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498Episodes
Category: Science

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

August 8, 2022

Episode 495 - Plants without sunlight and electricity from sweat

How can we take ideas from nature and turn them upside down like growing plants without sunlight. There are some plants that thrive in 'low light' but what if they needed no light? Is it possible to change photosynthesis to work even without sunlight? Photosynthesis is great and all, but it's only around 1% efficient, so can it be improved? IF you were to make artificial photosynthesis can it outperform good ol natural sunlight? Biofilms are often the scourge of wearable devices, but what if they could help generate power? Turning sweat into electricity with bacteria could power your wearable devices.

  1. Elizabeth C. Hann, Sean Overa, Marcus Harland-Dunaway, Andrés F. Narvaez, Dang N. Le, Martha L. Orozco-Cárdenas, Feng Jiao, Robert E. Jinkerson. A hybrid inorganic–biological artificial photosynthesis system for energy-efficient food production. Nature Food, 2022; 3 (6): 461 DOI: 10.1038/s43016-022-00530-x
  2. Elizabeth C. Hann, Sean Overa, Marcus Harland-Dunaway, Andrés F. Narvaez, Dang N. Le, Martha L. Orozco-Cárdenas, Feng Jiao, Robert E. Jinkerson. A hybrid inorganic–biological artificial photosynthesis system for energy-efficient food production. Nature Food, 2022; 3 (6): 461 DOI: 10.1038/s43016-022-00530-x
August 1, 2022

Episode 494 - Mass extinctions and recovery in our oceans

What happens when most life in the ocean just dies off? Our oceans have seen many mass extinctions in the past, how long does it take to recover? What happened at the end of the Permian that caused massive extinctions in the ocean? What creatures were best able to survive when 80% of the rest of life in the ocean died? Burrowing and feeding on mud at the ocean depths helped soft bodied creatures survive a mass extinction. What lurked in the north Pacific that heated up the oceans? What was 'The Blob' and how were seals able to uncover it's secrets in the North pacific?

  1. Xueqian Feng, Zhong-Qiang Chen, Michael J. Benton, Chunmei Su, David J. Bottjer, Alison T. Cribb, Ziheng Li, Laishi Zhao, Guangyou Zhu, Yuangeng Huang, Zhen Guo. Resilience of infaunal ecosystems during the Early Triassic greenhouse EarthScience Advances, 2022; 8 (26) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abo0597
  2. Rachel R. Holser, Theresa R. Keates, Daniel P. Costa, Christopher A. Edwards. Extent and Magnitude of Subsurface Anomalies During the Northeast Pacific Blob as Measured by Animal‐Borne SensorsJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 2022; 127 (7) DOI: 10.1029/2021JC018356
July 25, 2022

Episode 493 - Pleasant memories of sound and music relieving pain

There are plenty of tales of music soothing wild beasts, but is there actually a link between music and pain relief? How did researchers quantitatively study the soothing powers of music? What's better for blocking out pain ; Classical music, discordant arrangements or white noise? How does sound dull the effect of pain in mice? Just how good is a bat's auditory long term memory? can you train a bat to recognize the sound of a tasty treat? How do bats process and associate sounds with food?

  1. Wenjie Zhou, Chonghuan Ye, Haitao Wang, Yu Mao, Weijia Zhang, An Liu, Chen-Ling Yang, Tianming Li, Lauren Hayashi, Wan Zhao, Lin Chen, Yuanyuan Liu, Wenjuan Tao, Zhi Zhang. Sound induces analgesia through corticothalamic circuits. Science, 2022; 377 (6602): 198 DOI: 10.1126/science.abn4663
  2. M. May Dixon, Patricia L. Jones, Michael J. Ryan, Gerald G. Carter, Rachel A. Page. Long-term memory in frog-eating bats. Current Biology, 2022; 32 (12): R557 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.05.031
July 18, 2022

Episode 492 - Finding hidden objects in the early universe

How can you find objects that are hard to see in the depths of space? There is plenty of gas in a galaxy, but trying to see a cloud amongst all those starts is not easy. The further back in time you look in the history of the universe, the colder and darker it gets. How do you figure out the structure of the earliest galaxies and their cold gas? A black hole roaming across a galaxy sounds like bad sci fi horror, but may have been found. How can you spot a black hole without any frame of reference? Detecting a roaming black hole is tricky but not impossible.

    1. Kieran A. Cleary, Jowita Borowska, Patrick C. Breysse, Morgan Catha, Dongwoo T. Chung, Sarah E. Church, Clive Dickinson, Hans Kristian Eriksen, Marie Kristine Foss, Joshua Ott Gundersen, Stuart E. Harper, Andrew I. Harris, Richard Hobbs, Håvard T. Ihle, Junhan Kim, Jonathon Kocz, James W. Lamb, Jonas G. S. Lunde, Hamsa Padmanabhan, Timothy J. Pearson, Liju Philip, Travis W. Powell, Maren Rasmussen, Anthony C. S. Readhead, Thomas J. Rennie, Marta B. Silva, Nils-Ole Stutzer, Bade D. Uzgil, Duncan J. Watts, Ingunn Kathrine Wehus, David P. Woody, Lilian Basoalto, J. Richard Bond, Delaney A. Dunne, Todd Gaier, Brandon Hensley, Laura C. Keating, Charles R. Lawrence, Norman Murray, Roberta Paladini, Rodrigo Reeves, Marco P. Viero, Risa H. Wechsler. COMAP Early Science. I. OverviewThe Astrophysical Journal, 2022; 933 (2): 182 DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ac63cc
    2. Casey Y. Lam, Jessica R. Lu, Andrzej Udalski, Ian Bond, David P. Bennett, Jan Skowron, Przemek Mroz, Radek Poleski, Takahiro Sumi, Michal K. Szymanski, Szymon Kozlowski, Pawel Pietrukowicz, Igor Soszynski, Krzysztof Ulaczyk, Lukasz Wyrzykowski, Shota Miyazaki, Daisuke Suzuki, Naoki Koshimoto, Nicholas J. Rattenbury, Matthew W. Hosek Jr., Fumio Abe, Richard Barry, Aparna Bhattacharya, Akihiko Fukui, Hirosane Fujii, Yuki Hirao, Yoshitaka Itow, Rintaro Kirikawa, Iona Kondo, Yutaka Matsubara, Sho Matsumoto, Yasushi Muraki, Greg Olmschenk, Clement Ranc, Arisa Okamura, Yuki Satoh, Stela Ishitani Silva, Taiga Toda, Paul J. Tristram, Aikaterini Vandorou, Hibiki Yama, Natasha S. Abrams, Shrihan Agarwal, Sam Rose, Sean K. Terry. An isolated mass gap black hole or neutron star detected with astrometric microlensingAccepted to APJ Letters, 2022 [abstract]
    3. Kailash C. Sahu, Jay Anderson, Stefano Casertano, Howard E. Bond, Andrzej Udalski, Martin Dominik, Annalisa Calamida, Andrea Bellini, Thomas M. Brown, Marina Rejkuba, Varun Bajaj, Noe Kains, Henry C. Ferguson, Chris L. Fryer, Philip Yock, Przemek Mroz, Szymon Kozlowski, Pawel Pietrukowicz, Radek Poleski, Jan Skowron, Igor Soszynski, Michael K. Szymanski, Krzysztof Ulaczyk, Lukasz Wyrzykowski, Richard Barry, David P. Bennett, Ian A. Bond, Yuki Hirao, Stela Ishitani Silva, Iona Kondo, Naoki Koshimoto, Clement Ranc, Nicholas J. Rattenbury, Takahiro Sumi, Daisuke Suzuki, Paul J. Tristram, Aikaterini Vandorou, Jean-Philippe Beaulieu, Jean-Baptiste Marquette, Andrew Cole, Pascal Fouque, Kym Hill, Stefan Dieters, Christian Coutures, Dijana Dominis-Prester, Clara Bennett, Etienne Bachelet, John Menzies, Michael Alb-row, Karen Pollard, Andrew Gould, Jennifer Yee, William Allen, Leonardo Andrade de Almeida, Grant Christie, John Drummond, Avishay Gal-Yam, Evgeny Gorbikov, Francisco Jablonski, Chung-Uk Lee, Dan Maoz, Ilan Manulis, Jennie McCormick, Tim Natusch, Richard W. Pogge, Yossi Shvartzvald, Uffe G. Jorgensen, Khalid A. Alsubai, Michael I. Andersen, Valerio Bozza, Sebastiano Calchi Novati, Martin Burgdorf, Tobias C. Hinse, Markus Hundertmark, Tim-Oliver Husser, Eamonn Kerins, Penelope Longa-Pena, Luigi Mancini, Matthew Penny, Sohrab Rahvar, Davide Ricci, Sedighe Sajadian, Jesper Skottfelt, Colin Snodgrass, John Southworth, Jeremy Tregloan-Reed, Joachim Wambsganss, Olivier Wertz, Yiannis Tsapras, Rachel A. Street, Daniel M. Bramich, Keith Horne, Iain A. Steele. An Isolated Stellar-Mass Black Hole Detected Through Astrometric MicrolensingAccepted to APJ, 2022 [abstract]

 

July 11, 2022

Episode 491 - Impacts and the messy history of the early solar system

The early history of our solar system can be deciphered by studying impact craters and meteorites. Craters on the Moon tell us a lot about the violent history of our solar system. Just how many impacts have there been on the Moon? We can study the porosity of the Moon to better estimate just how many impacts have occurred on it. How did Mars get it's atmosphere and from where? A Martian meteorite from deep in the core can tell us a lot about the solar nebula that formed our solar system. Mars formed relatively quickly, before the solar nebula dissipated.

  1. Ya Huei Huang, Jason M. Soderblom, David A. Minton, Masatoshi Hirabayashi, H. Jay Melosh. Bombardment history of the Moon constrained by crustal porosityNature Geoscience, 2022; DOI: 10.1038/s41561-022-00969-4
  2. Sandrine Péron, Sujoy Mukhopadhyay. Krypton in the Chassigny meteorite shows Mars accreted chondritic volatiles before nebular gasesScience, 2022; DOI: 10.1126/science.abk1175
July 4, 2022

Episode 490 - The history of fire on Earth

The history of fire on earth from the first wildfires to the first use to cook. We all know you need fuel and oxygen for fire, but when did the first fires occur on Earth. When did the first wild fires occur on earth? What was there to burn on early Earth if there weren't any large trees or plants? Giant mushrooms and large fields of moss, early Earth was very different but it could still have wildfires. When did the first hominids use fire as a tool? How can we identify if something that was burn was done so deliberately or accidentally. We know at some point hominids used fire as a tool, but when exactly -  200,500 800 million years ago?

  1. Zane Stepka, Ido Azuri, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Michael Chazan, Filipe Natalio. Hidden signatures of early fire at Evron Quarry (1.0 to 0.8 Mya)Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2022; 119 (25) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2123439119
  2. Ian J. Glasspool, Robert A. Gastaldo. Silurian wildfire proxies and atmospheric oxygenGeology, 2022; DOI: 10.1130/G50193.1
June 28, 2022

Episode 498 - Clean air, captured carbon and paper sensors

Where is the cleanest air on the planet? How do oceans help capture carbon from forest fires? Where does all that carbon go after a forest fire? How do you find the cleanest air, by measuring microbes. The southern ocean air is not polluted by aerosols or ice forming particles. The air above the Southern Ocean is clean and crisp with not much microbes in side it. How can you turn a paper into a simple carbon dioxide sensor?

  1. Matthew W. Jones, Alysha I. Coppola, Cristina Santín, Thorsten Dittmar, Rudolf Jaffé, Stefan H. Doerr, Timothy A. Quine. Fires prime terrestrial organic carbon for riverine export to the global oceansNature Communications, 2020; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16576-z
  2. Hui Wang, Sergei I. Vagin, Bernhard Rieger, Alkiviathes Meldrum. An Ultrasensitive Fluorescent Paper-Based CO2 SensorACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2020; 12 (18): 20507 DOI: 10.1021/acsami.0c03405
June 21, 2022

Episode 488 -Mysteries from the formation of our solar system

From cosmic rays in Antarctica, to chasing Eclipses to learn about stellar weather. Neutrinos are hard to track and detect, as are cosmic rays. Neutrinos suddenly coming out of Antarctica baffled scientists hunting for cosmic rays.  Underground glacial lakes, compacted snow, cosmic can help explain mysterious neutrino emissions. Tracking eclipses and gathering data over 20 years can help us understand stellar weather. By studying the Sun's corona, scientists can better understand the magnetic field and stellar weather. The sun changes activity over 11 year cycles, and it's magnetic field also rearranges itself from highly structured to loose and messy.  

  1. Ian M. Shoemaker, Alexander Kusenko, Peter Kuipers Munneke, Andrew Romero-Wolf, Dustin M. Schroeder, Martin J. Siegert. Reflections on the anomalous ANITA events: the Antarctic subsurface as a possible explanationAnnals of Glaciology, 2020; 1 DOI: 10.1017/aog.2020.19
  2. Benjamin Boe, Shadia Habbal, Miloslav Druckmüller. Coronal Magnetic Field Topology from Total Solar Eclipse ObservationsThe Astrophysical Journal, 2020; 895 (2): 123 DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab8ae6
June 14, 2022

Episode 487 - Feeding the planet without damaging it

​As our climate changes, feeding the planet without making things worse is a big challenge. How do plants work together to survive extreme weather events? When there is a large drought or extreme weather event what works better, single species or mixed? Plant diversity can help plants weather the storm of climate change and come out stronger. How do cover crops help 'fix' nitrogen in the soil and reduce negative climate impacts. Excess fertiliser is not only expensive for farmers but damaging to the local and global environment. How can cover crops help soil recover and reduce negative climate change impacts of mono cropping. 

  1. Yuxin Chen, Anja Vogel, Cameron Wagg, Tianyang Xu, Maitane Iturrate-Garcia, Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Alexandra Weigelt, Nico Eisenhauer, Bernhard Schmid. Drought-exposure history increases complementarity between plant species in response to a subsequent droughtNature Communications, 2022; 13 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-30954-9
  2. Nakian Kim, Chance W. Riggins, María C. Zabaloy, Marco Allegrini, Sandra L. Rodriguez-Zas, María B. Villamil. High-Resolution Indicators of Soil Microbial Responses to N Fertilization and Cover Cropping in Corn MonoculturesAgronomy, 2022; 12 (4): 954 DOI: 10.3390/agronomy12040954
  3. Nakian Kim, Chance Riggins, María C. Zabaloy, Sandra Rodriguez-Zas and María B. Villamil. Limited impacts of cover cropping on soil N-cycling microbial communities of long-term corn monoculturesFrontiers in Microbiology, 2022 DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.926592
June 7, 2022

Episode 486 - Bypassing the brains defences for treatment

The brain is incredibly important and needs to be protected by your body but this also makes it hard to treat. Brain tumours can be stubborn to root out because many treatments are blocked by the blood brain barrier. The blood brain barrier blocks many cancer treatments, but with the right disguise and nano coating cancer treatments can sneak past. Brain tumours can block the immune system from functioning, but sneaking through the right treatment can help the immune system fight back. Traumatic brain injury and subsequent inflammation can lead to significant damage, and normal anti-inflammatory methods are blocked by the blood brain barrier. If you can't sneak anti-inflammatories through the blood brain barrier, why not just boost their production locally? T Cells can fight back against inflammation after a traumatic brain injury if there's enough food for them to thrive on. 

  1. Yshii, L., Pasciuto, E., Bielefeld, P. et al. Astrocyte-targeted gene delivery of interleukin 2 specifically increases brain-resident regulatory T cell numbers and protects against pathological neuroinflammationNat Immunol, 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41590-022-01208-z
  2. Mahmoud S. Alghamri, Kaushik Banerjee, Anzar A. Mujeeb, Ava Mauser, Ayman Taher, Rohit Thalla, Brandon L. McClellan, Maria L. Varela, Svetlana M. Stamatovic, Gabriela Martinez-Revollar, Anuska V. Andjelkovic, Jason V. Gregory, Padma Kadiyala, Alexandra Calinescu, Jennifer A. Jiménez, April A. Apfelbaum, Elizabeth R. Lawlor, Stephen Carney, Andrea Comba, Syed Mohd Faisal, Marcus Barissi, Marta B. Edwards, Henry Appelman, Yilun Sun, Jingyao Gan, Rose Ackermann, Anna Schwendeman, Marianela Candolfi, Michael R. Olin, Joerg Lahann, Pedro R. Lowenstein, Maria G. Castro. Systemic Delivery of an Adjuvant CXCR4–CXCL12 Signaling Inhibitor Encapsulated in Synthetic Protein Nanoparticles for Glioma ImmunotherapyACS Nano, 2022; DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.1c07492
May 30, 2022

Episode 485 - Plants race against rising sea levels

How can plants adapt to a changing climate and strange volcanic soils. By tracking the divergent evolution of Thale Cress, scientists can track the genetic changes needed to thrive in weird soil. Volcanic soil can have benefits along with risks, but how can plants adapt quickly to odd soil types? How did plants learn to thrive on a volcanic island, Pico de Fogo. What can a long running study tell us about plants adapting to a changing climate. Extra CO2 is good for plants...to up to a point. For plants in wetlands its a race between rising sea levels and extra CO2. 

  1. Emmanuel Tergemina, Ahmed F. Elfarargi, Paulina Flis, Andrea Fulgione, Mehmet Göktay, Célia Neto, Marleen Scholle, Pádraic J. Flood, Sophie-Asako Xerri, Johan Zicola, Nina Döring, Herculano Dinis, Ute Krämer, David E. Salt, Angela M. Hancock. A two-step adaptive walk rewires nutrient transport in a challenging edaphic environmentScience Advances, 2022; 8 (20) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abm9385
  2. Chunwu Zhu, J. Adam Langley, Lewis H. Ziska, Donald R. Cahoon, J. Patrick Megonigal. Accelerated sea-level rise is suppressing CO 2 stimulation of tidal marsh productivity: A 33-year studyScience Advances, 2022; 8 (20) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abn0054
May 24, 2022

Episode 484 - The links between the Core and the volcanos on the surface

How do seismic waves travel through our planet? Is it possible to 'slow down' a seismic wave? What causes 'hotspot volcanoes'? What strange things happen at the boundary between the core and the mantle? The mantle is a dynamic place, and pockets of 'dense' rock can slow and shape heat flow from deep below to the surface. Dense iron rich pockets of rock at the edge of the Core could influence where hotspot volcanoes occur. 

  1. Zhi Li, Kuangdai Leng, Jennifer Jenkins, Sanne Cottaar. Kilometer-scale structure on the core–mantle boundary near HawaiiNature Communications, 2022; 13 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-30502-5
May 16, 2022

Episode 483 - Constantly changing moons of Jupiter

Jupiter's moons may be way more dynamic than we previously thought. Europa has the most potential to harbor life outside of Earth, but it's ice sheets may be more Earth like than we imagined. Europa's spectacular double ridges are similar to those found in Greenland. The ice sheets on Europa may not be static and still, but churning. Melting and refreezing could drive exchange between the surface of Europa and it's icey depths. How do you form sand dunes without any wind? Is it possible to form a Dune on Io using just volcanic flows and sulfur snows?

  1. Culberg, R., Schroeder, D.M. & Steinbrügge, G. Double ridge formation over shallow water sills on Jupiter’s moon Europa. Nat Commun, 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-29458-3
  2. George D. McDonald, Joshua Méndez Harper, Lujendra Ojha, Paul Corlies, Josef Dufek, Ryan C. Ewing, Laura Kerber. Aeolian sediment transport on Io from lava–frost interactions. Nature Communications, 2022; 13 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-29682-x
May 9, 2022

Episode 482 - Nova and Micronova not quite super still immensely powerful

Supernova get all the press, but Nova and Micronova are still pretty powerful. White dwarf stars are normally pretty inactive, unless some hydrogen ends up kickstarting them again. Enough helium leeched from a nearby star can ignite the entire surface of a white dwarf. Nova may not destroy the star, but they can create immensely powerful explosions and particles. The right combination of White Dwarf and Red Giant can create powerful particles near the speed of light. Micronova sound small but they are still colossal and brief explosions on white dwarf stars. Not powerful enough to ignite the whole surface of a star, but definitely enough to destroy a planet, micronova are quite deadly.

  1. Scaringi, S., Groot, P.J., Knigge, C. et al. Localized thermonuclear bursts from accreting magnetic white dwarfsNature, 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04495-6
  2. V. A. Acciari, S. Ansoldi, L. A. Antonelli, A. Arbet Engels, M. Artero, K. Asano, D. Baack, A. Babić, A. Baquero, U. Barres de Almeida, J. A. Barrio, I. Batković, J. Becerra González, W. Bednarek, L. Bellizzi, E. Bernardini, M. Bernardos, A. Berti, J. Besenrieder, W. Bhattacharyya, C. Bigongiari, A. Biland, O. Blanch, H. Bökenkamp, G. Bonnoli, Ž. Bošnjak, G. Busetto, R. Carosi, G. Ceribella, M. Cerruti, Y. Chai, A. Chilingarian, S. Cikota, S. M. Colak, E. Colombo, J. L. Contreras, J. Cortina, S. Covino, G. D’Amico, V. D’Elia, P. Da Vela, F. Dazzi, A. De Angelis, B. De Lotto, A. Del Popolo, M. Delfino, J. Delgado, C. Delgado Mendez, D. Depaoli, F. Di Pierro, L. Di Venere, E. Do Souto Espiñeira, D. Dominis Prester, A. Donini, D. Dorner, M. Doro, D. Elsaesser, V. Fallah Ramazani, L. Fariña Alonso, A. Fattorini, M. V. Fonseca, L. Font, C. Fruck, S. Fukami, Y. Fukazawa, R. J. García López, M. Garczarczyk, S. Gasparyan, M. Gaug, N. Giglietto, F. Giordano, P. Gliwny, N. Godinović, J. G. Green, D. Green, D. Hadasch, A. Hahn, T. Hassan, L. Heckmann, J. Herrera, J. Hoang, D. Hrupec, M. Hütten, T. Inada, K. Ishio, Y. Iwamura, I. Jiménez Martínez, J. Jormanainen, L. Jouvin, D. Kerszberg, Y. Kobayashi, H. Kubo, J. Kushida, A. Lamastra, D. Lelas, F. Leone, E. Lindfors, L. Linhoff, S. Lombardi, F. Longo, R. López-Coto, M. López-Moya, A. López-Oramas, S. Loporchio, B. Machado de Oliveira Fraga, C. Maggio, P. Majumdar, M. Makariev, M. Mallamaci, G. Maneva, M. Manganaro, K. Mannheim, L. Maraschi, M. Mariotti, M. Martínez, A. Mas Aguilar, D. Mazin, S. Menchiari, S. Mender, S. Mićanović, D. Miceli, T. Miener, J. M. Miranda, R. Mirzoyan, E. Molina, A. Moralejo, D. Morcuende, V. Moreno, E. Moretti, T. Nakamori, L. Nava, V. Neustroev, M. Nievas Rosillo, C. Nigro, K. Nilsson, K. Nishijima, K. Noda, S. Nozaki, Y. Ohtani, T. Oka, J. Otero-Santos, S. Paiano, M. Palatiello, D. Paneque, R. Paoletti, J. M. Paredes, L. Pavletić, P. Peñil, M. Persic, M. Pihet, P. G. Prada Moroni, E. Prandini, C. Priyadarshi, I. Puljak, W. Rhode, M. Ribó, J. Rico, C. Righi, A. Rugliancich, N. Sahakyan, T. Saito, S. Sakurai, K. Satalecka, F. G. Saturni, B. Schleicher, K. Schmidt, T. Schweizer, J. Sitarek, I. Šnidarić, D. Sobczynska, A. Spolon, A. Stamerra, J. Strišković, D. Strom, M. Strzys, Y. Suda, T. Surić, M. Takahashi, R. Takeishi, F. Tavecchio, P. Temnikov, T. Terzić, M. Teshima, L. Tosti, S. Truzzi, A. Tutone, S. Ubach, J. van Scherpenberg, G. Vanzo, M. Vazquez Acosta, S. Ventura, V. Verguilov, C. F. Vigorito, V. Vitale, I. Vovk, M. Will, C. Wunderlich, T. Yamamoto, D. Zarić, F. Ambrosino, M. Cecconi, G. Catanzaro, C. Ferrara, A. Frasca, M. Munari, L. Giustolisi, J. Alonso-Santiago, M. Giarrusso, U. Munari, P. Valisa. Proton acceleration in thermonuclear nova explosions revealed by gamma raysNature Astronomy, 2022; DOI: 10.1038/s41550-022-01640-z
May 2, 2022

Episode 481 - Finding hidden life in our oceans with RNA and DNA

Using sequencing techniques we can find all kinds of hidden life in our oceans. RNA viruses are ancient, but their old genes can help us spot them in great numbers in our oceans. There are huge amounts of 'life' in our oceans that we don't know about. No matter if you think viruses are 'alive' or not, there are way more than we imagined in our oceans. RNA viruses are easier to spot in our oceans if you look for the right ancient gene. Using gene sequencing we can find fish that are hidden in our reefs. Visually spotting fish is helpful but can overlook sneak fish. Using environemtnal sequencing techniques way more diverse range of fish can be found.

  1. Ahmed A. Zayed, James M. Wainaina, Guillermo Dominguez-Huerta, Eric Pelletier, Jiarong Guo, Mohamed Mohssen, Funing Tian, Akbar Adjie Pratama, Benjamin Bolduc, Olivier Zablocki, Dylan Cronin, Lindsey Solden, Erwan Delage, Adriana Alberti, Jean-Marc Aury, Quentin Carradec, Corinne da Silva, Karine Labadie, Julie Poulain, Hans-Joachim Ruscheweyh, Guillem Salazar, Elan Shatoff, Ralf Bundschuh, Kurt Fredrick, Laura S. Kubatko, Samuel Chaffron, Alexander I. Culley, Shinichi Sunagawa, Jens H. Kuhn, Patrick Wincker, Matthew B. Sullivan, Silvia G. Acinas, Marcel Babin, Peer Bork, Emmanuel Boss, Chris Bowler, Guy Cochrane, Colomban de Vargas, Gabriel Gorsky, Lionel Guidi, Nigel Grimsley, Pascal Hingamp, Daniele Iudicone, Olivier Jaillon, Stefanie Kandels, Lee Karp-Boss, Eric Karsenti, Fabrice Not, Hiroyuki Ogata, Nicole Poulton, Stéphane Pesant, Christian Sardet, Sabrinia Speich, Lars Stemmann, Matthew B. Sullivan, Shinichi Sungawa, Patrick Wincker. Cryptic and abundant marine viruses at the evolutionary origins of Earth’s RNA viromeScience, 2022; 376 (6589): 156 DOI: 10.1126/science.abm5847
  2. Laetitia Mathon, Virginie Marques, David Mouillot, Camille Albouy, Marco Andrello, Florian Baletaud, Giomar H. Borrero-Pérez, Tony Dejean, Graham J. Edgar, Jonathan Grondin, Pierre-Edouard Guerin, Régis Hocdé, Jean-Baptiste Juhel, Kadarusman, Eva Maire, Gael Mariani, Matthew McLean, Andrea Polanco F., Laurent Pouyaud, Rick D. Stuart-Smith, Hagi Yulia Sugeha, Alice Valentini, Laurent Vigliola, Indra B. Vimono, Loïc Pellissier, Stéphanie Manel. Cross-ocean patterns and processes in fish biodiversity on coral reefs through the lens of eDNA metabarcodingProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2022; 289 (1973) DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2022.0162
April 25, 2022

Episode 480 - Bacteria turning methane into electricity, and corrupting corn

How can bacteria turn methane directly into electricity? Why waste time producing bio gas to burn when bacteria could produce electricity directly.  When bacteria take over corn, before they wreck the join they order in delivered food. Bacteria enjoy a huge feast when taking over maize, then they get to work wrecking the joint. Bacteria ends up in spots its not meant to be and redirects food away from plant cells. Redirected takeout food keeps bacteria alive as they settle into their corn host in preparation for taking over. When moving into a new house it helps to get food delivered at first, which is exactly what bacteria does.

  1. Heleen T. Ouboter, Tom Berben, Stefanie Berger, Mike S. M. Jetten, Tom Sleutels, Annemiek Ter Heijne, Cornelia U. Welte. Methane-Dependent Extracellular Electron Transfer at the Bioanode by the Anaerobic Archaeal Methanotroph “Candidatus Methanoperedens”. Frontiers in Microbiology, 2022; 13 DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.820989
  2. Irene Gentzel, Laura Giese, Gayani Ekanayake, Kelly Mikhail, Wanying Zhao, Jean-Christophe Cocuron, Ana Paula Alonso, David Mackey. Dynamic nutrient acquisition from a hydrated apoplast supports biotrophic proliferation of a bacterial pathogen of maize. Cell Host & Microbe, 2022; 30 (4): 502 DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2022.03.017
April 18, 2022

Episode 479 - Fish that count and Spiders hearing with their webs

Can fish count? What purpose does a stingray have with addition and subtraction? Why are fish and stingrays able to do basic arithmetic without a cerebral cortex? Scientists taught fish to do arithmetic with some help from Bees. What happens with you put a spider web in an anechoic chamber? How do spiders tune their webs to detect sound? Spiders webs act as powerful microphone arrays that are also cable of carrying sound across long distances. Spider webs make powerful microphone arrays that allow spiders to hear great with great fidelity.

  1. V. Schluessel, N. Kreuter, I. M. Gosemann, E. Schmidt. Cichlids and stingrays can add and subtract ‘one’ in the number space from one to fiveScientific Reports, 2022; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-07552-2
  2. Jian Zhou, Junpeng Lai, Gil Menda, Jay A. Stafstrom, Carol I. Miles, Ronald R. Hoy, Ronald N. Miles. Outsourced hearing in an orb-weaving spider that uses its web as an auditory sensorProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2022; 119 (14) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2122789119
April 11, 2022

Episode 478 - Special properties of water from molecular to drinking water to deep into the earth

Water has some pretty amazing properties. We dive into some of the strange things water does from the molecular level all the way to planet scale water flows. We all know H2O but studying the way water molecules move around each other is very difficult to isolate. H2O molecules had to be taken to 0.4 Kelvin and shot with a powerful laser to shed light on the way they shake. The way H2O interacts between molecules by moving, rotating and shaking can help explain some of the weird properties. H2O has weird properties like being at its highest density at 4 degrees. Turning salt water into fresh water often involves a lot of electricity, but a new method using Ionic salts may get by with barely any heat. How can water make its way down towards the core of the earth? Water masqueraded inside minerals to migrate deep down beneath the surface of the earth.

  1. Martina Havenith-Newen, Raffael Schwan, Chen Qu, Devendra Mani, Nitish Pal, Gerhard Schwaab, Lex van der Meer, Britta Redlich, Claude LeForestier, Joel Bowman. Observation of the low frequency spectrum of water dimer as a sensitive test of the water dimer potential and dipole moment surfaces. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/anie.201906048
  2. Hyungmook Kang, David E. Suich, James F. Davies, Aaron D. Wilson, Jeffrey J. Urban, Robert Kostecki. Molecular insight into the lower critical solution temperature transition of aqueous alkyl phosphonium benzene sulfonates. Communications Chemistry, 2019; 2 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s42004-019-0151-2
  3. Jun Tsuchiya, Koichiro Umemoto. First‐Principles Determination of the Dissociation Phase Boundary of Phase H MgSiO 4 H 2. Geophysical Research Letters, 2019; DOI: 10.1029/2019GL083472
April 4, 2022

Episode 477 - Plants reacting and defending themselves

How can plants defend themselves from attack? Animals scatter when they hear an alarm cry or a predator, but how do plants defend themselves? Plants react to danger around them by detecting chemical signals. Plants emit warning through volatile chemicals and others detect these signals to raise their own defences. How do plants detect light and know where to head without eyes? How do the shape of proteins that bend a plant towards like change when exposed to different light?

  1. Haruki Onosato, Genya Fujimoto, Tomota Higami, Takuya Sakamoto, Ayaka Yamada, Takamasa Suzuki, Rika Ozawa, Sachihiro Matsunaga, Motoaki Seki, Minoru Ueda, Kaori Sako, Ivan Galis, Gen-ichiro Arimura. Sustained defense response via volatile signaling and its epigenetic transcriptional regulationPlant Physiology, 2022; DOI: 10.1093/plphys/kiac077
  2. Li, H., Burgie, E.S., Gannam, Z.T.K. et al. Plant phytochrome B is an asymmetric dimer with unique signalling potentialNature, 2022 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04529-z
March 28, 2022

Episode 476 - Capturing interstellar storms and gas

Space isn't 'empty' but is often filled with gas and interstellar wind. Gas flows and moves around our universe forming stars, planets and galaxies, but how does it get there? How can you capture the complex motion of interstellar gas? What connects dragonflies with taking pictures of interstellar gas? Strapping a whole bunch of cameras together can help scientists image the faintest of light. Violent eruptions and messy eating by Neutron stars and black holes can help us understand the way interstellar gas moves in space. When a neutron star devours a planet, the remnants and gas flows can tell us a lot about star formation.

Journal References:

  1. Imad Pasha, Deborah Lokhorst, Pieter G. van Dokkum, Seery Chen, Roberto Abraham, Johnny Greco, Shany Danieli, Tim Miller, Erin Lippitt, Ava Polzin, Zili Shen, Michael A. Keim, Qing Liu, Allison Merritt, Jielai Zhang. A Nascent Tidal Dwarf Galaxy Forming within the Northern H i Streamer of M82. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2021; 923 (2): L21 DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ac3ca6
  2. Qing Liu, Roberto Abraham, Colleen Gilhuly, Pieter van Dokkum, Peter G. Martin, Jiaxuan Li, Johnny P. Greco, Deborah Lokhorst, Seery Chen, Shany Danieli, Michael A. Keim, Allison Merritt, Tim B. Miller, Imad Pasha, Ava Polzin, Zili Shen, Jielai Zhang. A Method to Characterize the Wide-angle Point-Spread Function of Astronomical Images. The Astrophysical Journal, 2022; 925 (2): 219 DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ac32c6
  3. N. Castro Segura, C. Knigge, K. S. Long, D. Altamirano, M. Armas Padilla, C. Bailyn, D. A. H. Buckley, D. J. K. Buisson, J. Casares, P. Charles, J. A. Combi, V. A. Cúneo, N. D. Degenaar, S. del Palacio, M. Díaz Trigo, R. Fender, P. Gandhi, M. Georganti, C. Gutiérrez, J. V. Hernandez Santisteban, F. Jiménez-Ibarra, J. Matthews, M. Méndez, M. Middleton, T. Muñoz-Darias, M. Özbey Arabacı, M. Pahari, L. Rhodes, T. D. Russell, S. Scaringi, J. van den Eijnden, G. Vasilopoulos, F. M. Vincentelli, P. Wiseman. A persistent ultraviolet outflow from an accreting neutron star binary transient. Nature, 2022; 603 (7899): 52 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-04324-2