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

Researchers have found new clues to how the “talking drums” of one Amazonian tribe convey their messages. Sarah Crespi talks with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic about the role of tone and rhythm in this form of communication.

 

Getting poked with a needle will probably get you moving. Apparently, it also gets charges moving in certain semiconductive materials. Sarah interviews Marin Alexe of the University of Warwick about this newfound flexo-photovoltaic effect. Alexe’s group found that prodding or denting certain semiconductors with tiny needles causes them to suddenly produce current in response to light. That discovery could enhance the efficiency of current of solar cell technologies.

 

Finally, in our books segment, Jen Golbeck interviews Lucy Cooke about her new book The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Adam Levine/Flickr;Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Catherine Matacic

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180427.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

Armed with new data, archaeologists are revealing that [linkTK]mind-altering drugs were present at the dawn of the first complex societies some 5000 years ago in the ancient Middle East. Contributing writer Andrew Lawler joins Sarah Crespi to discuss the evidence for these drugs and how they might have impacted early societies and beliefs.

 

Sarah also interviews Sarah Hobbie of the University of Minnesota about the fate of plants under climate change. Will all that extra carbon dioxide in the air be good for certain types of flora? A 20-year long study published this week in Science suggests theoretical predictions have been off the mark. 

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image:  Public domain Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Andrew Lawler

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180420.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

 

Geneticists and anthropologists studying historical records and modern-day genomes are finding traces of previously unknown migrants to Latin America in the 16th and 17th centuries, when Asians, Africans, and Europeans first met indigenous Latin Americans. Sarah Crespi talks with contributing correspondent Lizzie Wade about what she learned on the topic at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists’ annual meeting in Austin.

 

Sarah also interviews Kang-Keun Ni about her research using optical tweezers to bring two atoms—one cesium and one sodium—together into a single molecule. Such precise control of molecule formation is allowing new observations of these basic processes, and is opening the door to creating new molecules for quantum computing.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image:  Juan Fernando Ibarra; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Lizzie Wade

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180413.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

A millennium ago, Viking navigators may have used crystals known as “sunstones” to navigate between Norway and Greenland. Sarah Crespi talks with Online News Editor David Grimm about how one might use a crystal to figure out where they are.

 

Sarah also interviews freelancer Danna Staaf about her piece on sedating cephalopods. Until recently, researchers working with octopuses and squids faced the dilemma of not knowing whether the animals were truly sedated or whether only their ability to respond had been suppressed.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

   

[Image:  Nicholas Roerich, Guests from Overseas; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

  

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm; Danna Staaf;

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180406.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

Two of the world’s most famous research chimpanzees have finally retired. Hercules and Leo arrived in a chimp sanctuary in Georgia last week. Sarah Crespi checks in with Online News Editor David Grimm on the increasing momentum for research chimp retirement since the primates were labeled endangered species in 2015.

 Sarah also interviews freelancer Sophia Chen about her piece on x-ray ghost imaging—a technique that may lead to safer medical imaging done with cheap, single-pixel cameras.

 David Malakoff joins Sarah to talk about the big boost in U.S. science funding signed into law over the weekend.

 Finally, Jen Goldbeck interviews author Stephanie Elizabeth Mohr on her book First in Fly: Drosophila Research and Biological Discovery for our monthly books segment.

 This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 Listen to previous podcasts.

  [Image: Crystal Alba/Project Chimps; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180330.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

Researchers are converging on which genes are linked to morning sickness—the nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy—and the more severe form: hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). And once we know what those genes are—can we help pregnant women feel better? News intern Roni Dengler joins Sarah Crespi to talk about a new study that suggests a protein already flagged for its role in cancer-related nausea may also be behind HG.

 

In a second segment, Tracy Bedrosian of the Neurotechnology Innovations Translator talks about how the amount of time spent being licked by mom might be linked to changes in the genetic code of hippocampal neurons in mice pups. Could these types of genomic changes be a new type of plasticity in the brain?

                              

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Jacob Bøtter/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; David Grimm; Roni Dengler

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180323.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

When Indonesia’s Mt. Toba blew its top some 74,000 years ago, an apocalyptic scenario ensued: Tons of ash and debris entered the atmosphere, coating the planet in ash for 2 weeks straight and sending global temperatures plummeting. Despite the worldwide destruction, humans survived. Sarah Crespi talks with Online News Editor Catherine Matacic about how life after Toba was even possible—were humans decimated, or did they rally in the face of a suddenly extra hostile planet?

 

Next, Julia Buck of the University of California, Santa Barbara joins Sarah to discuss her Science commentary piece on landscapes of disgust. You may have heard of a landscape of fear—how a predator can influence an ecosystem not just by eating its prey, but also by introducing fear into the system, changing the behavior of many organisms. Buck and colleagues write about how disgust can operate in a similar way: Animals protect themselves from parasites and infection by avoiding disgusting things such as dead animals of the same species or those with disease.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  [Image: Emma Forsber/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

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Authors: Sarah Crespi; Catherine Matacic

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180316.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

Did people domesticate animals? Or did they domesticate themselves? Online News Editor David Grimm talks with Sarah Crespi about a recent study that looked at self-domesticating mice. If they could go it alone, could cats or dogs have done the same in the distant past?

 

Next, Sinan Aral of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge joins Sarah to discuss his work on true and false rumor cascades across all of Twitter, since its inception. He finds that false news travels further, deeper, and faster than true news, regardless of the source of the tweet, the kind of news it was, or whether bots were involved.

                              

In a bonus segment recording during a live podcasting event at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Sarah first speaks with Ben Munson of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis about markers of gender and sexual orientation in spoken language and then Adrienne Hancock of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., talks about using what we know about gender and communication to help transgender women change their speech and communication style. Live recordings sessions at the AAAS meeting were supported by funds from the European Commission.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180309.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

For some time after the big bang there were no stars. Researchers are now looking at cosmic dawn—the time when stars first popped into being—and are seeing hints of dark matter’s influence on super cold hydrogen clouds. News writer Adrian Cho talks with Sarah Crespi about how this observation was made and what it means for our understanding of dark matter.

                                             

Sarah also interviews Joanna Kaplanis of Wellcome Sanger Institute about constructing enormous family trees based on an online social genealogy platform. What can we learn from the biggest family tree ever built—with 13 million members spanning 11 generations?

 

In a bonus segment recording during a live podcasting event at the AAAS annualmMeeting in Austin, Sarah talks with Michael Varnum of Arizona State University about what people think they will do if humanity comes into contact with aliens that just happen to be microbes. Live recordings sessions at the AAAS meeting were supported by funds from the European Commission.

 

This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.

 

Listen to previous podcasts.

  

[Image: Music: Jeffrey Cook]

 

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180302.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT

We talk about the techniques of painting sleuths, how to combat alternative facts or “fake news,” and using audio signposts to keep birds from flying into buildings. For this segment, David Grimm—online news editor for Science—talks with host Sarah Crespi as part of a live podcast event from the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin.

                            

Sarah also interviews Science News Editor Tim Appenzeller about Neandertal art. The unexpected age of some European cave paintings is causing experts to rethink the mental capabilities of our extinct cousins.

 

For the monthly books segment, Jen Golbeck interviews with William Glassley about his book, A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice.    

 Listen to previous podcasts.

Direct download: SciencePodcast_180223.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EDT