The Morning News for Science Students

By Annika Dokter As a life sciences student, I struggle to keep up with science news. With a lot of generalizing and provoking popular science news like ‘All people who drink black coffee are psychopaths’, it is a challenge to find good science news on my level.
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Of course, there are plenty of journals I could sit down with and read, but this is not what I am looking for. I want a quick overview that I can read on the subway on my way to a lecture. Something that spikes my interest in science, rather than dulls it by requiring too much concentration because of its complexity. A couple of months ago, I found it. I don’t even have to sit down and read it; I can do groceries, bike to VU or cook while simply listening to it. Plus: it does not only educate me on the life sciences, but on other topics from astronomy to quantum physics.

The Nature Podcast.

The 20-minute episodes cover a wide range of features from that weeks edition of Nature, going into more detail in one or two topics. The research covered comes directly from the source; often, the researchers themselves are interviewed. 
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Most importantly, it allows me to keep up with other disciplines, and get inspiration in my own. Topics are introduced well by covering the aspects crucial for understanding the (often complex) new finding. This makes anything from atomic espionage to the placental microbiome easy to understand. Apart from educating me on the topics covered, there are some other interesting aspects about this podcast. A lot can be learned from listening to the researchers themselves, and how they talk about their own research and explain its relevance.
It does not only educate me on the life sciences, but on other topics from astronomy to quantum physics.
What may be even more interesting is listening to a specialist on the topic covered that did not contribute to the research. This happens almost every episode. Both their praise and criticism can be compelling to listen to. Quick warning before you start listening – the goofy, witty humor took some getting used to for me, but even if that doesn’t suit you, it is definitely still worth listening.  The Nature Podcast is able to fascinate, educate and inspire. Although not all topics are covered in-depth, it gives you an overview of the most thought-provoking articles published in Nature that week.  
About the Author Annika Dokter is a Biomedical Sciences MSc student at the VU, specializing in infectious disease and immunology.

One thought on “The Morning News for Science Students

  1. I read the Nature Briefing precisely for the same reasons you mention, so I will definitely check out the podcast! I like the idea of doing groceries and getting science updates 🙂