The Science Briefing

The Science Briefing

This is The Science Briefing, a podcast about the science of everything and your new go-to podcast for your snapshot of science news. Hosted by Dr Sophie Calabretto and featuring journalists from Cosmos Magazine, The Science Briefing brings

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Season 1


The observatory buried kilometres under ice in Antarctica

Buried under more than 2 kilometres of ice in Antarctica is an observatory unlike any other in the world. It’s called the Icecube Neutrino Observatory – and no, it’s not measuring melting icecaps or numbers of Antarctic wildlife. In fact, this observatory is making major discoveries about celestial bodies and space objects in our solar system and far beyond that. Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler about what makes the Icecube Neutrino Observatory so unique, what it’s looking for and what space discoveries are on the horizon.

The observatory buried kilometres under ice in Antarctica

Buried under more than 2 kilometres of ice in Antarctica is an observatory unlike any other in the world. It’s called the Icecube Neutrino Observatory – and no, it’s not measuring melting icecaps or numbers of Antarctic wildlife. In fact, this observatory is making major discoveries about celestial bodies and space objects in our solar system and far beyond that. Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler about what makes the Icecube Neutrino Observatory so unique, what it’s looking for and what space discoveries are on the horizon.

09:44

EP36 - S1

5 Dec 22

Could new scientific evidence release Kathleen Folbigg from prison?

Kathleen Folbigg has been in prison for nearly 20 years, charged with murdering 3 of her children and one charge of manslaughter.  But while she’s been behind bars, genetics research has made exponential leaps. And new evidence uncovered by two Danish researchers could prove critical to her case.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about the Kathleen Folbigg case, what these new findings are and if this game-changing science could rewrite the Folbigg story.

Could new scientific evidence release Kathleen Folbigg from prison?

Kathleen Folbigg has been in prison for nearly 20 years, charged with murdering 3 of her children and one charge of manslaughter.  But while she’s been behind bars, genetics research has made exponential leaps. And new evidence uncovered by two Danish researchers could prove critical to her case.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about the Kathleen Folbigg case, what these new findings are and if this game-changing science could rewrite the Folbigg story.

19:33

EP35 - S1

30 Nov 22

Don’t diss the purple tomato: addressing the rumours around GMO

Genetically modified organisms – or GMO – often get a bad rap with claims they’re bad for your health and can cause things like allergies. But science says otherwise, proving many of these claims are untrue. So, what are the benefits of GMO? Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler runs Dr Sophie Calabretto through the GMO foods already available on some supermarket shelves and why we genetically modify food in the first place.

Don’t diss the purple tomato: addressing the rumours around GMO

Genetically modified organisms – or GMO – often get a bad rap with claims they’re bad for your health and can cause things like allergies. But science says otherwise, proving many of these claims are untrue. So, what are the benefits of GMO? Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler runs Dr Sophie Calabretto through the GMO foods already available on some supermarket shelves and why we genetically modify food in the first place.

11:41

EP34 - S1

28 Nov 22

Jazz! Is there a science to music?

Science and music aren’t typically thought of as two peas in a pod, but the two worlds overlap more than you think.  There’s plenty of scientific research on music – like how certain chords are favoured over others in some cultures and why people might prefer death metal over pop music.   A recent research project on arguably one of the most complex music genres – jazz – has unlocked some answers as to why it sounds and feels so different to other types of music. Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin about the science of jazz and take a closer and more scientific look at one of the genre’s defining features – swing. 

Jazz! Is there a science to music?

Science and music aren’t typically thought of as two peas in a pod, but the two worlds overlap more than you think.  There’s plenty of scientific research on music – like how certain chords are favoured over others in some cultures and why people might prefer death metal over pop music.   A recent research project on arguably one of the most complex music genres – jazz – has unlocked some answers as to why it sounds and feels so different to other types of music. Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin about the science of jazz and take a closer and more scientific look at one of the genre’s defining features – swing. 

12:58

EP33 - S1

23 Nov 22

Renewable energy and waste: what do we do with old renewables tech?

The world is slowly cleaning up electricity by rolling out more solar panels, wind turbines and batteries.  While the transition to greener energy is critical, these technologies don’t last forever.   And the waste from dead renewables tech is piling up fast.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about how we recycle old renewables technology and how the transition to cleaner energy is in desperate need of a green waste solution.

Renewable energy and waste: what do we do with old renewables tech?

The world is slowly cleaning up electricity by rolling out more solar panels, wind turbines and batteries.  While the transition to greener energy is critical, these technologies don’t last forever.   And the waste from dead renewables tech is piling up fast.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about how we recycle old renewables technology and how the transition to cleaner energy is in desperate need of a green waste solution.

12:10

EP32 - S1

21 Nov 22

How do we count greenhouse gas emissions?

Emissions reductions are back in the global spotlight with the latest Conference of the Parties - COP27 - underway in Egypt.   Every year the climate summit brings the world together to set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  But when everyone heads back home, how do countries actually report their performance?  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about how we count greenhouse gas emissions and how some are wildly underreporting what they emit.

How do we count greenhouse gas emissions?

Emissions reductions are back in the global spotlight with the latest Conference of the Parties - COP27 - underway in Egypt.   Every year the climate summit brings the world together to set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  But when everyone heads back home, how do countries actually report their performance?  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about how we count greenhouse gas emissions and how some are wildly underreporting what they emit.

12:49

EP31 - S1

16 Nov 22

What will you do with your body when you die?

Death is a hard enough to think about, let alone thinking about the toll your body has on the environment when you die.  Most of the methods we use to dispose of bodies – like cremation and burials – are incredibly carbon unfriendly.   But the number of environmentally friendly alternatives is on the rise.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin about how your body could be harming the planet and some of the greener – yet slightly queasier – methods for end of life.

What will you do with your body when you die?

Death is a hard enough to think about, let alone thinking about the toll your body has on the environment when you die.  Most of the methods we use to dispose of bodies – like cremation and burials – are incredibly carbon unfriendly.   But the number of environmentally friendly alternatives is on the rise.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin about how your body could be harming the planet and some of the greener – yet slightly queasier – methods for end of life.

09:56

EP30 - S1

14 Nov 22

The Artemis program: NASA wants to form a colony on the moon

NASA is heading back to the moon in the hopes of setting up a colony there.   But this endeavour – called Artemis - has been plagued by delays and the spacecraft remains firmly on the ground.   So, what’s going on? Why hasn’t it launched yet?  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about the Artemis missions, what's gone wrong so far and when we’re likely to a moon colony become reality.

The Artemis program: NASA wants to form a colony on the moon

NASA is heading back to the moon in the hopes of setting up a colony there.   But this endeavour – called Artemis - has been plagued by delays and the spacecraft remains firmly on the ground.   So, what’s going on? Why hasn’t it launched yet?  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about the Artemis missions, what's gone wrong so far and when we’re likely to a moon colony become reality.

11:04

EP29 - S1

9 Nov 22

Spiders and fake news: why our 8-legged friends get a bad rap

A lot of people are freaked out by spiders – no explanation needed – but fear often breeds contempt and spiders get an especially bad rap.   Misinformation about spiders – or spider ‘fake news’ - spreads like wildfire online.  So how much of what we read about our crawly friends is actually true? Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler about where spider misinformation comes from and how many news stories are spun like a web of lies.

Spiders and fake news: why our 8-legged friends get a bad rap

A lot of people are freaked out by spiders – no explanation needed – but fear often breeds contempt and spiders get an especially bad rap.   Misinformation about spiders – or spider ‘fake news’ - spreads like wildfire online.  So how much of what we read about our crawly friends is actually true? Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler about where spider misinformation comes from and how many news stories are spun like a web of lies.

11:21

EP28 - S1

7 Nov 22

A covid update: what do we know about the new subvariants?

The relaxing of rules around mask-wearing, venue sign-ins and vaccination requirements has got a lot of people thinking we’re out of the woods when it comes to covid.   But the arrival of new covid subvariants shows that's not the case.  Dubbed the ‘scrabble’ variants - named after high scoring letters from the boardgame like B, Q and X - they’re spreading fast across Europe, Asia, the US and have now landed on Australian shores.   Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius gives Dr Sophie Calabretto a covid update and looks at whether Australia is equipped to deal with another potential outbreak.

A covid update: what do we know about the new subvariants?

The relaxing of rules around mask-wearing, venue sign-ins and vaccination requirements has got a lot of people thinking we’re out of the woods when it comes to covid.   But the arrival of new covid subvariants shows that's not the case.  Dubbed the ‘scrabble’ variants - named after high scoring letters from the boardgame like B, Q and X - they’re spreading fast across Europe, Asia, the US and have now landed on Australian shores.   Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius gives Dr Sophie Calabretto a covid update and looks at whether Australia is equipped to deal with another potential outbreak.

13:16

EP27 - S1

2 Nov 22

Putting the mystery drug to the pill test

A mysterious substance was brought to a pill testing clinic in Canberra, and they couldn’t figure out what it was. Pill testing is for people who choose to take illegal drugs and want a better idea of what they’re taking, but it’s not always easy to figure that out.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about where this mystery substance could have come from and the lengthy chemical processes to uncover what it is.

Putting the mystery drug to the pill test

A mysterious substance was brought to a pill testing clinic in Canberra, and they couldn’t figure out what it was. Pill testing is for people who choose to take illegal drugs and want a better idea of what they’re taking, but it’s not always easy to figure that out.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about where this mystery substance could have come from and the lengthy chemical processes to uncover what it is.

12:17

EP26 - S1

31 Oct 22

Malaria: how far away are we from global eradication?

In many parts of the world, a mosquito bite can be deadly, as it could be carrying malaria.  But mosquitoes are just vessels, it’s actually an infectious parasite that’s at the root of transmitting the disease to humans.  While treatments and prevention programs have eradicated the disease in many countries around the world, malaria is still an incredibly scary reality for many.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler about the defences we have against malaria and whether or not we can globally eradicate the disease. 

Malaria: how far away are we from global eradication?

In many parts of the world, a mosquito bite can be deadly, as it could be carrying malaria.  But mosquitoes are just vessels, it’s actually an infectious parasite that’s at the root of transmitting the disease to humans.  While treatments and prevention programs have eradicated the disease in many countries around the world, malaria is still an incredibly scary reality for many.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler about the defences we have against malaria and whether or not we can globally eradicate the disease. 

12:21

EP25 - S1

26 Oct 22

Stumbling over dinosaur fossils in outback Queensland

How many more fossils are we yet to discover?  You might not be aware, but there’s a stretch of land in outback Queensland that’s a hotspot for some really old dinosaur remains. And it’s keeping paleontologists busy!  Every living thing that’s ever existed could leave a fossil and advances in technology mean we’re starting to discover a whole lot more of them.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin about uncovering fossils in 2022 and the farmers, to this day, stumbling over dinosaur bones in outback Australia. 

Stumbling over dinosaur fossils in outback Queensland

How many more fossils are we yet to discover?  You might not be aware, but there’s a stretch of land in outback Queensland that’s a hotspot for some really old dinosaur remains. And it’s keeping paleontologists busy!  Every living thing that’s ever existed could leave a fossil and advances in technology mean we’re starting to discover a whole lot more of them.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin about uncovering fossils in 2022 and the farmers, to this day, stumbling over dinosaur bones in outback Australia. 

13:20

EP24 - S1

24 Oct 22

Sunscreen testing: getting sunburnt for science

Keen to spend a few hours in a spa bath and catch some ultraviolet rays?  No, we're not talking about a spa day... but rather, volunteering to test a new sunscreen mixture to see if it’s ready to hit the supermarket shelves.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about sunscreen testing and why getting sunburnt for science is the best way to ensure it'll keep us safe from the sun.

Sunscreen testing: getting sunburnt for science

Keen to spend a few hours in a spa bath and catch some ultraviolet rays?  No, we're not talking about a spa day... but rather, volunteering to test a new sunscreen mixture to see if it’s ready to hit the supermarket shelves.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about sunscreen testing and why getting sunburnt for science is the best way to ensure it'll keep us safe from the sun.

13:02

EP23 - S1

19 Oct 22

Scientific fraud: the allegations against a pivotal Alzheimer’s study

Nearly two decades of Alzheimer’s research could be based on a paper that lied about its findings.   A six-month investigation doubts the legitimacy of a pivotal Alzheimer’s study and has called into question the process of making sure published science is credible and reliable.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Clare Kenyon about how serious these allegations are and exactly where in the scientific process things may have fallen apart.

Scientific fraud: the allegations against a pivotal Alzheimer’s study

Nearly two decades of Alzheimer’s research could be based on a paper that lied about its findings.   A six-month investigation doubts the legitimacy of a pivotal Alzheimer’s study and has called into question the process of making sure published science is credible and reliable.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Clare Kenyon about how serious these allegations are and exactly where in the scientific process things may have fallen apart.

13:51

EP22 - S1

17 Oct 22

Dog noses: sniffing out diseases and stress in humans

They're not just furry and lovable companions, but dogs have an incredible sense of smell – far superior to our own.   Incredibly, dogs can smell in parts per trillion and even sniff out a single dirty sock in a pile of 2 million clean ones.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Imma Perfetto about the power in dogs nostrils and how they can potentially smell when you’re sick or even stressed.

Dog noses: sniffing out diseases and stress in humans

They're not just furry and lovable companions, but dogs have an incredible sense of smell – far superior to our own.   Incredibly, dogs can smell in parts per trillion and even sniff out a single dirty sock in a pile of 2 million clean ones.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Imma Perfetto about the power in dogs nostrils and how they can potentially smell when you’re sick or even stressed.

13:37

EP21 - S1

12 Oct 22

Seafood fraud: why you can’t always trust what’s on your plate

One in five fish caught every year is fished illegally or comes from unregulated sources.   If those numbers are hard to swallow, determining just how much illicit seafood enters Australian markets and winds up on your plate is even harder.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about tackling seafood fraud and why there’s no guarantee that what’s on your plate is what the label says it is.

Seafood fraud: why you can’t always trust what’s on your plate

One in five fish caught every year is fished illegally or comes from unregulated sources.   If those numbers are hard to swallow, determining just how much illicit seafood enters Australian markets and winds up on your plate is even harder.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about tackling seafood fraud and why there’s no guarantee that what’s on your plate is what the label says it is.

12:16

EP20 - S1

10 Oct 22

Clinical trials: would you be a scientific guinea pig?

For every drug or treatment out there, someone has had it tested on them to get it approved.  So what actually happens in clinical trials? Some clinical drug trials can go on for months with participants receiving hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. But they don’t all end well.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler about why clinical trials are still the best process we have, how they can go wrong and why so many drugs fail to make it to market.

Clinical trials: would you be a scientific guinea pig?

For every drug or treatment out there, someone has had it tested on them to get it approved.  So what actually happens in clinical trials? Some clinical drug trials can go on for months with participants receiving hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. But they don’t all end well.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler about why clinical trials are still the best process we have, how they can go wrong and why so many drugs fail to make it to market.

10:25

EP19 - S1

5 Oct 22

The Sun is getting angry and we’re not sure why!

The Sun is spitting out more and more solar flares and it’s starting to get dangerous.   Satellites fell from the sky in February after flares caused a geomagnetic storm and last month, they knocked out communications technology in Africa and the Middle East for over an hour.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin about the hazards of increasing solar flares and why the Sun’s temper is flaring up.

The Sun is getting angry and we’re not sure why!

The Sun is spitting out more and more solar flares and it’s starting to get dangerous.   Satellites fell from the sky in February after flares caused a geomagnetic storm and last month, they knocked out communications technology in Africa and the Middle East for over an hour.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin about the hazards of increasing solar flares and why the Sun’s temper is flaring up.

11:51

EP18 - S1

3 Oct 22

Can a machine be an artist?

An artificial intelligence program recently won a prestigious art prize and people were not happy.  AI are typically thought of as virtual assistants, like Siri and Alexa, or for doing basic admin jobs and feeding your social media algorithms.   But some are programming AI to get creative and churn out artworks – some of the results rival human art, others not so much.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin about whether a machine can be an artist and the shortfalls of promising a Picasso from a program.

Can a machine be an artist?

An artificial intelligence program recently won a prestigious art prize and people were not happy.  AI are typically thought of as virtual assistants, like Siri and Alexa, or for doing basic admin jobs and feeding your social media algorithms.   But some are programming AI to get creative and churn out artworks – some of the results rival human art, others not so much.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin about whether a machine can be an artist and the shortfalls of promising a Picasso from a program.

13:22

EP17 - S1

28 Sep 22

Is polio back? Here's what you need to know

Poliovirus has turned up in wastewater in the United States, the UK and Israel.  Authorities are concerned as the incredibly debilitating disease was thought to be fully eradicated in these countries.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about the re-emergence of polio, how it’s back and if we’re in store for an Australian outbreak.

Is polio back? Here's what you need to know

Poliovirus has turned up in wastewater in the United States, the UK and Israel.  Authorities are concerned as the incredibly debilitating disease was thought to be fully eradicated in these countries.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about the re-emergence of polio, how it’s back and if we’re in store for an Australian outbreak.

11:57

EP16 - S1

26 Sep 22

The Ig Nobel Prize: the Nobel Prize’s alter ego

If the Nobel Prize is the grandparent prestigious prizes in science, the Ig Nobel prize is the funny uncle.  Every year the Ig Nobel’s recognise the whacky and wonderful science you might not hear of anywhere else. Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler about the kooky Ig Nobel award ceremony and which scientists came out on top in 2022.

The Ig Nobel Prize: the Nobel Prize’s alter ego

If the Nobel Prize is the grandparent prestigious prizes in science, the Ig Nobel prize is the funny uncle.  Every year the Ig Nobel’s recognise the whacky and wonderful science you might not hear of anywhere else. Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler about the kooky Ig Nobel award ceremony and which scientists came out on top in 2022.

11:42

EP15 - S1

21 Sep 22

What to do with PFAS: the ‘forever chemicals’

PFAS – often called the ‘forever chemicals’ - refers to a range of incredibly durable and long-lasting chemicals.  They’re found in a bunch of everyday products including tupperware, cookware and fabrics.   Concern is growing over how widespread they’ve become and the impact they could have on the environment and human health.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about the far reach of PFAS and methods to potentially break down these ‘forever chemicals’. 

What to do with PFAS: the ‘forever chemicals’

PFAS – often called the ‘forever chemicals’ - refers to a range of incredibly durable and long-lasting chemicals.  They’re found in a bunch of everyday products including tupperware, cookware and fabrics.   Concern is growing over how widespread they’ve become and the impact they could have on the environment and human health.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about the far reach of PFAS and methods to potentially break down these ‘forever chemicals’. 

12:09

EP14 - S1

19 Sep 22

NASA is crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid

NASA is about to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid at a speed of 24,000 kilometres per hour – and yes, they’re doing it on purpose.  They’re attempting to nudge an asteroid called Dimorphos out of its orbit.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about how they’re planning to do this and whether Dimorphos poses any threat to planet Earth and humankind.

NASA is crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid

NASA is about to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid at a speed of 24,000 kilometres per hour – and yes, they’re doing it on purpose.  They’re attempting to nudge an asteroid called Dimorphos out of its orbit.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about how they’re planning to do this and whether Dimorphos poses any threat to planet Earth and humankind.

09:54

EP13 - S1

14 Sep 22

Renewable energy certificates: why they are falling short

Planet Earth could be 2.7 degrees warmer by the end of the century according to some estimates. This is leagues above the globally agreed Paris target of well below 2 degrees Celsius or preferably 1.5. Many big emitters are saying we can reach this target through something called renewable energy certificates, but recent research has found these certificates have low integrity across the board. Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian how renewable energy certificates work and why in some cases they aren’t reducing emissions at all.

Renewable energy certificates: why they are falling short

Planet Earth could be 2.7 degrees warmer by the end of the century according to some estimates. This is leagues above the globally agreed Paris target of well below 2 degrees Celsius or preferably 1.5. Many big emitters are saying we can reach this target through something called renewable energy certificates, but recent research has found these certificates have low integrity across the board. Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian how renewable energy certificates work and why in some cases they aren’t reducing emissions at all.

12:02

EP12 - S1

12 Sep 22

How to save frogs from the amphibian apocalypse

Frogs are wacky and wonderful creatures, and sadly, they’re in serious crisis.   A killer disease is decimating frog populations across the globe with scientists racing to find ways to save them.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Imma Perfetto about the amphibian apocalypse and some of the efforts underway to stop it.

How to save frogs from the amphibian apocalypse

Frogs are wacky and wonderful creatures, and sadly, they’re in serious crisis.   A killer disease is decimating frog populations across the globe with scientists racing to find ways to save them.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Imma Perfetto about the amphibian apocalypse and some of the efforts underway to stop it.

13:46

EP11 - S1

7 Sep 22

T-rex: the science behind the deadliest bite

Small arms, big head and even sharper teeth: the trifecta of what made the t-rex one of the most iconic dinosaurs to roam planet Earth.   Scientists continue to uncover more about why the t-rex was such a force of nature and what made its bite so powerful.   Dr Sophie Calabretto gushes over her love for dinosaurs with Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin talking the science behind the t-rex bite and what other dinosaur discoveries are still on the horizon. 

T-rex: the science behind the deadliest bite

Small arms, big head and even sharper teeth: the trifecta of what made the t-rex one of the most iconic dinosaurs to roam planet Earth.   Scientists continue to uncover more about why the t-rex was such a force of nature and what made its bite so powerful.   Dr Sophie Calabretto gushes over her love for dinosaurs with Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin talking the science behind the t-rex bite and what other dinosaur discoveries are still on the horizon. 

11:56

EP10 - S1

5 Sep 22

The threatened species list: what does it do for animals and plants?

Australia has some of the most critically endangered species on the planet, many vulnerable to a blink extinction.  The latest State of the Environment Report says Australian biodiversity is decreasing while threatened species are on the rise.  Ahead of Threatened Species Day, Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about how animals and plants make it onto the threatened species list and why, in some cases, they receive little protection once they’re listed.

The threatened species list: what does it do for animals and plants?

Australia has some of the most critically endangered species on the planet, many vulnerable to a blink extinction.  The latest State of the Environment Report says Australian biodiversity is decreasing while threatened species are on the rise.  Ahead of Threatened Species Day, Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about how animals and plants make it onto the threatened species list and why, in some cases, they receive little protection once they’re listed.

11:45

EP09 - S1

31 Aug 22

Why Australia finally ended the mad cow blood ban

With flu cases through the roof, unprecedented flooding, and no end to Covid in sight; 2022 saw blood donations take a nasty nosedive.   In response - Lifeblood – the branch of the Australian Red Cross – has continued to call for more donors, but also requested a decades old ban limiting a specific group of people from donating blood be lifted.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine science journalist Jacinta Bowler about the origins of the mad cow disease and the blood ban that stopped those exposed to the virus from donating blood in Australia for 22 years. 

Why Australia finally ended the mad cow blood ban

With flu cases through the roof, unprecedented flooding, and no end to Covid in sight; 2022 saw blood donations take a nasty nosedive.   In response - Lifeblood – the branch of the Australian Red Cross – has continued to call for more donors, but also requested a decades old ban limiting a specific group of people from donating blood be lifted.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine science journalist Jacinta Bowler about the origins of the mad cow disease and the blood ban that stopped those exposed to the virus from donating blood in Australia for 22 years. 

10:54

EP08 - S1

29 Aug 22

The double-edged sword of making robots more human

A robot at a chess tournament in Russia broke a young boy’s finger earlier this year. The incident has triggered online debate with swarms of commenters humanising the robot, some saying it had motive and was out to get the boy for cheating. It also reignited a conversation about the lengths to which we, as humans, breathe life into machines. Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Petra Stock about how we perceive robots and the double-edged sword of making them more human.

The double-edged sword of making robots more human

A robot at a chess tournament in Russia broke a young boy’s finger earlier this year. The incident has triggered online debate with swarms of commenters humanising the robot, some saying it had motive and was out to get the boy for cheating. It also reignited a conversation about the lengths to which we, as humans, breathe life into machines. Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Petra Stock about how we perceive robots and the double-edged sword of making them more human.

14:38

EP07 - S1

24 Aug 22

What are the odds you'll be hit by falling space junk?

Two incidents of falling space junk have been recorded in the last two months – one on a farm in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains and another just metres from villages in South East Asia.   While chances you’ll be hit by falling space junk were thought to be astronomically low - new estimates say the risks are much higher and they’re only getting worse.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about the odds you, or someone you know, will be hit by falling space junk and who is responsible for the damage caused.

What are the odds you'll be hit by falling space junk?

Two incidents of falling space junk have been recorded in the last two months – one on a farm in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains and another just metres from villages in South East Asia.   While chances you’ll be hit by falling space junk were thought to be astronomically low - new estimates say the risks are much higher and they’re only getting worse.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about the odds you, or someone you know, will be hit by falling space junk and who is responsible for the damage caused.

14:54

EP06 - S1

22 Aug 22

Are Australia’s coal companies underreporting their methane emissions?

Australia got one step closer to passing its first ever bill on climate change this August, with an emissions reduction target of 43% by 2030 front and centre.  But, while politicians and experts discuss how we’ll meet this target, a controversial Australian coal mine continues to pump huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler about just how potent methane is as a greenhouse gas and the concerns major coal companies could be underreporting their emissions and holding us back from reaching this target.

Are Australia’s coal companies underreporting their methane emissions?

Australia got one step closer to passing its first ever bill on climate change this August, with an emissions reduction target of 43% by 2030 front and centre.  But, while politicians and experts discuss how we’ll meet this target, a controversial Australian coal mine continues to pump huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Jacinta Bowler about just how potent methane is as a greenhouse gas and the concerns major coal companies could be underreporting their emissions and holding us back from reaching this target.

13:02

EP05 - S1

17 Aug 22

Rabies: the virus with a near 100% fatality rate

Rabies is one of the most lethal viral infections on the planet and when symptoms start presenting it’s unfortunately too late.   Australia is rabies free with only 2 confirmed human deaths from the virus, both from last century. But for many countries across Asia and Africa it's still a very real and deadly threat.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Imma Perfetto about the defences we have against rabies and a critical new finding that could boost protection for those with daily exposure to the virus.

Rabies: the virus with a near 100% fatality rate

Rabies is one of the most lethal viral infections on the planet and when symptoms start presenting it’s unfortunately too late.   Australia is rabies free with only 2 confirmed human deaths from the virus, both from last century. But for many countries across Asia and Africa it's still a very real and deadly threat.   Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Imma Perfetto about the defences we have against rabies and a critical new finding that could boost protection for those with daily exposure to the virus.

12:12

EP04 - S1

15 Aug 22

How to stop the Murray-Darling Basin from running dry

Last week, the Murray-Darling Basin was back in the headlines. A new report was released stressing the basin is unlikely to meet a major environmental target for South Australia. It has reignited concerns about water extraction in the basin and how we need to balance farming with the hundreds of species that call the basin home. Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about the critical findings in this report, why this target is crucial and how just out of reach these targets really are.

How to stop the Murray-Darling Basin from running dry

Last week, the Murray-Darling Basin was back in the headlines. A new report was released stressing the basin is unlikely to meet a major environmental target for South Australia. It has reignited concerns about water extraction in the basin and how we need to balance farming with the hundreds of species that call the basin home. Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Matthew Agius about the critical findings in this report, why this target is crucial and how just out of reach these targets really are.

15:12

EP03 - S1

10 Aug 22

Could plastic eating 'superworms' help solve our waste problem?

Our planet is drowning in plastic. It’s in our oceans, overflowing in landfill and even making its way into our bodies in the form of microplastics.   To address the plastic crisis, some scientists are getting creative in the lab. One research group has identified a species that will happily eat plastic and break it down – they’re calling them superworms.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about the species that will happily munch on a plastic snack and exactly how this will help address our global plastic problem. 

Could plastic eating 'superworms' help solve our waste problem?

Our planet is drowning in plastic. It’s in our oceans, overflowing in landfill and even making its way into our bodies in the form of microplastics.   To address the plastic crisis, some scientists are getting creative in the lab. One research group has identified a species that will happily eat plastic and break it down – they’re calling them superworms.  Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Ellen Phiddian about the species that will happily munch on a plastic snack and exactly how this will help address our global plastic problem. 

09:22

EP02 - S1

8 Aug 22

The James Webb Space Telescope: Exploring the universe like never before

The world was dazzled by the first images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope released in July – giving us a stunning and deeper look into our universe than we’ve ever had before.   But these images are only the beginning; data is pouring out of the telescope and could potentially answer some of our biggest questions about the origins of the universe.  In the first episode of The Science Briefing, host Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin about what these first images tell us and how the race is on to make the next major space discovery. 

The James Webb Space Telescope: Exploring the universe like never before

The world was dazzled by the first images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope released in July – giving us a stunning and deeper look into our universe than we’ve ever had before.   But these images are only the beginning; data is pouring out of the telescope and could potentially answer some of our biggest questions about the origins of the universe.  In the first episode of The Science Briefing, host Dr Sophie Calabretto talks to Cosmos Magazine journalist Evrim Yazgin about what these first images tell us and how the race is on to make the next major space discovery. 

12:01

EP01 - S1

3 Aug 22

Introducing The Science Briefing

The Science Briefing is a brand new podcast about the science of everything and your go-to podcast for your snapshot of science news. Hosted by Dr Sophie Calabretto and featuring journalists from Cosmos Magazine, The Science Briefing brings you the latest research in technology, health, climate, physics, artificial intelligence, space and much more. New episodes every Tuesday and Thursday. Drops August 4. 

Introducing The Science Briefing

The Science Briefing is a brand new podcast about the science of everything and your go-to podcast for your snapshot of science news. Hosted by Dr Sophie Calabretto and featuring journalists from Cosmos Magazine, The Science Briefing brings you the latest research in technology, health, climate, physics, artificial intelligence, space and much more. New episodes every Tuesday and Thursday. Drops August 4. 

01:09

0

28 Jul 22

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