The Conversation Weekly

The Conversation Weekly

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.

Episodes

January 20, 2022 49 min

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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 st...

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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 C...

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Justices on the US Supreme Court are considering two challenges to abortion restrictions that could have wide-reaching implications for access to abortion across the country. In this episode, we look at what's at stake, and how else abortion laws are changing around the world.

Featuring Amanda Jean Stevenson, assistant professor of sociology, University of Colorado Boulder; Sydney Calkin, lecturer in political geography, Queen M...

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What did the Glasgow COP26 climate change summit actually achieve? In this episode, we're joined by Jack Marley, energy and environment editor for The Conversation in the UK, as we speak to researchers from around the world to get their views on the negotiations and what needs to happen now. 


Featuring Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate and Development at the Independent University Bangladesh; Richard...

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We speak to a climate scientist who just updated a clock he created that counts down the seconds until the world reaches 1.5°C of global warming. And we hear from experts about the latest research evidence on climate anxiety – what it is, how common it is around the world and what to do about it.


Featuring Damon Matthews, professor and Concordia University research chair in climate science and sustainability at Concordia University...

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A year since war broke out in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, conflict in the country is intensifying. In this episode, we talk to two experts about the worsening humanitarian situation in Tigray and the international community’s response to the conflict.


Featuring Emnet Negash, a PhD candidate at Ghent University in Belgium who is tracking the food situation in Tigray, and Mukesh Kapila, professor emeritus of global health and human...

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Some economists have long argued that to really save the planet – and ourselves – from the climate crisis, we need a fundamental overhaul of the way our economies work. In this episode, we explore the ideas of the degrowth movement and their calls for a contraction in the world’s consumption of energy and resources. We also compare degrowth to other post-growth proposals for governments to reduce their fixation on economic growth.


F...

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As military tensions run high once again across the Taiwan Strait, we talk to two experts about China’s longer-term reunification strategy – and what that means for Taiwan. Featuring Wen-Ti Sung, sessional lecturer in Taiwan Studies at the Australian National University and Olivia Cheung, research fellow at the SOAS China Institute at SOAS University of London. 

 

Plus, we’re joined by Vinita Srivastava, host of the Don’t Call Me Res...

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Six prize announcements later, 12 men and one woman from 11 countries are now settling down to their new lives as Nobel laureates. In this episode, we delve into the scientific discoveries around touch and organic catalysts awarded the 2021 prizes in medicine and chemistry. And we talk to a friend and collaborator of Abdulrazak Gurnah, the Tanzanian writer awarded the Nobel prize for literature.


Featuring Kate Poole, associate profe...

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What’s happening in our brains to create consciousness? In this episode we hear from two scientists uncovering clues to where dopamine fits into this mystery. It could help the recovery of people with severe brain injuries. 


Featuring Emmanual Stamatakis, who leads the cognition and consciousness imaging group at the Division of Anaesthesia, University of Cambridge in the UK and Leandro Sanz, a medical doctor and PhD candidate in me...

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After Germany’s recent election, coalition talks are now underway to determine the composition of the next government and who will succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor. We speak to three experts about what the results tell us about German voters’ priorities – and dig into the history of the Greens, now one of the kingmakers in coalition negotiations.


Featuring Jasmin Riedl, professor of political science at Bundeswehr University Mun...

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For decades, scientists have warned that unchecked global warming could bring climate extremes such as severe droughts, flash floods and rising sea levels. We talk to three climate change experts on how predictions of a changing world are holding up against the reality we’re living through. 


Featuring Christopher White, head of the Centre for Water, Environment, Sustainability and Public Health at the University of Strathclyde in th...

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Ahead of Canadian elections on September 20, two experts in Canadian politics profile the current prime minister, Justin Trudeau. They explore why he's so much more popular abroad than at home and assess what his real foreign policy record has been beyond being a celebrity.


Featuring Alex Marland, professor of political science at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Jeremy Wildeman, Research Fellow at the Human Rights Resear...

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From earthquakes, to hurricanes, disease and drug violence, the Caribbean island of Haiti has faced a decade of cascading crises. In this week’s episode of The Conversation Weekly we talk to experts about what Haiti’s history tells us about its political fragility, and what that means for the country’s ability to recover from disasters.


Featuring disaster management expert Louise Comfort, professor of public and international affair...

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As many children head back to school, in this episode we look at what really works to help stop COVID-19 transmission in the classroom. And for those countries where masks remain mandatory in schools, we hear some tips for teachers and students on how to communicate.


Featuring, Brandon Guthrie, an associate professor of global health an epidemiology at the University of Washington in the US and Laura Abou Haidar, a professor of ling...

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August 26, 2021 40 min

Twenty years after they were ousted from Kabul, the Taliban are now back in control of most of Afghanistan. In this episode, two Afghan experts trace the origins of the Taliban back to the late 1970s, and explain what's happened to the group over the past two decades.


Featuring Ali A Olomi, assistant professor of history at Penn State Abington in the US and Niamatullah Ibrahimi, lecturer in international relations at La Trobe Un...

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