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The University of Liverpool Podcast

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In depth conversations that explore cutting edge research and analysis from the University of Liverpool. From cancer smelling machines, to nano-medicine, to the Beatles, this podcast explores the frontiers of science and culture.

In depth conversations that explore cutting edge research and analysis from the University of Liverpool. From cancer smelling machines, to nano-medicine, to the Beatles, this podcast explores the frontiers of science and culture.


United Kingdom


In depth conversations that explore cutting edge research and analysis from the University of Liverpool. From cancer smelling machines, to nano-medicine, to the Beatles, this podcast explores the frontiers of science and culture.




#046 3D printing muscle and bone

There is a tremendous amount of hype about the potential of 3D printing. The technology is already able to produce customized, one-of-a-kind prosthetic limbs, or artificial hips for patients. These devices are designed specifically to fit each individual’s unique anatomy. On today’s podcast, we’re going to take a leap into the not-so-distant future of 3D printing. A place where limbs are not so much 3d printed as grown. And the components are not plastic and metal but flesh and blood. Dr...


#045 Replay - Halloween as therapy

At this time of year we flock to horror films and prepare ghoulish costumes - but why do we do this? For children the answer is easy: sweet treats. For adults, the attraction to frightening things is a bit more complicated. One in six people in Great Britain experience anxiety or depression each week. Though many struggle with inner demons, they are also attracted to the macabre and the terrifying. It seems like a paradox but Dr Peter Kinderman says taking part in Halloween traditions can be...


#044 What the Irish referendum tells us about fake news

Professor Louise Kenny knew she would find herself embedded in a heated debate when she joined the campaign to repeal Ireland's eighth amendment. After all, the change to the Irish constitution would end the country's near-total ban on abortion. What was surprising however was the degree to which fake facts, false stories and foreign opinions infiltrated the discussion. It is increasingly clear there was an organized effort by foreign parties to influence the outcome of a democratic process....


#43: The bright side of ancient Egypt's ‘dark age’

For many, ancient Egypt conjures up images of the Great Pyramids of Giza or the splendours of Tutankhamun’s tomb. A series of eras between those two well-known chapters in Egypt’s history are known as the intermediate periods. Historians have long referred to this time as a dark age, but recent scholarship is challenging that idea. Dr Glenn Godenho is a Senior Lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Liverpool. His research focuses on this 120-year period following the collapse of the...


#042 The struggle to balance work and non-work roles

Many modern couples begin their lives together expecting to share work and non-work roles equitably. But soon after children enter the picture, a mix of unequal workplace policies and differing cultural expectations for each partner challenges that egalitarian impulse. Eventually, many couples find the division between work and non-work roles becomes increasingly unbalanced as their family grows. Dr Laura Radcliffe researches and lectures on managing non-work roles and identities. Dr...


#041 How to overcome decision inertia

On 3 July 2018, Thai rescuers safely extracted the last of 12 boys and their football coach from deep inside a flooded cave. The rescue mission was complex, dangerous and had to be devised and executed quickly. For Professor Laurence Alison, this makes the rescue a fascinating case study in overcoming decision inertia. Decision inertia is the psychological process during crises that freezes decision making. It happens when a decision maker struggles to commit to a choice, when all options...


#040 Click Farms and Digital Slavery

Nearly 5 million people in the UK are now self-employed. Technology has made it easier than ever to open a business or offer your services to others willing to pay but this shift towards gig employment concerns many analysts including Dr Ming Lim. Dr Lim is an Associate Professor in Marketing and Management, University of Liverpool. She argues that many of the folks we see, tapping away at computers at off hours in coffee shops are actually working for click-farms and the work they do, is...


#039 Rebroadcast: A History of Slimming

The hit program Love Island came under a lot of pressure after it aired an ad for Skinny Sprinkles. The diet product is aimed at helping people become slim and as such, it is one small part of a giant weight loss market estimated to be worth 66 billion dollars in the US alone. Europe isn’t too far behind that at 44 billion. It is big business and yet surprisingly, its origins can be traced to a time when food was scarce. This is a rebroadcast of our interview with Myriam Wilks-Heeg history...


#038 Antibiotic resistance and farms: Are we reaping what we’ve sown?

In the battle against the growing problem of antibiotic resistance one industry, in particular, is coming under a lot of pressure. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 80% of medically important antibiotics are used in the animal sector. Most of these medicines are used on healthy animals. Unfortunately, cutting down on veterinary medicines is not a simple thing to do. And even if we do, it’s not clear how much of a difference it would make on its own. Dr Jonathan...


#037 How to Predict a Volcanic Eruption?

Scientists are getting quite good at predicting where and when lava will erupt around the Kilauea volcano, and that is a good thing for the residents of the island of Hawaii. Kilauea has been very active for the past several months. Indeed, in just the past 7 days, residents in the area around Kilauea have experienced more than 900 earthquakes. For the most part, these have been very minor tremors, often only showing up on seismographs. The quakes are caused by magma deep inside the volcano...


#036 Rebroadcast: Is it really mental ‘illness’?

Revisiting the discussion with Dr Peter Kinderman, professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool and Vice President of the BPS, on the use of the term ‘illness’ in relation to mental health. Dr Kinderman says things are changing and, he believes, improving. We respond to life’s stressors in different ways and the treatment he prescribes is for all of us to take greater social responsibility to address the situation rather than reaching for medication.


#035 The not-so paleo diet

The Paleo Diet is one of the most popular diets in the UK, the US and across the developed world. The basic idea behind the so-called ‘caveman’ diet is to eat what Paleolithic humans ate. According to Paleo diet advocates, this is supposed to mean staying away from things like grains, legumes and certain vegetables. Yet, according to Dr Ceren Kabukcu, an archaeology fellow at the University of Liverpool, the Paleo Diet doesn't have a much in common with what humans actually ate during the...


#034 Jackie Bell Has What It Takes

It’s easy to see why theoretical particle physicist, athlete, and a certified space junkie, Dr Jackie Bell, was selected for the BBC2 programme "Astronaut: Do You Have What It Takes." Astronaut and former Commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield and his colleagues put exceptional applicants through a series of challenges to see if they have the mental, physical and emotional capacity to become an astronaut. Jackie's journey - from an 8-year old in Liverpool watching Red...


#033 Darwin's Robots

Researchers are designing robots with artificial intelligence that evolve on their own. The programmer sets a goal to be accomplished and then, generation after generation, successful traits are passed on to the next generation. The result is AI that evolves at an astonishing rate to complete the complex task or goal, without the guidance of a programmer. The process is called Neuro-evolution and University of Liverpool PhD student James Butterworth is conducting research into applying...


#032 Extreme Decision Making

Major events, such as a terrorist attack or a disaster, are a crucible for emergency services. Immediately, police, paramedics, and firefighters are forced to make split decisions under extreme stress and often with very little information. To make matters worse, these scenarios are frequently unique, so decision makers have little past experience to fall back on. This makes it a fascinating focus for research into decision making and planning. Dr Sara Waring is a lecturer in Forensic...


#31 Who is being left out online?

As the world around us grows increasingly digital, education, shopping, and social service programmes go online, who is being left out? Who is being excluded? Simeon Yates is the Director of the Centre for Digital Humanities and Social Science at the University of Liverpool. He recently led a major initiative to develop a new digital culture policy in the UK. This highlighted one of his chief concerns about digital policy: the serious and growing problem of digital exclusion.


#30 Can Donald Trump deliver a great speech?

Donald Trump's detractors criticize the president's speaking style for its seeming lack of coherence, simplicity and its appeal to raw emotions. Yet to his supporters, Trump's extemporaneous style communicates an honest and genuine connection with his audience. It is a style that stands in stark contrast to the rehearsed, formally structured speeches of his political opponents. Dr Karl Simms is a Reader in English at the University of Liverpool and an expert on rhetoric. In this episode, he...


#029 Twitter predicts the future

Can Twitter predict the future? Costas Milas says the social media platform is very good at predicting financial future financial events, such as the cost of borrowing. In some cases, it performs better than the most sophisticated financial tools. Costas Milas is a professor of Finance at the University of Liverpool. His latest research extends beyond Twitter to look at internet search trends. He says the simple searches people type into Google just might tell us a lot about how something as...


#028 Do we know the right dose of medicine for children?

Paediatric medicine faces a troubling challenge. For good ethical reasons, scientists have long been reluctant to experiment on children. As a result, many of the oldest and most common medications used in pediatric medicine have not been tested on the youngest patients. This means there is very little good quality research on efficacy or proper dosage. This concerns Dr Dan Hawcutt. He’s a Senior Lecturer Paediatric Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Liverpool who wants to further...


#027 Extreme weather: an intimate history

The study of extreme weather usually involves lots of numbers, graphs, and statistical comparisons. What's missing is the human element; the way people responded to unusual weather events. During the ice cold winter of 1838, did people stay huddled indoors or learn to skate? How about the flooding of the river Trent in the early 19th century? Were they scared? Georgina Endfield is a professor of environmental history at the University of Liverpool. Her team has assembled a fascinating...