The University of Aberdeen has launched a news-based podcast series exploring the current stories making the press.
‘Into the Headlines’ takes a conversational dive into the news agenda, both those stories released by the University itself and the regional, national and international issues and events impacting society as a whole.
Usually topical, frequently fun and almost always thought-provoking, episodes are released on a Friday across platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Sticher, Google Podcasts and Amazon Music, as well as the University website.
Jennifer Phillips, Head of Communications, said: “Home to a community of more than 130 different nationalities, the University boasts a broad spectrum of experts and interests, from groundbreaking medical and environmental research to politics, business, sports, arts, science specialisms and more.
“Through this new podcast series we hope to explore some of the big ticket news stories coming from our academics that are having a direct impact on the world around us, as well as providing a platform for our experts and other invited guests to share their thoughts on the topical issues making the headlines in Scotland, the UK and beyond.”
The first seven episodes are available to download now:
The Irish Giant
As Charles Byrne, ‘The Irish Giant’, lay dying he knew a famous surgeon wanted his remains. Taken by bodysnatchers, his greatest fear came true and Charles’ skeleton has been on display to the public for the past 240 years - until recently. Hear from campaigner Dr Thomas Muinzer, senior lecturer at the School of Law, about Byrne's life and death; and Neil Curtis, head of Museums and Special Collections, about the ethics of modern day museums.
Science fiction has planted the fear that machines will one day replace us. With OpenAI’s next generation conversational AI chatbot ChatGPT sparking debate among writers and other copy-based content generators that the end, for them at least, may be nigh. Hear from expert in machine learning Dr Georgios Leontidis and award-winning Scots writer Sheena Blackhall on whether they think robots are taking over.
With ‘The Last of Us’ depicting a post-apocalyptic future based on a hostile fungal infection, explore whether the truth is scarier than fiction with historians Dr William Hepburn and Dr Jackson Armstrong who created a BAFTA-nominated computer game based on plague-ridden 16th century Aberdeen; and Dr Delma Childers, a medical mycologist who knows if mankind really could be wiped out by a rampaging fungus.
Content warnings on University course materials have been in the headlines a lot recently with so-called ‘woke’ Universities accused of helping to create “a generation of snowflakes unable to cope with the complexities of life”. Outrage makes for great clickbait, but is it justified? Hear from Professors Chris Collins and Tim Baker from the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture; and student Helen Whalley, to find out why they think content warnings cause such a reaction.
The Orkney Gene Variant
New research has found that one in 100 people with grandparents from Orkney have a gene variant that causes a higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Planning is now underway for a small pilot trial in Westray. In this episode hear from Zosia Miedzybrodzka, professor of medical genetics at the University of Aberdeen and director of the NHS North Scotland Genetic Service; Jim Wilson, professor of human genetics at the University of Edinburgh; and Bethan Davies, an Orcadian who has the gene variant.
Watch This Space
Almost 60 years on from both JFK and Star Trek iconically referring to it as such, space is still the final frontier. But it’s also changing. With the first orbital satellite launch from Scottish soil due later this year and Elon Musk’s Starship programme aiming to take people to Mars in the 2030’s; space exploration is no longer the domain of governments or national and international agencies. Hear from Professor Javier Martin-Torres, theoretical physicist and personal chair at the School of Geosciences; and Dr Maria Manoli, lecturer in space law at the University’s School of Law about the current international Mission to Mars and how space exploration and the law surrounding it is changing.
The Price of Fast Fashion
As the world marks the 10th anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in which 1,134 Bangladeshi garment workers died and 2,500 more were injured, we ask - what’s changed when it comes to fast fashion and the people who make it? With commentary from Professor Muhammad Azizul Islam, chair in accountancy at the University’s Business School; Professor Pamela Abbott, chair in Education and director of the Centre for Global Development; and Fiona Gooch, senior policy advisor at the trade justice charity Transform Trade.