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New Scientist Escape Pod
16 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
#15 The unseen world: bats, neutrinos and invisibility cloaks
Shining a light on the invisible forces that surround us, this episode is all about the unseen world. Normally we don’t notice bats flitting above our heads at night, and we certainly can’t hear their ultrasonic squeaks. But the team listens to three incredible recordings of bat sonar that have been converted into sound waves audible to us. They then discuss the elusive neutrino, a subatomic particle which is so desperate to remain unseen it barely interacts with the rest of the world. And the discussion takes a magical twist, as the team explains the real-life technology creating ‘perfect’ invisibility cloaks (just don’t expect to be running around like Harry Potter anytime soon). On the pod - for this final episode of season one of Escape Pod - are Rowan Hooper, Anna Demming and Tim Revell. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts. Special thanks to Hanna Tuulikki for the bat recordings.
14 minutes | Apr 19, 2021
#14 My chemical romance: famous locations in elemental discovery
This episode celebrates some of the world’s most important sites for the discovery of elements. A quarry in the village of Ytterby in Sweden is first up, where almost 10% of naturally occurring elements have been discovered. The team then takes a trip to Strontian in Scotland, the only place in the UK that’s given its name to an element - one which inspired the legendary Strontium Dog in the comic 2000AD. And moving further afield, the team’s trip takes them to a lab in Russia, an element factory on the front line of new discoveries. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Anna Demming and Josh Howgego. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts.
18 minutes | Apr 12, 2021
#13 How we perceive the world
Making sense of the many weird and wonderful interactions that inform our view of the world, this episode is all about perception. The team opens with the incredible noise of a binaural sound, to illustrate the subtle complexity of the way we hear the world around us. They then put perception under the microscope, zooming in at a quantum scale where life becomes nothing more than pixels. And they wrap up with a fascinating discussion about metacognition, or put simply, how much we know about what we know. On the pod are Timothy Revell, Anna Demming and Clare Wilson. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts.
18 minutes | Apr 5, 2021
#12 Unsung heroes of science
Celebrating the forgotten people behind history’s biggest scientific breakthroughs, this episode is an ode to unsung heroes. Starting with the American chemist Alice Ball, the team discusses her groundbreaking work on leprosy in the 20th century. They then remember the German mathematician Emmy Noether whose theorem is so impressive it puts Pythagoras to shame! And last but not least Mary Sherman Morgan gets the spotlight, an American rocket fuel scientist who helped the US enter the space race. On the pod are Timothy Revell, Bethan Ackerley and Anna Demming. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts.
17 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
#11 Scales: from music, to nature to infinity
From music to nature to infinity, this episode is all about scales. The team opens with a keyboard ditty as they explore the science behind musical scales - and why major chords sound happy, while minor chords sound sad. They then find themselves tangled up in spider webs, finding out how various structures at different scales club together to give them their extraordinary strength. And finally, the team stares into infinity, visiting Hilbert’s infinite hotel, a mind-boggling thought-experiment which offers a fun and simple answer to an otherwise complex question - how exactly does infinity work? On the pod are Timothy Revell, Anna Demming and Sam Wong. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts.
16 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
#10 Flow: the science and psychology about being in the zone
Get in the zone and find your zen - this week’s episode is all about flow. It may sound vague, but there’s a lot of fascinating science behind the concept. The team starts by explaining what’s going on in your brain when you find the “sweet spot” in an activity and lose all sense of time. They then explore how elite performers achieve flow in their sport through years of intense practise. And finally, they point out that you don’t actually have to be doing anything at all to get in the flow - there’s always meditation! On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Anna Demming and Graham Lawton. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts.
14 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
#9 The best moons of our solar system: Luna, Europa and Titan
We’re shuttling you off planet for some true escapism this week to visit a few of our team’s favourite moons. Starting close to home, let’s sing the praises of our moon, Luna, which might be boringly inert but is too often taken for granted. Moving further out, to Jupiter, the team explore the thick ice sheets of the smoothest moon in the solar system, Europa. And they wrap up in the orbit of Saturn, with Titan, a peculiar moon which is like a mirror-Earth, and one of the best places in the solar system to search for alien life. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Leah Crane and Timothy Revell. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts.
19 minutes | Mar 9, 2021
#8 Escape from predators and escape from the planet
From beetle explosions to the deep dark depths of the ocean, this episode is all about escape. The team discusses the amazing (and sometimes disgusting) way bombardier beetles escape predators. They explain what it takes for an object to reach escape velocity, celebrating the mathematical mind of Katherine Johnson while they’re at it. And they explore the daunting realms of free-diving, and the lengths people will go to for a bit of peace and quiet. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Anna Demming and Timothy Revell. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts
17 minutes | Mar 2, 2021
#7 Speed: From the quickest animal in the world to the fastest supercomputer
From the quickest animal in the world to the fastest supercomputer, this episode is all about speed. Opening with the cries of the peregrine falcon, the team finds out how the bird has evolved to endure flying at more than 200mph. Then they explain how scientists, starting from Galileo, attempted to measure the speed limit of the universe, the speed of light, and how Einstein understood what it meant. And they explore the mind-blowing capabilities of Fugaku, the fastest supercomputer in the world. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Anna Demming and Timothy Revell. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts
17 minutes | Feb 23, 2021
#6 All about warmth: emotional, physiological and geological
Keeping you cosy this week is an episode all about warmth - emotional, physiological and geological. We have an unexpected start to the show, with bees taking the spotlight, but it turns out these cold-blooded little insects can generate immense warmth when necessary. The team then takes a much bigger view of warmth, discussing the heat of the planet, and of the many uses of geothermal energy. Finally they wrap up by finding out what it takes to make a robot seem warm and friendly. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Anna Demming and Timothy Revell. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts
18 minutes | Feb 16, 2021
#5 Sound: Prepare to feel relaxed, tingly and amazed, in the space of 20 minutes
Prepare to feel relaxed, tingly and amazed all in the space of 20 minutes. This episode is all about sound. We start with the musical tones of an elephant trumpeting, followed by a recording from Cornell University’s Elephant Listening Project, showing how they communicate at an infrasonic frequency, which humans can’t ordinarily detect. The team then attempts to send shivers down your spine by recreating ASMR, explaining why some people enjoy the sound of whispering, rustling crisp packets or apple biting. They also share a range of audio illusions, and close the show with the soothing sounds of white noise, created by Stephane Pigeon from www.mynoise.net. Shepard Tone and Binaural Beats courtesy of Alexander from www.orangefreesounds.com under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Bethan Ackerley and Timothy Revell. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts
18 minutes | Feb 9, 2021
#4 Mass: From lightest creatures on earth, to the heaviest things in the cosmos
From some of the lightest creatures on earth, to the heaviest things in the cosmos, this episode is all about mass. It’s a magical opening to the show as the team discusses a group of insects called fairy wasps which are so light it’s near impossible to weigh them. They then turn to matters of massive proportions, discussing a little thing called dark matter. Finally the team wraps up by looking at the surprising, and slightly hilarious ways that a kilogram is measured. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Anna Demming and Timothy Revell. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts
17 minutes | Feb 2, 2021
#3 Music: the jazz swing of birdsong and the sonification of the orbits of planets
This episode is all about music, so today’s journey of escapism comes complete with odd, relaxing, soothing and interesting sounds to guide you through. The team opens with the sounds of animals, specifically the singing - if you can call it that - of gorillas, and the jazzy birdsong of the thrush. They then treat you to the sounds of data sonification, courtesy of Milton Mermikides, who translates motion into music, like the swinging of a pendulum, the crystallisation of salt, or the orbits of planets. Finally they tackle the small matter of just why exactly it is we humans love music so much. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Bethan Ackerley and Timothy Revell. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts
17 minutes | Jan 26, 2021
#2 All about alliances: human, biological and atomic
The theme of this episode is alliances - human, biological and atomic. We start by celebrating the amazing properties of lichen, the symbiotic relationships it forms, how it shaped the earth and simply how beautiful it is to look at. Then we explore how carbon is able to create such an incredibly diverse range of materials, including soot, diamonds and graphite. We wrap up by delving into the life of renowned Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős, the world’s greatest human alliance maker, who wrote research papers with over 500 mathematicians. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Anna Demming and Timothy Revell. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts
22 minutes | Jan 19, 2021
This is the first in a series of episodes designed to celebrate the beauty of this planet, whisking you away from the woes and hardships of modern life… a covid-free space. We start by discussing the self awareness of dolphins and whales, and the intricacies of their language and vocalisations. Then we marvel at the seemingly impossible abilities of gymnasts and ballerinas, most notably Simone Biles who performed a legendary triple double in 2019. And then we take a look at the Chinese board game Go - a game with more possible moves than there are atoms in the universe. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Anna Demming and Timothy Revell. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts
2 minutes | Jan 12, 2021
Are you tired of hearing about coronavirus? Has lockdown left you worn out? Then perhaps it’s time to escape. Join Rowan Hooper and the team at New Scientist in this covid-free space, as they discuss all that’s right with the world - the stories that remind us of how wonderful this planet really is. Find out more at newscientist.com/podcasts
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