Don’t think too deeply about the origin of life – it may have started in puddles

How water chemistry is shifting researchers' thoughts on where life might have arisen, and a new model to tackle climate change equitably and economically.


In this episode:


00:46 A shallow start to life on Earth?

It’s long been thought that life on Earth first appeared in the oceans. However, the chemical complexities involved in creating biopolymers in water has led some scientists to speculate that shallow pools on land were actually the most likely location for early life.

News Feature: How the first life on Earth survived its biggest threat — water


07:44 Coronapod

The COVID-19 pandemic has massively shifted the scientific landscape, changing research and funding priorities across the world. While this shift was necessary for the development of things like vaccines, there are concerns that the ‘covidization’ of research could have long-term impacts on other areas of research.

News: Scientists fear that ‘covidization’ is distorting research


20:45 Research Highlights

The Hayabusa2 mission successfully delivers a tiny cargo of asteroid material back to Earth, and a team in China claims to have made the first definitive demonstration of computational ‘quantum advantage’.

Nature News: Physicists in China challenge Google’s ‘quantum advantage’


22:38 Calculating carbon

Limiting carbon emissions is essential to tackling climate change. However, working out how to do this in a way that is fair to nations worldwide is notoriously difficult. Now, researchers have developed a model that gives some surprising insights in how to equitably limit carbon.

Research Article: Bauer et al.

News and Views: Trade-offs for equitable climate policy assessed


29:08 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, bioluminescent Australian animals, and the collapse of the Arecibo telescope.

ABC News: Biofluorescent Australian mammals and marsupials take scientists by surprise in accidental discovery

Nature News: Gut-wrenching footage documents Arecibo telescope’s collapse


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