Young children are actually better at learning unusual or unlikely principles than adults. Professor Alison Gopnik's research relates this pattern to computational ideas about search and sampling, evolutionary ideas about human life history, and neuroscience findings about plasticity. Listen to the podcast
How can we close the widening gap between rich and poor? Political economist Frank Stilwell will discuss economic inequality, expose the scale of the problem and provide alternative strategies for a fairer society. Listen to the podcast
Improving our cities and housing conditions can increase our quality of life, prevent disease, and help mitigate climate change. What does this look like in practice, and how might we get to this place? Let's get (urban) planning. Listen to the podcast
Australian politics has been systematically disrupted by leadership changes, the rise of populism and shifting geopolitical realities. What now for Australia’s future? Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd joins political adviser Marc Stears to discuss. Listen to the podcast
Ageing is the main cause of chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Given this inexorable link, can we extend our lifespan without risking our health and quality of life? Listen to the podcast
What does national security, data security and the changing face of legislation mean for free speech and our right to know? A reporter, satirist and political theorist examine the state of affairs. Listen to the podcast
As the online world increasingly spills into the real world, urgent questions are being asked, such as: how do we govern and enforce Internet controls? Where is the cyber frontier, and how is it being weaponised? Listen to the podcast
How does our identity determine how we use our time? Economist Daniel Hamermesh will discuss the role of income inequality and how it affects the things we buy and do. He presents a radical proposal to reassess what we value with our time. Listen to the podcast
The future of Arctic and Antarctic poles under irreversible threat. Our panel explore how our relationship with the polar regions has changed in the 21st century and what the polar regions reveal about the broader environmental challenges facing the world today, as we collectively combat climate change and unpack its deeper implications. Listen to the podcast
The rise of #MeToo and #TimesUp has had little impact on rates of sexual assault in the military. Can it be prevented? Hear our world-renowned panel of experts to answer this critical question, and others. Listen to the podcast
Hear from one of the greatest astrophysicists and role models of our time. Best known for her discovery of pulsars, Jocelyn Bell Burnell has paved a path for furthering scientific knowledge and education. Listen to the podcast
As the world's population steadily rises and we combat the omnipresent threat of climate change, global food security is on borrowed time. But how can we achieve a sustainable diet? Listen to the podcast
Our panel will explore climate change, resource extraction and increasing levels of extinction present unprecedented challenges. What does justice mean if humans, non-human animals and the environment are all taken seriously as subjects of justice? Listen to the podcast.
This event brings together four internationally renowned scholars to explore climate justice and economic justice within the context of a climate changed world and their broader implications for the wider world. Listen to the podcast.
As the online realm increasingly converges with our offline experiences, it raises an important question: whose knowledge dominates these new spaces? Whose voices are missing, and what are the consequences of these inequities? Listen to the podcast.
Language is sometimes viewed as a window on the mind, but it is equally a tool, a weapon, or perhaps most accurately: a remote control device. What do a linguist, psychologist and political thinker have to say about this? Listen to the podcast.
Archaeology can help us understand how climate and environmental change in our recent and distant past shapes our future. Join us as we delve into the little-known world of environmental archaeology, during National Archaeology Week. Listen to the podcast.
As part of Seymour's Centre's premiere season of Made to Measure by Alana Valentine, this special Sydney Ideas event explores the role the arts has to play in investigating major public health issues. Listen to the podcast.
When a rare medical condition (limb girdle muscular dystrophy) struck Monkol Lek in his early twenties, he took matters into his own hands. Monkol is now at the cutting-edge of genetic research at Yale and the findings so far have the potential to be game changing for a number of diseases. Listen to the podcast.
Student activism in China dates back 100 years, but since their emergence as a political force in 1919, students have influenced and inspired landmark protests across the 20th century and beyond. Our speakers will re-assess the legacy of China's original activists and its implication for today's generation. Listen to the podcast.
Join Rachel Kushner, Man Booker finalist and author of The Mars Room, in conversation with novelist and queer feminist scholar Professor Annamarie Jagose on writing today and a body of work that spans eras, borders and inner lives. There is no podcast for this event.
University of Cambridge Professor Herbert Huppert leads this insightful conversation on how global temperatures in the earth's atmosphere has increased over time and what we can do to stop potential calamity. Listen to the podcast.
In the face of civil unrest, political upheaval and violence, how can peaceful actions be effective? Join us for this conversation about the transformational leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and its ongoing relevance. Listen to the podcast.
For more than 60 years the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC had stolen ancestral remains in its collection. It was only recently that the bones were repatriated. How can we better understand the conflict between scientific and Indigenous knowledge? Listen to the podcast.
Diabetes is arguably one of Australia's greatest health challenges and fastest-growing chronic conditions. But landmark research shows that we can stop type 2 diabetes before it starts. Listen to the podcast.
What is nano 3D printing, and how will it transform our lives? Professor Martin Wegener from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology will deliver the inaugural University of Sydney Nano Institute public lecture. Listen to the podcast.
Our panel featuring John McArthur, UN Foundation senior advisor and Brookings Institution senior fellow, leading sustainability adviser Sam Mostyn and more, discuss global efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goals and what it will take for Australia to rise to a leading role. Listen to the podcast
Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence, leading gender equality advocate Elizabeth Broderick and ABC journalist Sarah Ferguson share insights into how society can successfully embed cultural change into our daily lives and workplaces. Listen to the podcast and view transcript to the event.
How is hate shaping society? And what must we do about it? Political philosopher Tim Soutphommasane reflects on race relations and multiculturalism in Australia and beyond, and what it means for democracy worldwide. Listen to the podcast.
In the 21st century, surveillance has not only become an unavoidable presence in our everyday lives - it's embedded in our culture. What is the cost of cashing in on global surveillance? Listen to the podcast.
Are brain and mind conditions such as dementia a case of luck of the draw, or are our body clocks and sleep cycle integral for keeping our brains healthy? Join us for this Sydney Ideas event in Canberra. Listen to the podcast.
Why has China detained as many as one million Muslim minorities in "re-education camps", and what are the political ramifications for us all as state policy becomes more aggressive? Listen to the podcast.
How much do governments know about our online history? Join Ron Deibert, digital detective and founder of Citizen Lab, as he reveals the hidden surveillance systems used to spy on civil society. Listen to the podcast.
Our expert panel showcases some of the most innovative and original human rights work being done in Australia today, and facilitates a lively conversation about what we all need to do to forge vibrant forms of human rights action for the next 70 years. Listen to the podcast.
Join us to reflect on Australia's human rights record, with a keynote address from Gillian Triggs, as well as responses from Tanya Plibersek and Elizabeth Evatt in this event, co-presented with the Evatt Foundation. Listen to the podcast.
Join us as we commemorate United Nations World Soil Day with a discussion about how we can ensure that our soils provide food, biodiversity and healthy ecosystems well into the future. Listen to the podcast.
Our expert panel of Professor Stephen Simpson, Emily Maguire, Louise Stone and Catherine Pelle sets the record straight on the causes of obesity, and explains why the finger of blame should not be pointed at the individual. There is no podcast for this event.
Professor Don Nutbeam chairs an esteemed panel of university professors, private sector representatives and former politicians for an important debate - what should universities be? Listen to the podcast
Join us for the launch of the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC). Our expert panel will discuss the role of humanities in addressing the 'post truth' crisis. Listen to the podcast.
In 2015 more Australian military personnel and veterans took their lives than were killed in Afghanistan during 13 years of war. Our expert panel brings together medical experts and social scientists to discuss the growing problem of military suicide - why is it happening and how should it be addressed politically? Listen to the podcast.
Hear from Professor Liz Fisher (University of Oxford), as she makes the case for why 'hot' situations such as climate change needs 'hot' law, if Australia is to catch up with the rest of the world on governing and tackling climate change effectively. Listen to the podcast.
Climate change is a serious problem for Pacific Island nations, who often battle flooding, coastal erosion and rising sea levels on their own. How can industrialised nations like Australia assist them? Listen to the podcast.
Gilded glass bottles blown in India, porcelain flasks produced in Japan. This lecture follows these intriguing items from their diverse places of manufacture to their points of distribution and demonstrates their strategic power as bestowals. There is no podcast for this event.
Australian dramatist Alana Valentine, cosmologist Geraint Lewis, poet Tricia Dearborn and physicist Zdenka Kuncic explore some home truths as they face off for a lively debate about the authenticity of art and science. There is no podcast for this event.
Science, including health research, has been particularly susceptible to "Truth Decay" – the increasing reliance on opinion over fact. Join leading academics Lisa Bero, Stephen Simpson and Catriona Bonfiglioli to unravel the role of Truth Decay on the obesity epidemic. Listen to the podcast.
Is living free of cynicism and contempt the key to success? In this inaugural Sydney Policy Lab lecture, Marc Stears argues that it is possible for democracy to thrive but only if people act to save it. Listen to the podcast.
What is the role of Australia in sustaining our region's seas, skies and soil? A panel of experts examine the role and responsibilities in balancing environmental sustainability and economic growth in Southeast Asia.
Are our ethical codes and standards doing enough to slow down climate change? This panel will consider these and other profound questions facing all professionals in the age of global warming. Listen to the podcast.
The second in our series with the Walkley Foundation, this event will be an examination of the brave new world in public interest journalism, where the bottom line is less about dollars and more about impact. Listen to the podcast.
An esteemed panel will discuss how the testimony of Holocaust survivors is used today and the problems, questions and opportunities it presents to people grappling with the legacy of the Holocaust. Listen to the podcast.
This expert panel, featuring Emeritus Professor Harriet Ward, will explore the contribution of longitudinal research to understanding the impact on vulnerable children and families. Listen to the podcast.
The Popup Globe, currently under construction for its upcoming season of Shakespeare performances in the Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park, is closely based on landmark research done at the University of Sydney. Listen to the podcast.
In 1611, the East India Company in London planned a voyage to Japan, bringing with them a telescope and oil paintings. This talk will investigate the reasons for the Company's interest in Japan, for the selection of unexpected items, and for their impact in Japan. There is no podcast for this event.
Professor Frank Pasquale, an expert on the law of artificial intelligence, algorithms and machine learning, proposes solution to questions over some aspects of algorithmic ordering of information. Listen to the podcast.
They dazzle us, terrify us, nourish us and fascinate us. They can seem utterly otherworldly, and yet they’re among the more ancient species to inhabit Earth. And, because of rising ocean temperatures, they are moving. Listen to the podcast.
Celebrate the launch of the special issue of the magazine Transition on "Bla(c)kness in Australia", bringing together the voices and artwork of diverse Bla(c)k writers, artists, poets, and scholars in Australia. Listen to the podcast.
In the 2018 Tom Austen Brown lecture, Dr Mark Collard, an evolutionary anthropologist, argues that comparative ethnology – comparing and contrasting the features of large samples of human societies – should be a key archaeological tool. Listen to the podcast.
A Sydney Ideas event for Innovation Week 2018, bringing together medical researchers focusing around both ends of the demographic spectrum - youth mental health and dementia and art practitioners to consider these question and more. Listen to the podcast.
A Sydney Ideas event for Innovation Week 2018, exploring the possibility that storytelling is exactly what science needs, with a view to answering the question: Is storytelling bad for science? Listen to the podcast.
A discussion on international thinking, through the lens of politics, law and history, and an examination of how the rise in nationalist sentiment affects international collaboration and institutions. Listen to the podcast.
Our new series of events explores the importance of disagreeing well. In the first forum in the series, an expert panel will discuss the rise of the cultural backlash in public life and the challenges that ensue. Listen to the podcast.
Two distinguished speakers, Professor Tom Shakespeare and Sue Salthouse, address issues surrounding the National Disability Insurance Scheme and what it takes to achieve control and choice for people living with disabilities. Listen to the podcast.
Co-presented with the Sydney Environment Institute, this is a discussion of how we can build a new energy system that is fair to all, and what a progressive energy system might look like. Listen to the podcast.
Some studies show dog owners are happier. Could having a dog indeed help combat depression? Could bringing dogs to work help employees and businesses? Could therapy dogs speed up patient’s recovery? Listen to the podcast.
Case studies with a university student, a computer hacker, and a former drug dealer demonstrate different radicalisation experiences and suggest that radicalisation is not something done to people, but something produced by active participants. Listen to the podcast.
This roundtable discussion brings together experts from the University of Sydney and the Lowy Institute to explore the origins and implications of Kim’s recent diplomatic activism from North Korean, US, and Chinese perspectives. Listen to the podcast.
This panel discussion was the first in a series of Sydney Ideas events discussing the new possibilities of genome manipulation. The fundamental science and applications of genome editing were discussed at this event. Listen to the podcast.
Zaki Mehchy, a co-founder and researcher of the Syrian Center for Policy Research, will present the latest findings on the socioeconomic impact of the conflict in Syria including its impact on GDP, employment, poverty, and education. Listen to the podcast.
David King, a Gundungurra Aboriginal elder, will share his insights on Australian Aboriginal Sustainability practices and processes, touching particularly on the prevalence of food wastage. Listen to the podcast.
Professor Ajay Sinha builds an illustrated story of mutual fascination and transcultural exchanges between an Indian dancer, Ram Gopal, and an American photographer, Carl Van Vechten, in New York City. There is no podcast for this event.
Are we eating ourselves sick? Join our panel of speakers to ask: could food really help us ward off diseases like diabetes, dementia, cancer and dental or cardiovascular disease? Listen to the podcast.
This event, co-presented with the Department of Archaeology, brought together two archaeologists to discuss the status of Aboriginal archaeology, as well as where we should go from here into the future. Listen to the podcast.
Mark will be discussing the landscape in and of contemporary poetry, the role of the lyric in a time of spiritual and ecological crisis, and the importance of writing across the disciplines and embedding creativity in education at all points of life and learning. Listen to the podcast.
This forum gathered insights from philosophy, marine geoscience, art, and literature to explore how different ways of knowing the sea have informed one another, and how they might inform one another in the future. Listen to the podcast.
There are many dimensions to spatial inequality in Australia. This forum probed the uneven distribution of the country’s economic and environmental resources, with a particular focus on cities. There is no podcast for this event.
This event invited four panellists to explore what it means to 'unpack privilege' from different perspectives, in order to open up a conversation and bring the issues involved to the forefront of everyone's workplace and personal agendas.
Dr David Pencheon and the panel will discuss how the Australian healthcare system is one of the leading contributors to climate change, and explore how the health and care sectors can work together to address environmental, social and economic sustainability in a holistic manner. Listen to the podcast.
The Chinese painter known to Europeans as “Lam Qua” was one of the most well-documented artisans working in the port of Guangzhou in the early 19th century. While very little historical Chinese records have been found to clarify Lam Qua’s biography, he left a fascinating corpus of paintings—including both originals and copies—for us to examine. Listen to the podcast.
Nadia Urbinati, one of Italy's most distinguished scholars, will analyse the main forces that are nowadays tearing apart more than a few democracies around the world, including, technocrats wedded to expert procedures; demagogues who make glib appeals to 'the people', and media platformsbent on turning politics into a sensational spectator sport and citizens into fans of opposing teams. Listen to the podcast.
Digital technology is widely viewed as pivotal to social, cultural, economic, and political transformations - especially across the great diversity of Asian countries, cultures, and settings. This talk explores the dynamic area of digital rights and governance in Asia – the issues, challenges and opportunities for nations and the region. Listen to the podcast.
Listen to our panel of experts discuss trafficking's past and present and delve into the 2017 Australian Federal committee's report that called for a wide sweeping suite of new laws to target modern slavery and human trafficking. Listen to the podcast.
Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane and University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence AC discuss the launch of new research on cultural diversity and Australian leadership. Listen to the podcast.
William L. Fox, Director of the Centre for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada, whose extensive practice as a curator, writer and commentator crosses the arts and sciences, addresses the claim that in this moment of planetary environmental crisis, artists have never been more important. Listen to the podcast.
Authoritarian populists have disrupted politics in many societies, as seen in the U.S. and the UK. This event sees two leading scholars discuss their new books and the power of populist authoritarianism. Listen to the podcast.
Ngarigu woman Professor Jakelin Troy discusses intimate details of the lives, language and knowledge of the Aboriginal women she has discovered among the anthropological archives. Listen to the podcast.
Outrage. Is it an affect? An agency? A meme? Professor Robyn Wiegman attempts to decide whether outrage offers political instruction or if it's an instrument of democratic destruction. Listen to the podcast.
Lucy Turnbull AO, Commissioner for Greater Sydney joins our panel of experts in urban planning and public health policy to discuss the latest research, and health impacts of Sydney's changing city structure. There is no podcast for this event.
How do we come to grips with the past, and how do we do so in just ways? What can apology and other forms of recognition achieve? What can we learn from other projects of apology and recognition? Listen to the podcast.
Having just recently co-edited Palgrave’s book, Global Perspectives on Same Sex Marriage: A Neo Institutional Approach, Bronwyn Winter is coming together with Maxime Forest to discuss the different factors impacting on state adoption or refusal of same-sex marriage laws. Listen to the podcast.
Canadian writer and urban geographer, Dr Lenore Newman joins some of the passionate people working on the frontline of urban agriculture to discuss how farms can be integrated into the urban economic and ecological system. Listen to the podcast.
Five of the world’s top scholars speak on the question of why citizen activism is an essential ingredient for reviving democratic practice, at a time when civic voices appear under threat. There is no podcast for this event.
The University of Gothenburg's Professor Roger Saljo argues learning as we know it is currently changing in nature to a focus on learning as design in the Education and Social Work Dean’s Lecture Series. Listen to the podcast.
In this podcast, our panel of distinguished scholars explores the significance of translation, its impact on encounters between people, and its contribution to social cohesion, especially in multicultural and multi-faith societies like Australia. Listen to the podcast.
Best podcasts of 2017
In 2017 we brought you ideas from more than 100 speakers from 27 countries.
We make most of them available on Soundcloud and iTunes, and we've also collated some of our most popular podcasts from 2017 below.
Renowned US journalist who worked with Edward Snowden and wikileaks discusses the role of journalism in exposing the lies and deceit of the world's most powerful actors. Listen now
Climate Change in the Age of Trump
World-renowned climate scientist Professor Michael Mann provides a somewhat light-hearted take on a very serious issue. Based on his recent collaboration with Washington Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles, Mann reflects on the inability of political leadership to respond to the climate crisis, but also suggests reasons for cautious optimism. Listen now
The Fiction of Memory
Given that false memories are so readily planted in the mind, do we need to think about ‘regulating’ this mind technology? The distinguished Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior Elizabeth Loftus charts the consequences of false memories on later thoughts and behaviours. Listen now
Mental Health and Technology
Experts from our Brain and Mind Centre join Director of the Cundill Centre for Child and Youth Depression, Professor Peter Szatmari, to discuss why are apps so addictive and whether technology could be used to improve mental health. Listen now
Black Lives Matter
The 2017 Sydney Peace Prize winners join the ABC's Stan Grant for an intimate conversation about the future of black lives under (and after) President Trump, and what lessons Australians can learn from the American experience. Listen now
One of Israel’s most outspoken journalists gives a candid talk on what he sees as Israeli's moral blindness. Listen now
Our panel of experts demystify some of today's popular health 'tips' and share insights that will help us keep our bodies and minds healthy as we age. Listen now
Women in Politics
Will Hillary Clinton's loss discourage or motivate women to become more politically engaged? US polling expert Anna Greenberg joins ABC Radio National’s Geraldine Doogue to chart a way forward for women in politics in both the United States and Australia. Listen now
El Chigüire Bipolar and The Chaser
How do you satirise the already ridiculous? Hear from the makers of Venezuela's leading satirical news site El Chiguire Bipolar as they discuss the politics of satire and freedom of speech with The Chaser. Listen now
Sleep: the new health frontier
Planning on having a good night’s sleep this summer break? Find out why sleep is so important and how it can combat diet fails, foster mental health, and prevent dementia as Professor Allan Pack describes a clock-like mechanism in our body. Listen now