New Scientist Weekly


#130 How to reverse death; Neil Gaiman on Sandman; AlphaFold and biology’s revolution; life in the multiverse with Laura Mersini-Houghton

Season 1, Ep. 130
A new type of artificial blood has been created which, in the future, could bring people back from the dead - or what we think of now as dead, at least. This special fluid has been shown to preserve the organs of dead pigs, long after what was previously thought possible - which the team says could be a game-changer for organ transplants.Rowan talks to legendary writer Neil Gaiman about the new Netflix series, out this week, based on his smash-hit Sandman comics. They also discuss the function of dreams, and the inspiration Neil draws from them.This week we also chew over the recent massive news that DeepMind’s artificial intelligence AlphaFold has predicted the structure of nearly all proteins known to science. It is, says the team, as monumental as the discovery of the structure of DNA. The team explains how transformative this could be in areas like disease prevention.Leaving Earth, we talk with cosmologist Laura Mersini-Houghton about her theory that we live in just one of a vast multiverse of universes, a subject she tackles in her new book ‘Before the Big Bang’.And there’s yet more amazing findings to discuss from the James Webb Space Telescope, including the possible discovery of a galaxy formed not long after the universe itself.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Clare Wilson, Michael Le Page and Leah Crane. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at and discount codes:InsideTracker: We’re Wired from The Bertarelli Foundation50% discounted subscription:

#129 BlueDot special: Mysteries of the universe; stories of hope and joy; growing tiny human brains; solving global problems

Season 1, Ep. 129
Welcome to a special edition of the show recorded live at the bluedot music festival. On the panel are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper and Abby Beall, along with Emmy-nominated composer Hannah Peel and geoscientist and broadcaster Chris Jackson.With the awesome Lovell radio telescope dominating the sky above the festival, this episode begins with astronomy news, and in particular stories from the James Webb Space Telescope - including its mission to look at the atmosphere of rocky planets in the search for extraterrestrial life. There’s also a nod to the late great James Lovelock, who has died at the age of 103.The panel brings their stories of joy and hope. Abby brings news of the saving of a research centre for intelligent birds. Chris marvels at an impressive global geological event which highlights the power of collaboration. Hannah dreams up a story about “nanoskin” which happens to be very similar to a real story we reported. And Rowan comes with the news that chimps have been found to treat each other using medicinal insects.The panel discusses the ethics and possibilities of brain organoid research. These are tiny human brains grown in a lab, which have recently been shown to give off brain waves equivalent to those seen in fetuses.The whole team is gifted with an imaginary $100 million, and asked how they’d use it to save the world. Rowan wants to refreeze the Arctic.Then there’s a vibrant Q&A session with the audience. And for the boy who asked about brain organoids playing Pong, here’s the story.InsideTracker: We’re Wired from The Bertarelli FoundationNew Scientist Live event:

#128 Extreme heatwaves; China’s space station launch; covid’s effects in pregnancy; a black hole symphony

Season 1, Ep. 128
Following scolding 40 degree record temperatures, it’s clear the UK is not set up to deal with such heat. But as extreme weather events become more common, how can we prepare for a hotter future? The team finds out, and looks to the US and Europe where hot temperatures are also wreaking havoc.China’s space plans are rocketing forward, as the country prepares to launch the second part of its space station into orbit on 24 July. With the third and final module due to launch in October, the team finds out what China is planning to do aboard the new station.What does a black hole sound like? Although we can’t answer that literally, a process called data sonification offers up a solution - by converting astronomical data into sounds and music. The team shares two beautiful pieces composed for an immersive new production called ‘Black Hole Symphony’.Covid-19 has been found to increase the risk of premature birth if caught during the final trimester of pregnancy. The team explores the findings and what they mean for pregnant people.Plant communities could be fundamentally changed by declining pollinator populations, suggests a surprising experiment. The team examines the risk this poses to biodiversity.On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Emily Bates, Michael Le Page, Jason Murugesu, and Alex Wilkins. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at and discount codes:InsideTracker: We’re Wired from The Bertarelli Foundation50% discounted subscription: Dot festival: Pod episode on sonification.

#127: Pig hearts transplanted into dead people; James Webb Space Telescope gives best-ever view of the universe; boosting wheat genetics to feed the world

Season 1, Ep. 127
After the first pig-human transplant patient died just 2 months after receiving his new heart, researchers are now testing modified pig hearts by transplanting them into recently deceased people on life support. The team discusses a new experiment which has shown very promising results.NASA has revealed stunning images of deep-space captured by the James Webb Space Telescope - and there’s so much more to come. The team explains how the telescope is like a time machine, helping us to peer back into the early history of the universe.Much of the information our eyes take in is discarded by the brain. The team discusses a new technique called ‘ghost imaging’ which is using AI to reconstruct those lost images by interacting directly with our brain.Wheat hasn’t yet reached its genetic potential. The team finds out how genetically tweaking this vital crop could improve yields globally, and help it to withstand the impacts of climate change.Covid-19 is impacting fertility through its impacts on sperm - yet another thing we’re finding out about the disease. The team finds out what’s going on, and how long-lasting these effects are.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Jacob Aron, Karmela Padavic-Callaghan, Grace Wade and Carissa Wong. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at and discount codes:InsideTracker: We’re Wired from The Bertarelli FoundationOnline event: Discount:

#126: Are we stuck in a time loop? Legal action against climate change; covid fifth wave; time loop are we stuck?

Season 1, Ep. 126
Ten years since the discovery of the fabled Higgs boson, can the Large Hadron Collider ever make us that excited again? Physicists are now kind of bored by the Higgs - the hype has well and truly died down. So as the LHC kicks off its third period of operation, the team asks whether there will be anything new to get them fired up again.How do large hawks land without crashing? That’s what a team of researchers has been trying to find out. The team explains how their findings could help with future innovations in drone technology.ClientEarth is an environmental legal organisation, or “lawyers for the planet”, with the aim of holding companies and governments to account over net zero plans. The organisation has recently brought cases against the Dutch airline KLM and French oil giant Total Energies for alleged greenwashing. Rowan speaks with Chief Impact Officer and “head of greenwashing” Maria Krystyna Duval.A strange kind of time paradox called causal loops is being researched. As well as explaining what a causal loop is, the team explains how a large set of theoretical universes were studied to see whether this time-travel paradox could actually work.The UK is being hit by a fifth wave of coronavirus cases, with many people becoming reinfected multiple times. The team examines the possible risks of reinfection, and asks if there’s an end in sight.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Jacob Aron, Karmela Padavic-Callaghan and Corryn Wetzel. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at and discount codes:InsideTracker: event: Discount:

#125: Poo transplants cure IBS; climate change shrinks the human niche; CRISPR babies; monkeypox latest

Season 1, Ep. 125
The world’s first CRISPR babies are now toddlers. Now, nearly four years since the super-controversial experiment was announced, scientists in China want to set up a healthcare institute specifically to look after the three children. The team examines the ethics of it all.Humans thrive at particular temperatures, and that’s why we live where we live. But these areas of optimal climate are shrinking because of climate change. As we’re on course to hit 2.7 degrees of warming by the end of the century, the team finds out what will happen to future populations. And with the UN Ocean Conference taking place, we hear a clip of Sounds of the Ocean by composer Joshua Sam Miller, a piece where the lead singer is a whale!Poo transplants are being used to cure irritable bowel syndrome. The team discusses the success of a new trial which used the poop of a single, healthy athletic man - a super-pooer, basically - to introduce a healthy mix of gut microbes into those with the condition.Rogue planets, roaming through space without a star of their own, may still be able to host life. Even without the heat of their own Sun, the team explains how there is still a way that life could thrive.We’re in the middle of the biggest outbreak of monkeypox ever. With cases spreading fast, the team asks why the disease isn’t killing anyone yet, and they find out how big this outbreak could become.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page, Alice Klein, Leah Crane and James Dinneen. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at and discount codes:InsideTracker: Scientist Live Events: Discount:

#124: Lopsided universe; solar activity affects heart health; hero rats trained for rescue missions

Season 1, Ep. 124
If you like things orderly, we have bad news for you - our universe is lopsided. Based on everything we know about gravity and the early universe, we’d expect galaxies to be distributed symmetrically - but they’re not. Something spooky’s going on, and the team searches for answers.The activity of the Sun may be affecting our heart health. Sometimes the weather on the Sun gets a little chaotic, and the team discusses new research that suggests these solar storms are messing with our heart rhythms, raising the risk of heart attacks.African pouched rats are being trained as heroes. Donning special little backpacks, they will use their keen sense of smell to go on search and rescue missions. The team explains why they’ve been chosen for the task.Last September El Salvador became the first country to make cryptocurrency legal tender. But with the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies plummeting, the team examines what the future holds.Covid-19 is proving resilient, and as new variants of omicron emerge, infection rates still remain high. As omicron is milder than its predecessors, the team asks whether we should still be worried about the disease, and they find out how it may continue to evolve.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page, Corryn Wetzel, Leah Crane, Jacob Aron and Alice Klein. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at and discount codes:InsideTracker: Scientist Live Event: Discount:

#123: ‘Sentient’ claim for Google AI; spacecraft spots starquakes; the rise of the mammals; hot brains

Season 1, Ep. 123
How will we know when we’ve made a truly sentient artificial intelligence? Well, one Google engineer believes we’re already there. The team discusses the story of Google’s very clever AI called LaMDA, and ask another chatbot, GPT3, what it would think if LaMDA was destroyed.Did you know stars have ‘earthquakes’ too? These starquakes have been spotted by the Gaia space observatory, which aims to build a 3D map of all the stars in our galaxy. It’s been collecting a phenomenal amount of data, and the team explores its findings.Net Zero pledges are becoming more popular - which is great - but a lot of them aren’t being acted on. According to a new consortium Net Zero Tracker, a worrying number of these pledges aren’t credible. The team finds out how the group aims to hold companies to account.Our brains are hotter than we realised - 2.5 degrees celsius hotter in fact. The team asks why we’re only just finding this out in 2022, and how the discovery may improve care for people undergoing brain surgery.Steve Brusatte is best known as a dinosaur palaeontologist, but he has turned his attention now to our own class, the mammals. Rowan chats with him, and amongst other things finds out how enslaved Africans in South Carolina were instrumental in the development of palaeontology.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Clare Wilson,Matt Sparkes and James Dinneen. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at and discount codes:InsideTracker: giveaway: Discount:

#122: The science of Top Gun; the 1.5°C climate goal is out of reach; return to the moon; hepatitis mystery

Season 1, Ep. 122
While it may be technically possible to keep global heating to 1.5°C it’s really not very likely - at all. So why are we clinging to it? The team asks, when do we admit that 1.5°C is dead, and what will it mean when we do?NASA is about to launch its CAPSTONE spacecraft into lunar orbit, paving the way for its lunar space station. As a precursor to the Artemis mission to put people back on the moon, CAPSTONE is basically a test run, and the team explains its goals.Rowan’s been to see Top Gun: Maverick, and he’s found a way of making it about science - or technology, at least. In the film we see many new applications of technology and artificial intelligence in warfare, so we chat with AI and drone expert Arthur Holland Michel to discuss the future of combat and what Top Gun 3 might look like in another thirty years.The team brings you an incredibly exotic life form of the week… chickens! It turns out that chickens were domesticated a lot more recently than we thought. Hear some of the humorous archaeological blunders that have led to this confusion.In recent months doctors around the world have been reporting mysterious cases of children suddenly developing liver failure. While we don’t know what’s happening, the team explores some possible explanations.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page and Adam Vaughan. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at and discount codes:Free giveaway: Discount: Dot Festival: discoverthebluedot.comUnderstanding the AI revolution: