Science Magazine Podcast

A Science and Medicine podcast
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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-fashioned 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 the 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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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. Extra audio credits: Tinnitus sound samples courtesy of the American Tinnitus Association. Treatment samples courtesy of Neuromod Devices Ltd. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF).
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).
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).
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).
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.  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]
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]
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). [Image: Ivo Beck/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
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]
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]
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; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
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. Read all of our coronavirus news coverage.  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; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
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]
Contributing Correspondent Kai Kupferschmidt talks with host Sarah Crespi about the success of a fast moving megatrial for coronavirus treatments. The United Kingdom’s Recovery 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. Kupferschmidt discusses why such a large study is necessary and why other large drug trials like the World Health Organization’s Solidarity trial are lagging behind. Read Science’s coronavirus coverage. Also this week, producer Meagan Cantwell talks with Saul Villeda, a professor in the Department of Anatomy at the 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]
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]
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]
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 Robotics about 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). [Image: Muhammad Mahdi Karim/Wikipedia; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
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). [Image: Oregon State University/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
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. Read a related commentary piece.  This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. About the Science Podcast Download a transcript (PDF). [Image: Oregon State University/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
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]
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Podcast Details

Created by
Science Magazine
Podcast Status
Active
Started
Nov 19th, 2020
Latest Episode
Nov 19th, 2020
Release Period
Weekly
Episodes
360
Avg. Episode Length
24 minutes
Explicit
No
Language
English

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