After decades of trying, scientists coax plastic particles into a diamond-like structure

Coaxing tiny colloid particles into a diamond structure, and manipulating cell death and homeostasis in neurodegenerative disease.


In this episode:


00:45 Creating colloidal crystals

For decades, researchers have attempted to create crystals with a diamond-like structure using tiny colloid particles. Now, a team thinks they’ve cracked it, which could open the door for new optical technologies. Research Article: He et al.


07:50 Coronapod

Rapid antigen tests for coronavirus have been described in some circles as ‘game changers’ in the fight against COVID-19. We discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and how they could fit into an overall testing strategy. News Feature: Fast coronavirus tests: what they can and can’t do; If you are involved in a clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine or treatment, please fill in our survey.


23:52 Research Highlights

Climate change causes greening in the Arctic, and the peptide that gives the Giant Stinging Tree its sting. Research Highlight: A frozen land goes green as Earth warms; Research Highlight: How the giant stinging tree of Australia can inflict months of agony


26:04 Controlling cellular death

In neurodegenerative disease, cell death can be prevented, however this can lead to the accumulation of incorrectly folded proteins. Now researchers have found targets that can be used to both stop cell death and protein aggregation. Research Article: Xu et al.


32:20 Briefing Chat

We discuss some of the latest stories highlighted in the Nature Briefing. This week we talk about the increasing complexity of scientific writing, and uncovering the real origins of charcoal. Nature Index: Science is getting harder to read; Nature News: Microscopy illuminates charcoal’s sketchy origins


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