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Language for living

“Just being able to say beautiful words, to put beautiful words together, is a way of moving through time and living your life and holding onto your life more valuably.” Professor David Mason, former Poet Laureate of Colorado, on why poetry is so ubiquitous and important. Episode recorded: September 17, 2018. Interviewer: Dr Andi Horvath. Producer and editor: Chris Hatzis. Co-production: Dr Andi Horvath and Silvi Vann-Wall. Banner image: Taylor Ann Wright.


Why nerd politics is here to stay

Politics in the digital age is increasingly being shaped by tech-savvy activists; the Edward Snowdens and Julian Assanges of the world. But it’s when these ‘nerds’ join with others that true change happens - like Spain’s Indignados movement becoming a force in the country’s mainstream political system. Dr John Postill discusses his new book The Rise of Nerd Politics in this new episode of Eavesdrop on Experts. Episode recorded: September 4, 2018. Interviewer: Steve Grimwade. Producer and...


Why investigative journalism matters more than ever

“If you knock on a door and it doesn’t open, keep knocking. It’s persistence that gets results in journalism.” The Boston Globe’s Editor At Large, Walter V Robinson, was famously immortalised by Michael Keaton in the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight, about his team of investigative reporters that lifted the lid on institutional child sexual abuse in Boston’s Catholic Church. Here he discusses the importance of investigative reporting, and the challenges it faces today. Episode recorded: June...


The breath of life

Pneumonia is the biggest killer of children worldwide. But when it comes to fighting the disease, particularly in remote communities, the key problem is access to medicine and technology. Oxygen, with antibiotics, is crucial to pneumonia treatment, but not every healthcare facility has oxygen available. In fact, some don’t even have electricity. In 2011, a team of physics researchers - including Associate Professor Roger Rassool from the University of Melbourne - collaborated with colleagues...


How is commuting changing us?

In his new book, Transit Life published by MIT Press, Associate Professor David Bissell encourages us to think about how we use our daily commute, and it is shaping our relationships, how we work and how we build our cities. He chats about the joys and pains of commuting to Steve Grimwade. Episode recorded: August 21, 2018 Interviewer: Steve Grimwade Producers: Chris Hatzis, Dr Andi Horvath and Silvi Vann-Wall Audio engineer and editor: Chris Hatzis Banner image: Shutterstock


The quantum sensing revolution

In this bonus episode of Eavesdrop on Experts, our reporter Dr Andi Horvath ventures into the misunderstood world of quantum physics and, specifically, quantum sensing. While the discussion about “spooky” quantum phenomena like Schrödinger’s famous cat is about a hundred years old, there’s a revolution coming in quantum sensing. Quantum sensors exploit of the quantum mechanical behaviour of atoms or ions to measure physical quantities such as frequency, acceleration, rotation rates, electric...


Celebrating synths

Synthesisers are the stars of the Grainger Museum’s latest exhibition, Synthesizers: The Sound of the Future. The exhibition celebrates these democratising instruments, with a particular look at Melbourne’s emerging electronic music scene in the 1960s and ‘70s. Chris Hatzis takes a stroll through the exhibition and chats with curator Heather Gaunt, MESS's director and sound artist Byron Scullin, and artist and composer David Chesworth. Music used in episode: "Kraut Mich Mit Einen...


Why does radio hold a special place in our hearts?

Loneliness and isolation can be a very real issue for many older Australians. Dr Amanda Krause’s research is looking at how listening to the radio can help. Episode recorded: August 3, 2018 Interviewer: Steve Grimwade Producers: Dr Andi Horvath, Chris Hatzis and Silvi Vann-Wall Audio engineer and editor: Chris Hatzis Banner image: Getty Images The survey for Dr Krause’s Radio for Wellbeing research project can be completed online. You can also visit the Community Broadcasting...


Expert Hack - a new podcast from the University of Melbourne

Expert Hack​ is a new podcast from the University of Melbourne about the changing world of work, and how industry experts are finding clever solutions to tricky problems. Learn how experts are preparing for the future and their hacks for thriving in the workplace. Go to unimelb.edu.au/experthack for more information.


Turning science into business

Back in the day, ‘applied life science’ might have referred only to winemaking. Nowadays the massive biotechnology industry is responsible for a vast array of projects that fight diseases, find the functional age of cells, and even create effective alternatives to vaccines. But, as Dr Lynn Johnson Langer warns, many of these exciting new projects will never leave the lab without the right funding and the development of relevant and in-depth business skills. Episode recorded: July 18,...


From "failed musician" to innovative entrepreneur

Associate lecturer Susan de Weger is a French horn player. In fact, she’s a self-confessed “failed musician”, who walked away from music and went on to establish a multi-million dollar IT consulting practice in Europe. But music didn’t walk away from her. Once she returned to Australia, she decided to change her internal narrative and tackle a Performance Master’s degree at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne. Now she teaches music entrepreneurship to a new...


Your online life after death

If Facebook continues growing at its current rate - by 2130 the number of dead users will surpass the living. In fact, the number of the dead on Facebook is already growing fast. By 2012, just eight years after the platform was launched, 30 million users with Facebook accounts had died, and that number has only gone up since. These days, it’s not unusual to see memorial pages on social media - but how is the digital world changing our approach to death? From algorithms that can post tweets...


ENCORE: Unexpected outcome in bagging area

In this encore presentation of Eavesdrop on Experts, environmental psychologist Dr Wouter Poortinga shares how the 5p plastic bag tax in the UK reduced consumption between 70 and 90 percent almost overnight. He discusses how, with a little bit of prompting, habits can change and how we need a plan to stop wasting take-away coffee cups. Episode recorded: 8 February, 2017 Interviewer: Steve Grimwade Producers: Dr Andi Horvath and Chris Hatzis Audio Engineering: Gavin Nebauer Editor: Chris...


Exercising your emotions

Get emotional - it's for your own good. For decades, emotional stability - that is, not being outwardly emotional - has been upheld as the pinnacle of normal functioning. But things are changing, and Dr Peter Koval wants to show everyone why letting your emotions show is the way of the future. Episode recorded: 29 May 2018 Interviewer: Dr Andi Horvath Producers: Dr Andi Horvath, Chris Hatzis and Silvi Vann-Wall Audio engineer and editor: Chris Hatzis Banner image: Emotion/Flickr


Solving our climate history puzzle

Climate scientist and paleoclimatologist Dr Joelle Gergis has spent over a decade painstakingly piecing together Australia’s climate history, using historical records dating back to the First Fleet, natural records held in our trees, corals and ice and computer modelling. As she outlines in her book Sunburnt Country, published by Melbourne University Publishing, Australia’s climate has always been “spectacularly erratic”, but human activity has accelerated these rates of change. As the...


Smashing through science's glass ceiling

Professor Frances Separovic has amassed many ‘firsts’ in her career as a scientist, including being the first female chemist to become a member of the Australian Academy of Science and the first female Head of the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne. Our reporter Dr Andi Horvath sits down for a chat with Frances, where she discusses the road she travelled to reach the peak of her profession, from school in Broken Hill to Deputy Director of the Bio21 Institute. Episode...


The legal rights of rivers

Rivers in New Zealand, Australia, India and Colombia have all been granted legal rights recently. Environmental law expert Dr Erin O’Donnell explains to our reporter Dr Andi Horvath why granting nature legal rights is becoming more accepted. Episode recorded: 23 March 2018 Interviewer: Dr Andi Horvath Producers: Dr Andi Horvath, Chris Hatzis and Silvi Vann-Wall Audio engineer and editor: Chris Hatzis Banner image: The Whanganui River in New Zealand was the first in the world to be...


Sorting fact from fiction in a post-truth world

When social media micro-targeting is shaping political views and ‘alternative facts’ abound, is there any hope for democracy? Cognitive psychologist Professor Stephan Lewandowsky explains why we still believe something to be true, even after we have been told it is not, and why we are all so willing to believe what we read - including fake news. In our post-truth era he suggests we all need to become a little more cynical, to ward off misinformation and guard against its potential to...


The secret history of stone

Cultural geographer Tim Edensor is passionate about place. His career has taken him from the Taj Mahal to industrial ruins in England's north, and now to Melbourne and its stone buildings. Wandering is the best way to get to know a place, says Dr Tim Edensor, and as a cultural geographer who has explored everything from what Christmas lights reveal about British class identity to Melbourne's old stone buildings, he should know. Episode recorded: March 1 2018 Interviewer: Steve...


Seeing like an anthropologist

Anthropologist Monica Minnegal has spent her career observing "the extraordinary things that people do", with much of her work dedicated to learning more about the Kubo people in Papua New Guinea. A community in the last uncontrolled part of the country, the Kubo are now encountering the West through mining companies and navigating the many cultural and social changes that brings. Episode recorded: February 23, 2018 Interviewer: Steve Grimwade Producers: Dr Andi Horvath, Chris Hatzis and...