger, and why being far from humans helps trees live a long life.18:36 Higgs boson turns tenTen years ago, scientists announced that they’d found evidence of the existence of the Higgs boson, a fundamental particle first theorised to exist nearly sixty years earlier. We reminisced about what the discovery meant at the time, and what questions are left to be answered about this mysterious particle.Nature Podcast: 06 July 2022Nature News: Happy birthday, Higgs boson! What we do and don’t know about the particle28:28 The open-science plan to unseat big Pharma and tackle vaccine inequityIn this episode of Coronapod we investigated a radical new collaboration between 15 countries — co-led by the WHO, and modelled on open-science — that aims to create independent vaccine hubs that could supply the global south. This project was supported by the Pulitzer Center.Coronapod: 29 July 2022News Feature: The radical plan for vaccine equity40:10 Missing foot reveals world’s oldest amputationIn September, we heard about the discovery of a skeleton with an amputated foot, dated to 31,000 years ago. The person whose foot was removed survived the procedure, which the researchers behind the find say shows the ‘surgeon’ must have had detailed knowledge of anatomy.Nature Podcast: 07 September 2022Research article: Maloney et al.News and Views: Earliest known surgery was of a child in Borneo 31,000 years ago