A podcast from The Conversation UK
Unearthing stories from the world of academia.

Latest Episodes

India Tomorrow part 7: what Narendra Modi's landslide victory means for India

After the world's largest ever democratic exercise, Narendra Modi has been re-elected as prime minister of India for another five year term. His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured an even bigger majority than in 2014. In this, the final part of our India Tomorrow series from The Anthill podcast, we analyse the results with a panel of academics to find out what such a large majority -- of more than…

3 Hosts: Indrajit Roy, Mujibur Rehman, and Nikita Sud

India Tomorrow part 6: what young Indians want

Like many young people around the world, young Indians have big dreams for their future. But for a lot of people in India in their 20s and 30s, there is a large gap between their aspirations and the jobs and opportunities available to them. In part six of India Tomorrow, a series from The Anthill podcast, we’ll examine the concerns and demands of these young Indian voters. One in eight people in the…

5 Hosts: Indrajit Roy, Annabel Bligh, Craig Jeffrey and 2 other

India Tomorrow part 5: economic growth, inequality and jobs

Part five of India Tomorrow takes a look at India’s economy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi rode to power in 2014 promising economic transformation. It was a key plank of his election campaign and this episode explores how he succeeded – and failed – to deliver on this front. We hear how India's economy grew during Modi's time in office. Kunal Sen, professor of development economics at the University…

5 Hosts: Annabel Bligh, Indrajit Roy, Jens Lerche and 2 other

India Tomorrow part 4: women, gender and love

This episode of India Tomorrow, a series from The Anthill podcast, digs into what life is like for women in India. We look at how much they are represented among the country’s lawmakers and whether they might even be considered an electoral group in Indian politics. Like lots of countries around the world, India suffers from gender inequality. But in terms of global rankings, it scores pretty low…

5 Hosts: Indrajit Roy, Annabel Bligh, Carole Spary and 2 other

India Tomorrow part 3: Kashmir

As campaigning was gearing up for the 2019 Indian elections, there was a dangerous escalation in the long-simmering conflict between India and Pakistan. An attack on an Indian military convoy in Pulwama in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in February 2019 killed more than 40 security personnel. After a Pakistani-based militant group claimed responsibility, India responded by launching air strikes…

5 Hosts: Indrajit Roy, Annabel Bligh, Ather Zia and 2 other

India Tomorrow part 2: the politics of Hindu nationalism

When Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to victory in India's 2014 elections, much was made of its Hindu nationalist agenda. After five years in office, some commentators now worry that the secular nature of Indian democracy is being eroded. In this, the second episode of India Tomorrow, a series from The Conversation’s podcast The Anthill, we look at the history of Hindu nationalism…

6 Hosts: Indrajit Roy, Annabel Bligh, Ajay Gudavarthy and 3 other

India Tomorrow part 1: fake news and the battle for information

Fake news is a problem facing society across the world. The rise of social media platforms allows people to disseminate information freely. Stories can go viral, even if they’re not true. And there have been a number of cases where they have stoked fears and fuelled violence in India. In this, the first episode of India Tomorrow, a series from The Conversation's Anthill podcast, we explore how fake…

6 Hosts: Annabel Bligh, Indrajit Roy, Amogh Dhar Sharma and 3 other

India Tomorrow podcast series from The Anthill – trailer

Populist politics, divisive nationalism, an under-performing economy and a strongman leader. Like many countries around the world, India is grappling with these issues at the moment. But the world's largest democracy is at a crossroads. Around 900m Indians are heading to the polls over the next six weeks to decide if they want to reelect the current government of Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist…

2 Hosts: Annabel Bligh and Indrajit Roy

Anthill 33: an announcement – and a trip back to the future

Anthill 33: an announcement – and a trip back to the future.

You may have noticed that we've had a little break from our usual monthly Anthill podcast schedule. That’s because we’ve been hard at work creating a new series all about India and what you need to know to understand what’s at stake in India’s upcoming national elections. From now on, The Anthill won't be monthly -- instead we'll be delving deep into stories and themes in dedicated short series featuring…

5 Hosts: Amy Chambers, Anders Sandberg, Martin Parker and 2 other

Anthill 32: the 'mother of all demos' when computers first got personal

It was a year of huge social upheaval around the world. Amid the protests, outrage and uprisings, other momentous events took place in 1968 that continue to shape the world 50 years later. In this episode of The Anthill podcast, we feature a story from Heat and Light, a podcast series by our colleagues over at The Conversation US, focusing on seven key but lesser known stories that shaped America from…

1 Host: Margaret O'Mara

Anthill 31: World War I remembered – podcast

It was supposed to be the war to end all wars, and the sheer destructiveness of World War I was unprecedented for its time. More than 30 countries were involved, 65m men volunteered or were conscripted to fight and millions of civilians contributed to the war effort. Around 16m people died. And many of those who survived came home from the war psychologically and physically scarred for life. This year…

6 Hosts: Aled Eirug, Ingrid Sharp, Lois Bibbings and 3 other

Anthill 30: Extremes

We've taken our cue for this episode of The Anthill podcast from the Cambridge Festival of Ideas -- the theme for which in 2018 is extremes. As the organisers point out, it really does feel like we’re living in an age where the world is growing more and more extreme. Far-right political extremism is on the rise around the world, with extreme, populist views gaining support everywhere from Brazil and…

6 Hosts: Anna Cento Bull, Joelle Gergis, Mona Jebril and 3 other

Anthill 29: Inheritance

What do we pass onto the next generation when we're gone? In this episode of The Anthill podcast we bring you three stories from academics who study aspects of inheritance -- from inherited wealth, to the natural inheritance we leave our children, and the genetic inheritance held within our DNA. The way countries tax inherited wealth varies widely across the world. In the UK, inheritance tax is 40…

7 Hosts: Christopher Sandom, Danny Dorling, Daphne Martschenko and 4 other

Anthill 28: On nothing

Why is it so hard for us to just sit and do nothing? We don't mean mindlessly scrolling through social media, while you watch TV. Actually sitting still and letting your mind wander. Busyness seems to be a status symbol of our time. Everybody everywhere is busy -- busy with work, busy with family, busy exercising, busy meditating. Busy being busy. Busyness is associated with success and fulfilment…

5 Hosts: Giulia Poerio, Hilary Marland, Martin Rees and 2 other

Anthill 27: Confidence

The Anthill 27: Confidence. CC BY-ND37.1 MB (download)

This episode of The Anthill podcast digs into the concept of confidence. We start by finding out how scientists define confidence and how it works in the brain. Producer Gemma Ware takes a confidence calibration test with the help of psychologist Eva Krockow at the University of Leicester, who also shares some of her research findings on whether expressing confidence about something is a good marker…

6 Hosts: Amanda Goodall, Chantal Gautier, Dan Bang and 3 other

Anthill 26: Twins

Double trouble, two peas in a pod, always together and possibly even reading each other's minds -- twins come with tonnes of stereotypes. This episode of The Anthill digs into some of the research around twins -- from what it's like to be one, how it differs to other sibling relationships (if at all) and how twins play a crucial role in scientific research. As well as speaking to some twins to find…

7 Hosts: Alison Pike, Athula Sumathipala, Claire Steves and 4 other

Anthill 25: Intuition

Ever had a funny feeling, a thought or conviction that you feel compelled to act on, but you can’t quite explain it? Intuition is a concept we're all – intuitively – familiar with. In this episode of The Anthill, a podcast from The Conversation, we get to grips with what intuition exactly is and how it works in our brains and bodies. Psychologist Valerie Van Mulukom from Coventry University explains…

5 Hosts: Cinla Akinci, Gerard P. Hodgkinson, Jim Al-Khalili and 2 other

The Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland at 20 – The Anthill podcast

It’s been 20 years since the Belfast Agreement paved the way for a relatively peaceful end to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The deal was made on Good Friday that year, April 10, 1998, and has become known since as the Good Friday Agreement. To mark the 20th anniversary, this episode of The Anthill is all about the Good Friday Agreement. While this anniversary is an opportunity to remember the achievements…

10 Hosts: Connal Parr, David Mitchell, Feargal Cochrane and 7 other

Anthill 23: Bursting the Bitcoin bubble

In this episode of The Anthill podcast from The Conversation, we're delving into the world of Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency has come a long way since its launch by the mysterious person (or persons) Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. The price of one Bitcoin hit a peak of more than US$19,000 in December 2017. It has since fallen below US$9,000. Bitcoin has made a lot of headlines over the last year, but will…

6 Hosts: Bernardo Batiz-Lazo, Brian Lucey, Heiner Linke and 3 other

Anthill 22: Sex

Anthill 22: Sex.

In this episode of The Anthill podcast, we're talking about sex. It dominates the media we consume and our thoughts. But is technology changing sex? And how is the social role of sex evolving? We talked to a futurologist, a sex robot expert, sex researchers, historians and some criminologists. New technologies are often quickly deployed to serve our human need for love, sex and intimacy. But will robots…

7 Hosts: Cynthia A. Graham, Helen Rand, Jana Funke and 4 other

Anthill 21: Growing up

Anthill 21: Growing up.

Welcome to the 21st episode of The Anthill. It seems appropriate, as we come of age, to talk about growing up. In this episode of the podcast, we bring you stories on parenting, puberty and what it’s like to grow up as a minority in Britain. Parenting is arguably the single most important factor when it comes to children's development -- and human approaches to it have changed markedly throughout history…

7 Hosts: Celia Roberts, Gillian Wilson, Jo-Pei Tan and 4 other

Anthill 20: Myths

How do we know that ideas we hold true aren’t just myths that will be proved untrue in the future? Or maybe you have a favourite fact or story that’s already been debunked but no one has told you yet. In this episode of The Anthill podcast, all about myths, we've got three stories of researchers pouring cold water over ideas that some people still believe. First, we hear from Cat Jarman, a bio-archaeologist…

4 Hosts: Catrine Jarman, Duncan Sayer, Karl Bell and 1 other

Anthill 19: Pain

Pain is something that everyone is familiar with. If you touch a burning stove, a signal travels up your nervous system to your brain which tells you to snatch your hand away. But understanding pain isn't so simple. We all experience pain in different ways and the manner in which our brain processes these signals can vary significantly. This episode of The Anthill is dedicated to exploring this world…

5 Hosts: Andrew Moore, Beth Singler, Conor McGinn and 2 other

Anthill 18: Revisiting the Russian Revolution

It’s been 100 years since revolution swept through Russia and we have dedicated The Anthill 18 to this seminal moment in world history. We delve into its sensory history, find out about the people who tried to spread it across Europe and we also speak to the grandson of one of 1917’s key protagonists. By 1917, Russia had been brought to its knees, labouring under the economic and social costs of World…

5 Hosts: Gareth Dale, Jan Plamper, Jonathan Davis and 2 other

Anthill 17: Science by the seaside

Anthill 17: Science by the seaside. CC BY-ND44.8 MB (download)

There aren't many places you can find musical robots, an Arctic smellscape and an art gallery for babies. But for one week in September, all of these and more were in Brighton for the annual British Science Festival. Naturally curious, The Conversation went along. Our team of editors spoke to many of the academics appearing at the festival -- and in this episode of The Anthill, we'll bring you the…

8 Hosts: Amy Chambers, Andrew Fiss, Anna Williams and 5 other

Anthill 16: Humour me

August is known as silly season in the news trade -- it’s the time of year that you get stories about animals doing stupid things on the evening news (as opposed to just in internet memes). So we thought we’d embrace this and try to tickle you pink in this August episode of The Anthill podcast. As well as a few bad jokes, we investigate how our humour develops as we grow up. And we also look at the…

5 Hosts: Bob Nicholson, Cate Watson, Justin H G Williams and 2 other

Anthill 15: Unexplored places

In this episode of The Anthill podcast, we are off exploring. Our theme is unexplored places and we speak to academics who research remote corners of land, sea and space. First, we go for a plunge into the ocean. The deep sea is often called the final frontier, a wild region we know less about than the surface of the moon. But is that really true? And what’s it actually like diving among the weird…

3 Hosts: Jon Copley, Katja Poppenhaeger, and Yani Najman

Anthill 14: Music on the mind

We've got music on our minds in this episode of The Anthill podcast. We talked to psychologists, cultural historians, classical pianists and neuroscientists to find out more about what music does to our brains, and how it moves us. If you've ever had a song stuck in your head, playing on a loop, that you just can't shift, you might find our first interview useful. We spoke to music psychologist Kelly…

6 Hosts: Elaine Chew, Ian Biddle, Jörg Fachner and 3 other

Anthill 13: All the world's a game

On this month's episode of The Anthill we are playing games -- computer games, grammar games and real life games too. We speak to a researcher who’s fascinated by what happens to people who turn game playing into a career. And we’ll look at whether we can make education more engaging by turning it into a competition. First we talk to an expert in game theory. Abhinay Muthoo is an economist at the University…

5 Hosts: Abhinay Muthoo, Carlo Perotta, Jacob Habgood and 2 other

Anthill 12: Don't remember this

In this episode of The Anthill podcast we delve into the world of memory. We talk to psychologists, historians and political scientists about how and why we remember some things and forget others. First up, our science editor, Miriam Frankel, finds out why people are susceptible to remembering things that didn't actually happen to them. Psychologists Martin Conway, a professor at City University, and…

5 Hosts: Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Martin Conway, Sean Lang and 2 other

Anthill 11: waste not, want not

In this episode of The Anthill, a podcast from The Conversation, we're bringing you stories about how one person's waste can be another person's treasure. We start by getting the dirty stuff out of the way, delving deep into the evolutionary reasons why most of us retch if a browney-orangey liquid starts oozing out from the bin bag. It's called the "yuck factor" and we all have it, as Philip Powell…

5 Hosts: Ana Colaco Maruta Mestre, Geoff Beattie, Kevin Morgan and 2 other

Anthill 10: The future

In this episode of The Anthill podcast we talk to historians, future thinkers, designers and sci-fi watchers about our love of predicting what's to come. We talk to somebody who does it for a living, Anders Sandberg, research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, who explains how he got into future studies, and what it's like predicting the future as a day job. Thankfully…

6 Hosts: Amy Chambers, Anders Sandberg, Martin Parker and 3 other

Anthill 9: When scientists experiment on themselves

Anthill 9: When scientists experiment on themselves.

Self-experimentation is something scientists have done since, well, science began. Throughout history, testing a theory on one's own body was the easiest route to getting an answer. You may be forgiven for thinking that this is a thing of the past. For starters, a sample size of one is rarely conclusive. Then there are pesky ethical review boards that need to be cleared. But it turns out self-experimentation…

4 Hosts: Peter Kinderman, Sorcha Uí Chonnachtaigh, Tim Spector and 1 other

Anthill 8: Goodbye 2016, hello 2017

In what has been a year of political turmoil, violence and vitriol, The Conversation's contributors have sought to explain the reasons behind and the consequences of key events. From the victory of the Brexit campaign that now sees the UK preparing to start negotiations on leaving the European Union, to the election of Donald Trump as US president, it has been a sobering year for pollsters, and for…

5 Hosts: Andy Price, Jane B. Singer, Maria Garcia and 2 other

Anthill 7: On belief

The Antill 7: On belief. The Conversation, CC BY-ND46.9 MB (download)

In this episode of The Anthill, a podcast from The Conversation, we’re taking a critical look at the idea of belief. You might not consider yourself to be religious or have a particularly clear cut belief system. But, make no mistake, belief permeates everything we do. For most, the simple belief that the sun will rise every day means not living in fear of the apocalypse. Yet this isn't the case for…

8 Hosts: C. Colin Holbrook, David Papineau, Gina Rippon and 5 other

Anthill 6: Into the darkness

With the nights closing in and Halloween just around the corner, we're shining a light on darkness for our October episode of The Anthill, a podcast from The Conversation. We start with the spooky allure of horror films. There's no better place to find out why horror stories get our spines tingling than in a graveyard -- as Holly Squire found out when she met Alison Peirse, lecturer in theatre, film…

7 Hosts: Adam J Smith, Alison Peirse, Alison Rowlands and 4 other

Anthill 5: Reboot – part 2

We got a bit carried away when putting together our latest podcast and ended up with too many fun stories to air in one episode of The Anthill. So here's part two on the theme of rebooting where we bring you more tales of restarts and rebrands. We start with a thought experiment: what if the world as we know it was to end? It could be a nuclear apocalypse, a superbug that wipes out most of humanity…

4 Hosts: Daphne Demetry, John Gaffney, Lewis Dartnell and 1 other

Anthill 5: Reboot – part 1

Anthill 5: Reboot – part 1.

If you've ever rung up IT with a problem and been told to try turning your computer off and on again before anyone will take you seriously, you'll understand the power of a reboot. Just like humans, computers are fallible and they can often do with a restart to wipe the slate clean. This month we've chosen to focus The Anthill, the podcast from The Conversation UK, on the theme of rebooting -- what…

3 Hosts: Geoff Pilkington, Rob Miles, and Scott Lucas

Anthill 4: Fuel

Anthill 4: Fuel.

It's not just cars and aeroplanes that need to take on fuel: our bodies and brains do too. So think of your summer holidays as a pit stop in your frantic year -- a time to recharge the batteries. It's fuel -- the stuff that makes both us and the world go round -- that we're focusing on in this fourth episode of The Anthill, a podcast from The Conversation UK. It's clear that some of us need to take…

5 Hosts: Emma Kinrade, John Groeger, Jonathan Radcliffe and 2 other

Anthill 3: Rooting for the underdog

Anthill 3: Rooting for the underdog.

Everybody loves a tale of an underdog succeeding against the odds. From Hollywood to the world of sport, we love to see the little guys come out on top. Having witnessed some remarkable sporting successes in 2016, we decided to dedicate our third podcast to underdogs. This episode's mix of stories starts with a look at the historic progress made by Iceland and Wales in the Euro 2016 football tournament…

7 Hosts: Brendan Clarke, Jill Stuart, John Williams and 4 other

Anthill 2: Brexit special

Anthill 2: Brexit special.

On June 23 the British public will decide whether or not to remain a member of the European Union. The result will have lasting ramifications not just for the UK, but the rest of Europe and the world too. In this special episode of The Anthill, the podcast from The Conversation UK, we speak to academics who are closely following the Brexit debate to help cut through the spin of the campaign. For those…

6 Hosts: Anand Menon, Andrew Scott Crines, Bill Durodie and 3 other

Anthill 1: About time

Welcome to The Anthill, The Conversation UK's inaugural podcast. About time you might think, and so do we. So for our first episode we've taken that to heart and talked to a group of academics on the theme of time. In a brief history of telling time, we ask physicist Kenneth Grattan about how humans perfected the measurement of time, from sundials to atomic clocks. Historian Richard Evans explains…

6 Hosts: David Herd, Kenneth Grattan, Marc J Buehner and 3 other

Introducing a new podcast from The Conversation UK

Introducing The Anthill. CC BY-ND691 KB (download)

Welcome to The Anthill, The Conversation UK's brand new podcast. In the spirit of The Conversation, The Anthill seeks to unearth some of the best and brightest research from the world of academia. After three years publishing expert research, we’re thrilled to be bringing our own brand of smart journalism to a new audio format. Each episode will collect stories and commentary on a given theme. Our…

2 Hosts: Annabel Bligh and Will de Freitas