Listen to the latest science news, with Nick Petrić Howe and Benjamin Thompson.

In this episode:

00:47 Estimating pandemic-associated mortality

This week, a team of researchers working with the World Health Organization have used statistical modelling to estimate the number of excess deaths associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The work estimates that there were almost 15 million deaths either directly or indirectly attributed to the pandemic, almost three times higher than the official toll.

Research article: Msemburi et al.

News and Views: Global estimates of excess deaths from COVID-19

Editorial: Missing data mean we’ll probably never know how many people died of COVID

08:35 Research Highlights

Why dinosaurs' tail clubs may actually have been used to battle rivals, and the ancient images that make up the earliest known narrative scene.

Research Highlight: Dinosaurs bashed each other with built-in tail clubs

Research Highlight: Prehistoric carvings are oldest known story sequence

10:55 Understanding the lack of diversity in UK academia

Stark figures show that the representation of scientists from minority ethnic groups dwindles at each stage of UK academia. To get a sense of the issue and what can be done to tackle it, we spoke to Mahrukh Shameem, a PhD student and an advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion.

News Feature: How UK science is failing Black researchers — in nine stark charts

19:43 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, how the text-generating AI OpenGPT could spell the end for student essays, and what the successful test of NASA’s Orion capsule means for the Artemis programme.

Nature News: AI bot ChatGPT writes smart essays — should professors worry?

Nature News: NASA’s Orion Moon capsule splashes down! Here’s what’s next

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