A powerful radio burst from a magnetic star

Astronomers pin down the likely origins of mysterious fast radio bursts, and the latest on what the US election means for science.


In this episode:


00:46 The origins of mysterious fast radio bursts

The detection of a brief but enormously-powerful radio burst originating from within the Milky Way could help researchers answer one of astronomy’s biggest mysteries.

Research article: Bochenek et al.; News: Astronomers spot first fast radio burst in the Milky Way


07:59 Coronapod

At the start of the pandemic, there were fears that schools could become hotspots for infections. We discuss the evidence suggesting that this is unlikely to be the case, and the rates of infection in children of different ages.

News: Why schools probably aren’t COVID hotspots


18:34 Research Highlights

Octopuses taste with touch, and a tool to watch dangerously-reactive metals grow.

Research Highlight: How octopuses taste with their arms — all eight of them; Research Highlight: How to make violently reactive metals and watch them grow


21:28 An update on the US election

Although the winner of this year’s US election is unclear, we discuss the current situation and what it might mean for science.


News: Scientists aghast as hopes for landslide Biden election victory vanish


28:58 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, ancient genomes reveal the migration of man’s best friend, and a new polio vaccine looks set to receive emergency approval.

News: Ancient dog DNA reveals 11,000 years of canine evolution; News: New polio vaccine poised to get emergency WHO approval


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