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The scientist whose hybrid rice helped feed billions

Listen to the latest from the world of science, brought to you by Benjamin Thompson and Nick Petrić Howe.

In this episode:

00:46 Remembering Yuan Longping

Yuan Longping, one of China’s most famous scientists, died in May at the age of 90. Known as the ‘father of hybrid rice’, we reflect on his life and the impact of his research, which helped feed billions of people.

Obituary: Yuan Longping (1930–2021)

09:55 Research Highlights

The ancient and incredibly well-preserved beetle found in dinosaur poo, and a 5,000 year old, less transmissible strain of plague bacteria.

Research Highlight: A piece of Triassic poo yields a beautifully preserved beetle

Research Highlight: A hunter-gather’s bones yield the oldest known strain of plague

12:14 Geothermal power and earthquake aftershocks

In 2019, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake rippled through California, except – according to some researchers – at the site of a geothermal power plant. Now, a paper in Nature tries to understand why.

Research paper: Im et al.

16:47 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the new skull fossils that might expand the human family tree, and a new estimate of the age of an ancient ‘living fossil’.

Nature News: Mysterious skull fossils expand human family tree — but questions remain

Science: This ‘living fossil’ could reach 100 years old

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