The University of Liverpool Podcast is now available to download on iTunes and aims to bring you closer to some of the academic experts, authors and innovative thinkers from the University, who through their in-depth analyses, research and discoveries are affecting positive change in the world today.

Join our host – Canadian journalist and producer, Neil Morrison as he covers a wide range of topics including; cancer-detecting smelling machines, Beatles tourism, and cyber security (to name but a few), with thought leaders from University of Liverpool. Subscribe, listen and review.

#21: Is Narcissism on the rise?

Is Narcissism on the rise?It’s easy to see signs that it might be. Research into pop music and contemporary literature offers indirect evidence that narcissism is on the rise in Western culture. More direct evidence comes from the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI): a database of thousands of US college students’ personality test results, collected over several decades. Results from these tests show narcissism has risen. Yet, new research has emerged that challenges this view. University of Liverpool lecturer in psychology Minna Lyons takes us through the evidence.

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#20: A History of Slimming

Podcast the history of slimmingThe weight loss market in the US is estimated to be worth 66 billion dollars. Europe isn’t too far behind that at 44 billion. It is big business and while its expansion has kept pace with our growing waist lines, its origins can be traced, oddly enough, to a time when food was scarce. Myriam Wilks-Heeg is a Lecturer of Twentieth Century History at the University of Liverpool. She is researching the history of slimming in the UK and how it became an obsession for women.

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Bonus episode: Colm Tóibín reads from his latest work

Earlier this year Colm Tóibín spoke before an audience the Victoria Gallery Museum in Liverpool. The author and University of Liverpool Chancellor read excerpts from his latest novel House of Names. The work is a retelling of one part of the classic Greek trilogy The Oresteia and depicts Clytemnestra’s revenge for the murder of her daughter. This special bonus episode features Tóibín’s fascinating and funny insights into the challenges he faced adapting a story that is 2,500 years old.

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#019: Halloween as therapy

Podcast HalloweenAt 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: the 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 therapeutic.

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#018: Are Sugary Drinks The New Tobacco?

Podcast episode 10Simon Capewell says sugary drinks are killing us. The University of Liverpool Public Health researcher and advocate says sugar, especially the sugar in sugary drinks, is the single biggest cause of obesity. He is fighting for sugary drinks to be treated the same as tobacco which means, higher taxes and stricter limits on advertising but the industry is fighting back with huge advertising campaigns and suspect research.

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#017 Colm Tóibín: Universities in the era of Brexit and Trump

Podcast episode 10University of Liverpool Chancellor, Colm Tóibín explores the role of education and universities in the current political climate. The Irish short story writer, essayist, playwright, journalist, critic and poet is author to nine novels - three of which have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In 2009 Brooklyn won the Costa Novel of the Year and was later adapted into an Academy Award nominated and BAFTA winning film. His work has been translated into more than 30 languages and he continues to engage critics with his most recently published work, House of Names.

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#016 Tofu solar panels vs big business

Podcast episode 10Two years ago, physicist Jon Major published research on a new method for producing solar panels in the prestigious journal Nature. His technique has a tenuous connection to tofu but that was enough to push it onto the front pages of news sites around the world. The experience taught him a lot about the value of good communication of scientific ideas. Dr Major’s experience since the research was published has taught him even more about the structure of the modern solar industry. It may not be as nimble and quick to innovate as you might think.

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#015 What if medicine becomes a lot more personal?

Podcast episode 10It might seem a bit farfetched but someday soon we might all carry in our wallets a little card, something like a credit card except this card will carry our entire genetic code. It’s something you would hand over to your doctor or that doctors would look for if you ended up in hospital. Another possibility is that your doctor might have your genetic profile on file, right there beside your address, your age and your weight. According to Prof Sir Munir Pirmohamed medicine is set to get a lot more personal and that’s a good thing.

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#014 Who stopped the Ebola outbreak?

Podcast episode 10Dr Calum Semple shares his experience working in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis. It’s a harrowing story that offers some surprising lessons. The large scale Western medical intervention, the type Dr Semple was involved in, might not have been the crucial factor in conquering the outbreak – and certainly not as key as we may have thought. Rather, when reflecting on his research and his experiences, Calum suggests that public health messages concerning the burial of infected persons were vital in curbing the spread of the epidemic.

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#013 Why do we love mermaids?

Podcast episode 10Mermaids have fascinated and attracted us for generations. What is it about these mythical creatures that has so captivated humans for thousands of years and across cultures? Sarah Peverley is a Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool and a Leverhulme Research Fellow working on a project entitled: 'Mermaids of the British Isles, c. 450-1500'. Sarah walks us through our long, complex and profound relationship with these beguiling messengers from the deep. Read more about Professor Peverley’s work at The Conversation, on her website and Twitter.

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#012 Help! Is my dog obese?

Podcast episode 10Prof Alex German calls obesity the single greatest threat to your dog's health, yet most pet owners don't even realise their pet is overweight. It's not just the average pet owner who faces this challenge. His analysis of dogs at Crufts, the biggest dog show in the UK, found that about a quarter of all show dogs were overweight. The rise in dog obesity parallels the rise in obesity in humans and obese dogs face many of the same health risks as obese humans including arthritis and diabetes.

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#011 Interrogations - why respect gets results

Podcast episode 10The string of terror attacks in the UK has increased pressure on police to identify and disrupt terrorist plots early. This requires fast and effective interrogations of family, friends and supporters of attackers. You might imagine this means tough questioning that is extremely stressful to the detainee. But according to Laurence Alison, a softer approach tends to achieve harder results. Professor Alison is Director of the Centre for Critical and Major Incident Psychology at the University of Liverpool. He is an expert in interrogation techniques. He says, empathy, respect and careful listening are powerful tools in the hands of the most effective negotiators.

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#010 The business of football through a Liverpool lens

Podcast episode 10Kieran Maguire talks to us about the serious business of the beautiful game's Premier League. He is a Senior Teacher in Accountancy at the University of Liverpool, and a football finance expert. He is also a lifelong fan of newly promoted Brighton FC. Kieran discusses the city of Liverpool's plan to underwrite Everton Football Club’s new stadium, the importance of Champions League places, and different approaches to financing and running Premier League football clubs. The discussion has a specific focus on Liverpool FC, Manchester United, and Manchester City football clubs. And he draws attention to the monopoly of the top four clubs and the irony inherent in UEFA’s ‘Financial Fair Play’ rules.

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#009 Can the DUP push the Conservatives to the left?

The University of Liverpool PodcastWhen Prime Minister Theresa May announced her intention to negotiate a partnership with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), critics and observers pointed to deeply conservative statements of some DUP members and warned that Conservatives risked being dragged to the far right of the political spectrum. However, two University of Liverpool experts in Northern Ireland politics argue that the modern DUP is a pragmatic and politically sophisticated party. And, far from dragging the Conservatives to the right, they may actually pull them to the left on economic issues. Peter Shirlow is the Director of the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies. Jonathan Tonge is a professor of politics at the University of Liverpool and co-author of the book ‘The Democratic Unionist Party: From Protest to Power’.

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#008 Help! Is my child a psychopath?

The University of Liverpool PodcastFor parents, the discovery that their child’s difficult behaviour is actually a form of psychopathy is devastating. Dr Luna Centifanti, a Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology at the University of Liverpool, says researchers are zeroing in on the unique traits associated with psychopathy and this greater understanding is opening the door for more targeted therapies.

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5 minutes on... birth dates and mental health

Dr Praveetha Patalay walks us through research that shows how children's mental health can be affected by their date of birth. Praveetha Patalay is a Lecturer in Population Mental Health and Child Development at the University of Liverpool. She has numerous awards and distinctions for her research including recently being selected as a Top 30 under 30 in Science and Healthcare for Forbes Magazine. Read more about Dr Patalay and her research.

This is our first episode in a new and sporadic series of short episodes called "5 minutes on..." From time to time we will put these out between our regular in-depth episodes which come out every two weeks.

#007 Is it really mental ‘illness’?

The University of Liverpool PodcastDr Peter Kinderman, professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool and Vice President of the BPS, says the causes of depression, anxiety and even schizophrenia are not always found inside the brain but outside the person. Unemployment, bullying, child abuse are often the cause of mental distress – and the treatment he prescribes is for all of us to take greater social responsibility to address the situation rather than just reaching for medication.

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#006 Who will tell the robots what to do?

Podcast #006 Who will tell the robots what to do?Dr Louise Dennis examines the choices self-driving cars will face as they take over our roads. Sometimes, the question is not what a good driver would do but rather, what a good (i.e. moral) person should do. As autonomous machines spread into more and more facets of modern life, Dr Dennis maintains that moral reasoning will increasingly need to be a critical part of their design.

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#005 Big data and the search for MH370

The University of Liverpool PodcastProfessor of Autonomous Systems, Simon Maskell was involved in the hunt for MH370, the Malaysian Airlines plane that went missing shortly after take-off on March 8, 2014. In this episode he studies the critical role human judgement plays within the development and control of autonomous systems. The ethics that should guide these judgements will be the subject of our next episode.

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#004 Suzi Gage on ‘Say Why to Drugs’

Podcast Drugs Lecturer in Psychology and prolific podcaster, Dr. Suzi Gage along with her co-host UK rapper Scroobius Pip take an evidence based approach to discussing recreational drugs. In 2016 their podcast won Skeptic Magazine’s Ockham Award for Best Podcast while Suzi Gage herself was presented this year with the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science.

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#003 Nanomedicine shrinks the cost of HIV treatment

Podcast Prof Steve Rannard and Prof Andrew Owen are using nanotechnology to make HIV medicine more effective and less expensive. Nanomedicine builds tiny particles of medication that are designed to drive the drug into the bloodstream more effectively. The results of which, could greatly increase the number of HIV patients that can receive therapy in low to middle income countries.

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#002 Liverpool – Cradle of the Beatles

The University of Liverpool Podcast Dr Mike Jones traces the City of Liverpool’s complex relationship with The Beatles. It may seem difficult believe today, but the city was not always so warm in its embrace of four of its most famous sons. A fascinating story that has its origins in the dramatic social, political and economic changes of the past century.

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#001 Follow your nose

Podcast The lives of patients who currently experience invasive tests for bladder and prostate cancer diagnosis could be made easier. Find out how a machine with smell sensitivity can screen urine samples for cancer.

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The University of Liverpool Podcast is a production of the University of Liverpool.

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