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

In a fast-changing environment, evolution can be slow—sometimes so slow that an organism dies out before the right mutation comes along. Host Sarah Crespi speaks with staff writer Elizabeth Pennisi about how plastic traits—traits that can alter in response to environmental conditions—could help life catch up.

 

Also on this week’s show, host Meagan Cantwell talks with Marco Ajello a professor of Physics and Astronomy at Clemson University in South Carolina about his team’s method to determine the universe’s star formation history. By looking at 739 blazars, supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies, Ajello and his team were able to model the history of stars since the big bang.

 

Finally, in this month’s book segment, Jen Golbeck interviews Christine Du Bois about her book Story of Soy. You can listen to more books segment and read more reviews on our books blog, Books et al.

  

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts

 

About the Science Podcast

 

[Image: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

  

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Elizabeth Pennisi

Direct download: SciencePodcast_181130.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

First, we hear from science writer Joshua Sokol about his trip to the Cambrian—well not quite. He talks with host Megan Cantwell about his travels to a remote site in the mountains of British Columbia where some of Earth’s first animals—including a mysterious, alien-looking creature—are spilling out of Canadian rocks.

 

Also on this week’s show, host Sarah Crespi talks with James Hazel a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Genetic Privacy and Identity in Community Settings at Vanderbilt University in Nashville about a proposal for creating a universal forensic DNA database. He and his co-authors argue that current, invasive practices such as law enforcement subpoenaing medical records, commercial genetic profiles, and other sets of extremely detailed genetic information during criminal investigations, would be curtailed if a forensics-use-only universal database were created.

 

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

 

About the Science Podcast

 

[Image: JOHN LEHMANN; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Joshua Sokol

Direct download: SciencePodcast_181123.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

When was the worst year to be alive? Contributing Correspondent Ann Gibbons talks to host Sarah Crespi about a contender year that features a volcanic eruption, extended darkness, cold summer, and a plague.

Also on this week’s show, host Meagan Cantwell talks with Andrea Di Francesco of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland, about his review of current wisdom on fasting and metabolism. Should we start fasting—if not to extend our lives maybe to at least to give ourselves a healthy old age? 

In a special segment from our policy desk, Deputy Editor David Malakoff discusses the results of the recent U.S. election with Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Mervis and we learn what happened to the many scientist candidates that ran and some implications for science policy. 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

Listen to previous podcasts

 

About the Science Podcast

 

[Image: PHOTO BY: Scott Suchman; STYLING BY: Nichole Bryant; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Ann Gibbons; David Malakoff; Jeffrey Mervis

Direct download: SciencePodcast_181116.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

A new report suggests a big increase in the use of monkeys in laboratory experiments in the United States in 2017. Online news editor David Grimm joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss which areas of research are experiencing this rise and the possible reasons behind it. 

 

Also this week, host Meagan Cantwell talks with staff writer Adrian Cho about a final push to affix the metric system’s measures to physical constants instead of physical objects. That means the perfectly formed 1-kilogram cylinder known as Le Grand K is no more; it also means that the meter, the ampere, and other units of measure are now derived using complex calculations and experiments. 

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts

 

About the Science Podcast

 

[Image: Peter Nijenhuis/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; David Grimm; Adrian Cho

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_181109.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

For a long time, Parkinson’s disease was thought to be merely a disorder of the nervous system. But in the past decade researchers have started to look elsewhere in the body for clues to this debilitating disease—particularly in the gut. Host Meagan Cantwell talks with Viviane Labrie of the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, about new research suggesting people without their appendixes have a reduced risk of Parkinson’s. Labrie also describes the possible mechanism behind this connection.

 

And host Sarah Crespi talks with Peter Fratzl of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany, about what materials scientists can learn from nature. The natural world might not produce innovations like carbon nanotubes, but evolution has forged innumerable materials from very limited resources—mostly sugars, proteins, and minerals. Fratzl discusses how plants make time-release seedpods that are triggered by nothing but fire and rain, the amazing suckerin protein that comprises squid teeth, and how cicadas make their transparent, self-cleaning wings from simple building blocks.  

 

Fratzl’s review is part of a special section in Science on composite materials. Read the whole package, including a review on using renewables like coconut fiber for building cars and incorporating carbon nanotubes and graphene into composites.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts

 

About the Science Podcast

 

[Image: Roger Smith/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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[Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_181102.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

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