50 episodes

Each week we talk to academic experts around the world to help unpack the context behind the headlines – and hear from scholars carrying out brand new research about how the world works. A podcast from The Conversation.
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The Conversation Weekly The Conversation

    • News
    • 4.8 • 27 Ratings

Each week we talk to academic experts around the world to help unpack the context behind the headlines – and hear from scholars carrying out brand new research about how the world works. A podcast from The Conversation.
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    The science of sugar – why we're hardwired to love it and what eating too much does to your brain

    The science of sugar – why we're hardwired to love it and what eating too much does to your brain

    What are the evolutionary origins of sugar cravings? What makes something taste sweet? And what does too much sugar do to the brain? This week we talk to three experts and go on a deep dive into the science of sugar.
    Featuring Stephen Wooding, assistant professor of anthropology and heritage studies at the University of California, Merced; Lina Begdache, assistant professor of nutrition at the Binghamton University, State University of New York and Kristine Nolin, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Richmond.
    And after the Canadian government agreed in principle to pay CAN$40bn (US$32bn) over discrimination against First Nations children by the country’s child welfare system, we talk to Anne Levesque, assistant professor at the faculty of law at the University of Ottawa in Canada, about the long fight for justice. (From 29m20)
    Plus, Veronika Meduna, science and health editor at The Conversation in New Zealand, recommends analysis of the recent Tonga volcano eruption. (From 45m45)
    The Conversation Weekly is produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. You can sign up to The Conversation’s free daily email here. Full credits for this episode available here.
    Further reading:
    Read more from The Conversation's series on sugar's effects on human health and cultureMaking sugar, making ‘coolies’: Chinese laborers toiled alongside Black workers on 19th-century Louisiana plantations, by Moon-Ho Jung, University of WashingtonAs a lawyer who’s helped fight for the rights of First Nations children, here’s what you need to know about the $40B child welfare agreements, by Anne Levesque, University of OttawaWhy the volcanic eruption in Tonga was so violent, and what to expect next, by Shane Cronin, University of AucklandThe Tonga volcanic eruption has revealed the vulnerabilities in our global telecommunication system, by Dale Dominey-Howes, University of Sydney
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    • 49 min
    Crypto countries: Nigeria and El Salvador's opposing journeys into digital currencies

    Crypto countries: Nigeria and El Salvador's opposing journeys into digital currencies

    We dive into the world of crypto and digital currencies in this episode to take a close look at two countries approaching them in very different ways. In 2021, El Salvador made the cryptocurrency bitcoin legal tender, while Nigeria launched its own central bank digital currency. Experts talk us through why they've taken such radically different paths.
    Featuring Iwa Salami, Reader (Associate Professor) in Law at the University of East London in the UK and Erica Pimentel, Assistant Professor at the Smith School of Business at Queen's University, Ontario in Canada.
    And if the latest Matrix film has left you wondering whether we are really living in a simulation, we talk to Benjamin Curtis, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Ethics at the Nottingham Trent University in the UK, on the long history of that idea. (At 30m20)
    Plus, Rob Reddick, COVID-19 editor at The Conversation in the UK, picks out some recent coverage of the wave of omicron cases sweeping the world. (At 42m10)
    The Conversation Weekly is produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. You can sign up to The Conversation’s free daily email here. Full credits for this episode available here. And a transcript is available here.
    Further reading:
    Nigeria’s digital currency: what the eNaira is for and why it’s not perfect, by Iwa Salami, University of East LondonAfter a big year for cryptocurrencies, what’s on the horizon in 2022?, by Erica Pimentel, Bertrand Malsch, and Nathaniel Loh, Queen's University, OntarioFree Guy’s philosophy: could we just be lines of code in a grand simulation, by Benjamin Curtis, Nottingham Trent UniversityWhat are the symptoms of omicron?, by Tim Spector, King's College LondonWhy does omicron appear to cause less severe disease than previous variants?, by Paul Hunter, University of East Anglia
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    • 44 min
    2022 science preview: mRNA vaccines, asteroid missions and collaborative robots

    2022 science preview: mRNA vaccines, asteroid missions and collaborative robots

    From new mRNA vaccines, to space mission and developments in robotic automation, in this episode we talk to three experts about some of the scientific advances they’re watching out for in 2022.
    Featuring Deborah Fuller, professor of microbiology at the School of Medicine at University of Washington in the US and an expert on mRNA and DNA vaccines; Monica Grady, professor of planetary and space sciences at The Open University in the UK; Teresa Vidal-Calleja, associate professor at the Robotics Institute at University of Technology Sydney.
    We also speak about what 2022 holds in store for global inequality with economist Carlos Gradín, research fellow at United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research in Helsinki in Finland.
    And Naomi Schalit, senior politics and society editor at The Conversation in Boston in the US, recommends some reading to mark the one year anniversary of the attack on the Capitol in Washington D.C. 
    The Conversation Weekly is produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. You can sign up to The Conversation’s free daily email here. Full credits for this episode available here.
    Further reading:
    Material from asteroid Ryugu starts to give up secrets of early Solar System, by Monica Grady, The Open UniversityGlobal inequality may be falling, but the gap between haves and have-nots is growing, by Carlos Gradín, United Nations University & colleaguesThe ‘sore loser effect’: Rejecting election results can destabilize democracy and drive terrorism, by James Piazza, Penn StateAmerican support for conspiracy theories and armed rebellion isn’t new – we just didn’t believe it before the Capitol insurrection, by Amanda J. Crawford, University of Connecticut
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    • 46 min
    How the arts can help us come back together again

    How the arts can help us come back together again

    In this episode we bring you three stories from Australia and the UK exploring the role of art in helping people deal with the challenges life throws at them. 
    We talk to Cherine Fahd, associate professor at the School of Design at the University of Technology Sydney about Being Together: Parramatta Yearbook, a photography project in a suburb of Sydney bringing people back together again as COVID-19 restrictions lift.
    Angelina Hurley, PhD candidate at Griffith University in Brisbane tell us how art is used to process the trauma of colonisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia, and about the work of her father, the late artist Ron Hurley. And Kirsty Sedgman, a lecturer in theatre at the University of Bristol in England, explains why the second world war led to the birth of public funding for arts buildings in Britain – and how the Bristol Old Vic theatre became the first recipient.
    And Gregory Rayko, international editor for The Conversation in Paris, France give us his recommended reading.
    This episode of the The Conversation Weekly is supported by the UK/Australia Season Patrons Board, the British Council and the Australian Government as part of the UK/Australia Season, which centres on the theme Who Are We Now? The season's programme reflects on the two countries’ shared history, explores their current relationship, and imagines their future together.
    This episode was produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with reporting by Rhianna Patrick and Olivia Rosenman and sound design by Eloise Stevens. You can sign up to The Conversation’s free daily email here. Full credits for this episode available here.
    Further reading
    ‘Art is our voice’: why the government needs to support Indigenous arts, not just sport, in the pandemic, by Angelina Hurley, Griffith UniversityYearning for touch — a photo essay, by Cherine Fahd, University of Technology SydneyArts rescue package: by all means protect Britain’s ‘jewels’ – but don’t forget the rest of the crown, by Kirsty Sedgman, University of BristolShould we be alarmed by the sound of boots on the Russia-Ukraine border?, by Christine Dugoin-Clément, IAE Paris – Sorbonne Business School (in French)France-Algeria: the diplomatic impasse, by Luis Martinez, Sciences Po (in French)
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    • 52 min
    Peering into the history of the universe: astronomers explain why the James Webb Space Telescope is such a big deal

    Peering into the history of the universe: astronomers explain why the James Webb Space Telescope is such a big deal

    With a mirror six and half metres in diameter, a sun shield the size of a tennis court and an instrument compartment bigger than a phone booth, the James Webb Space Telescope is enormous. After years of delays, it's now set for launch on December 22. We speak to two astronomers about the telescope and the questions they hope it will answer about the beginning of the universe and the conditions on exoplanets orbiting far-away stars. 
    Featuring Martin Barstow, professor of astrophysics and space science at the University of Leicester in the UK and chair of the Space Telescope Science Institute Council; and Marcia Rieke, Regents professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona in the US and principal investigator on the near-infrared camera onboard the James Webb Space Telescope.
    In our second story, Edwin Kwong, a research fellow at the University of Melbourne in Australia, explains his recent research into the tactics used by the food industry to boost sales of ultra-processed foods in middle-income countries. 
    And Luthfi Dzulfikar, an editor for The Conversation in Jakarta, Indonesia recommends some analysis on the recent volcanic eruption on the island of Java.
    The Conversation Weekly is produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. You can sign up to The Conversation’s free daily email here. Full credits for this episode available here.
    Further reading:
    James Webb Space Telescope: An astronomer on the team explains how to send a giant telescope to space – and whyJames Webb Space Telescope: what will happen after its launch? (in French)How big companies are targeting middle income countries to boost ultra-processed food salesMount Semeru erupts: the history of its eruption (in Bahasa Indonesia)How religion influences Indonesian workers to seek work-life balance
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    • 45 min
    Planet pharma: what the industry got out of COVID

    Planet pharma: what the industry got out of COVID

    After nearly two years of COVID, how is the pharmaceutical industry faring? In this episode, we explore where drug companies were before the arrival of COVID and how they performed financially during the pandemic. And we hear about the ongoing tensions between profits and equitable access to vaccines.
    Featuring, Ray Moynihan, assistant professor at the Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare at Bond University in Australia; Jérôme Caby, professor of corporate finance at Sorbonne Business School in Paris, France; Ana Santos Rutschman, assistant professor of law at Saint Louis University in the US; and Nicole Hassoun, professor of philosophy at Binghamton University, State University of New York in the US.
    And Ozayr Patel, digital editor at The Conversation in Johannesburg, South Africa, recommends some reading on the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
    The Conversation Weekly is produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. You can sign up to The Conversation’s free daily email here. Full credits for this episode available here.
    Further reading:
    COVID vaccines offer the pharma industry a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reset its reputation. But it’s after decades of big profits and scandals, by Ray Moynihan, Bond UniversityWhy Moderna won’t share rights to the COVID-19 vaccine with the government that paid for its development, by Ana Santos Rutschman, Saint Louis UniversityThe US drug industry used to oppose patents – what changed? by Joseph M. Gabriel, Florida State UniversityThe hunt for coronavirus variants: how the new one was found and what we know so far, by a panel of experts in South AfricaOmicron is the new COVID kid on the block: five steps to avoid, ten to take immediately, by Shabir A. Madhi, University of the Witwatersrand
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    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
27 Ratings

27 Ratings

MonstaDave ,

News, but not as you know it

This is a refreshingly different to relaying global affairs and research news. Top academics are interviewed each week by editors who bring depth and perspective. In a world of misinformation, this is vital listening. Subscribe!

Abby Beall ,

Amazing!

Such an informative and fascinating podcast. Absolutely love it!

Mm160324 ,

Accessible introduction

Accessible introduction to current academic discussions

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