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Science Podcasts

A fresh new perspective on innovations coming out of Asia to solve the environmental problems we face. Listen now and become a part of the solution to create a Sustainable Asia.

A fresh new perspective on innovations coming out of Asia to solve the environmental problems we face. Listen now and become a part of the solution to create a Sustainable Asia.


Hong Kong


A fresh new perspective on innovations coming out of Asia to solve the environmental problems we face. Listen now and become a part of the solution to create a Sustainable Asia.




S8E10: The Origins of the Coronavirus Pandemic

We speak with HKUMed Dr. Tommy Lam to learn the science behind how the coronavirus emerged from animal populations and can’t be man-made, why the pangolin could be an intermediary host, and whether we can be sure that the virus originated in Wuhan China. Guests: Dr. Tommy Lam, School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong Further Listening and Reading: Fight COVID19 with HKU website Dr. Lam Research Dr. Lam Research linking pangolins to coronavirus Channelnewsasia Video on How...


S8E9: Can Buddhism Help us During Coronavirus?

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we are spending a lot of time at home. While some see this as an opportunity for quality time with their loved ones, it can also pose more chances for arguments and quarrels. So we reached out to Dr. George Lee, a clinical psychologist who focuses on families and couples...who is also getting his PhD at HKU’s Buddhist Studies Program. Guests: Dr. George Lee, Lecturer, Center of Buddhist Studies, The University of Hong Kong Further Listening and...


S8E8: Coronavirus Cases are Dropping - Should HK Reopen the Economy?

Hong Kong’s economy is contracting for the first time since the 2009 financial crisis. We talk to economist Dr. Heiwai Tang from HKU about how the Hong Kong government can support small businesses and low income citizens during COVID19… and is it time for Hong Kong to start reopening the economy now that new cases are dropping? Guests: Professor Heiwai Tang, Faculty of Business and Economics, The University of Hong Kong Further Listening and Reading: Fight COVID19 with HKU website Dr....


S8E7: Luxury Seafood Trade during Coronavirus Pandemic

A story about how our behaviour during COVID19 affecting ocean wildlife. Luxury seafood tourism in Hong Kong and China has halted under lockdown. While good for endangered reef fish in Indonesia in the short-term, we may be losing a leading sustainable fishing company for the long-term. Dr. Yvonne Sadovy of HKU tells the story. Guests: Dr. Yvonne Sadovy, honorary professor of Biology, The University of Hong Kong Further Listening and Reading: Fight COVID19 with HKU website RTHK TV...


S8E6: Loneliness and the Elderly during Coronavirus

Elderly people are getting the short end of the stick during this coronavirus pandemic. Because they have a higher risk of complications under COVID-19, they are being asked to socially isolate for up to months on end. While this may be saving their lives it also could be risking their mental wellbeing... Guests: Dr. Tatia Lee, Head of the Department of Psychology and Professor of Neuropsychology, The University of Hong Kong. Further Listening and Reading: Fight COVID19 with HKU...


S8E5: Coronavirus: Online learning with Documentarian Ruby Yang

Life online during coronavirus social distancing…has lost its luster. So why not learn something new during this COVID19 pandemic...We talk to Ruby Yang who teaches documentary filmmaking at HKU. We laugh and learn about how famous directors approach a documentary, where you can take a course online to make your first ever documentary…and how maybe...this might help with your online teaching and conference calls! Guests: Ruby Yang, Hung Leung Hau Ling Distinguished Fellow in Humanities at...


S8E4: Coronavirus: Symptoms and Reinfection Risk

Clinical Professor John Nicholls from the Department of Pathology at HKU Medicine responds to questions from #askHKUMed with the latest coronavirus research: -Can people that test positive for COVID-19 become reinfected? -What parts of the body are affected by the coronavirus? -What antiviral drugs have had the best clinical effects? The #askHKUMed initiative from LKS Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong takes questions from around the world. Guests: Professor John...


S7E4: Will coronavirus change the fate of pangolins in China?

Pangolins do not survive well in captivity. In fact, when seized by border authorities, their rescue often turns into a death sentence. But when a local NGO in China tried to save a handful of these seized pangolins by releasing them back into the wild, it stirred up a storm of controversy. Why is saving the pangolins such a thorny issue? Will the Chinese government’s recent ban on the trade and consumption of wildlife meat – a response to the coronavirus outbreak – do more to help these...


S8E3: The Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine

The novel coronavirus has spread faster than any epidemic in recent memory. It’s called the “stealth virus” for a reason: patients are infectious even before they have symptoms. That means fully eradicating COVID19 could hinge on the development of a vaccine - which may be more than a year away. Today, we are going to talk about why a vaccine could be a long term solution, what types of vaccines are under development, and the progress The University of Hong Kong is making to create a novel...


S8E2: Coronavirus: Men vs Women

There is a lot of discussion these days about how the novel coronavirus is dividing out between the sexes. Men are dying from the virus at a much higher rate. Yet women represent 70% of global health workers, and are at greater risk of contracting this disease while working on the front lines. How are we as a society managing these gender differences during this COVID19 crisis? Is the burden of elderly and childcare being shared equally between men and women? And what is the impact on the...


S8E1: Coronavirus: Epidemics 101

The novel coronavirus has hit the world like a bombshell. Many of us are quarantined and frankly pretty nervous....But one of our best strategies to deal with this pandemic is to try to understand why COVID-19 happened..and maybe how we can prevent it in the future. In this episode, we speak with Professor Thomas Abraham who helps teach the MOOC "Epidemics 1 & 2" at the University of Hong Kong, about viruses and infectious diseases. Guests: Thomas Abraham, The University of Hong...


S8E1: COVID19 With HKU

The novel coronavirus COVID19 pandemic has hit the world like a bombshell. But it's not the first coronavirus to hit Asia. In 2003, the SARS coronavirus brought Hong Kong to a standstill, but medical and research centers like The University of Hong Kong (HKU) led the efforts to bring the deadly epidemic to an end. Now they are leading the charge to fight COVID19. Ten episodes walk you through the leading research coming out of HKU to make sense of this global pandemic. Music: San Diego...


S7E3: The Pangolin Reports - Vietnam, Malaysia

Vietnam is the world’s second largest destination for the illegal trade in pangolins after China. The Southeast Asian country is also a major transit hub for trafficking of the endangered mammal into China. And yet, there is very little awareness of this issue within Vietnam, and despite numerous seizures of pangolins and pangolin parts, there are few prosecutions. In Malaysia too, loopholes in wildlife protection laws have allowed a thriving online marketplace in exotic pets to develop –...


Update on Coronavirus and China's Wildlife Trade Ban

Before releasing the final two episodes of The Pangolin Reports, Marcy and Bonnie take a brief look at China's coronavirus outbreak that kicked off just as we started releasing this podcast series - an epidemic that has completely changed the face of China's wildlife trade. Hosts: Marcy Trent Long and Bonnie Au INTRO/OUTRO Music: Alex Mauboussin Send us a note on twitter @SustainableAsia or email us


S7E2: The Pangolin Reports - Myanmar, Nepal, Indonesia

How illegal pangolin trafficking is encouraging criminal activity in Asia Pangolins have been around for over 80 million years. Yet China’s demand is pushing them to the edge of extinction…How are these pangolins being trafficked from their natural habitats in Africa and Asia into China? We interview journalists from Myanmar, Nepal, and Indonesia: they explain why this trafficking is damaging the social fabric of their countries. Guests: Jiaming Xu, Chinese Investigative Journalist Tin...


S7E1: The Pangolin Reports - China

Why are pangolins so sought after in China? Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world, in large part due to demand from Chinese consumers. Scientists are pointing to these peculiar creatures as a possible source of the coronavirus outbreak in China, where a temporary ban on all wildlife trade is now in force. Could this mean fresh hope for pangolins? Why are they so sought-after? And why, despite laws preventing their trade, have they been hunted to the point of...


S6E2: China’s Polar Frontiers: The Arctic

Last year, China published its Arctic Policy white paper, positioning itself as a stakeholder in Arctic governance and making waves internationally as countries tried to understand China’s intentions. Why is China so interested in the Arctic region? And how do the impact of warmer temperatures and climate change shift China’s priorities in the North Pole? From Belt and Road initiatives to bans on fishing, China performs a delicate balancing act working with the sovereign nations of the...


S6E1: China’s Polar Frontiers: Antarctica

The Antarctic landscape has been changing drastically with warming temperatures, and with the changing geopolitical tensions in the world, China has become a big player on discussions about the use of Antarctica's resources. Why is China so interested in this icy expanse in the South? And how is China positioning itself on conservation issues in Antarctica in the face of climate change? Guests: Dr Liu Nengye, University of Adelaide Dr Cassandra Brooks, University of Colorado Boulder Dr...


S5E4: Mining the Deep: Is the International Seabed Authority up to the task?

Not just anyone can dig up the ocean floor, you would first have to make an agreement with the International Seabed Authority. As it turns out, 21 countries have contracts now and are preparing to mine the seabed. But is the world ready for that? Is the ISA up to the task? Now that we know what deep sea mining is and what risks are involved, we decide why deep sea mining should or should not go ahead in 2020. Guests: Gerard Barron, DeepGreen Dr Gregory Stone, DeepGreen Dr David Santillo,...


S5E3: Mining the Deep: The world of nodule treasures

Why are companies so eager to start harvesting metal rich nodules from the ocean floor? In Episode 3 we are following Deep Green, a company founded by former Nautilus management. This company is eager to start harvesting nodules in the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific. Could this be a more sustainable way of getting minerals? Guests: Gerard Barron, Deep Green Dr Gregory Stone, Deep Green Dr David Santillo, Greenpeace Matthew Gianni, Deep Sea Conservation Coalition Dr Chong...