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A podcast about the people, ideas and innovations that make KAUST the most unique research community on the planet. Each episode is a deep dive into cutting-edge tech, science and startup culture through the eyes of pioneering men and women. For more information visit


    • May 29, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
    • monthly NEW EPISODES
    • 34m AVG DURATION
    • 31 EPISODES

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    Latest episodes from Sciencetown

    20. Jack Dongarra on supercomputing, connections with KAUST

    Play Episode Listen Later May 29, 2022 35:14

    Each year computer scientists at KAUST engage with peers at the annual SC conference, the largest supercomputing event of its kind in the world. Long-time friend to KAUST Jack Dongarra is a familiar face there. The veteran computer scientist and Top500 list producer was recently awarded the 2022 Turing Award, considered to be “the Noble Prize of Computing,” for contributions that have significantly shaped the field. Jack has also influenced HPC developments at KAUST. In this profile, recorded at SC21 in St. Louis, he talks about connections made here and throughout his career in conversation with KAUST computer scientists Hatem Ltaief and Bilel Hadri, his former postdoctoral students, and David Keyes, KAUST founding faculty member and Director of the Extreme Computing Research Center. Jack retires this summer after 32-years of service as a professor at the University of Tennessee. See for privacy and opt-out information.

    19. Probiotics for corals

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 27, 2022 38:05

    Episode 19 explores the promising health benefits of probiotics — not for humans, but for corals. As more coral reefs around the world suffer from bleaching and mass mortality due to warming ocean temperatures and related climate change conditions, good news about reefs is welcome news. A new study led by marine biologists at KAUST shows probiotics to be helpful protagonists in boosting coral health and preventing mortality in the face of environmental stressors. See for privacy and opt-out information.

    18. The incredible symbiotic kingdom Fungi

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 9, 2022 42:45

    Fungal life, while intimately linked to our own, is not well understood. In this episode we speak with Merlin Sheldrake, author of Entangled Life, and two KAUST researchers about the fascinating world of fungi, the role these living networks play in symbiosis with other organisms, and how their properties are being put to some very practical uses in medicine, agriculture, environmental cleanup, and even the rescue of honeybees. Enjoy. See for privacy and opt-out information.

    17. The Anthropocene soundscape

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 28, 2021 56:37

    The global ocean covers over 70% of our blue planet and yet we know vanishingly little about what lies below the surface. This was brought home recently in a paper published in the journal Science about the soundscape of the Anthropocene. Human activity has disrupted the way the ocean normally sounds with both silent and deadly implications. In this episode we talk to the artists, researchers and advocates who are trying to preserve the natural cacophony of our ocean, to protect biodiversity, and ultimately to save humanity from its noisy self.

    Paula Moraga on modeling epidemics

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 24, 2021 21:37

    Paula Moraga talks to us about the use of data analysis and modeling to better understand communicable disease. Moraga is an assistant professor of statistics at KAUST and the principal investigator of the Geospatial Statistics and Health Surveillance Research Group.

    Mohamed-Slim Alouini on 6G

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 21, 2021 34:01

    Mohamed-Slim Alouini is a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering at KAUST. Alouini joined Ben Stevens to talk about how wireless connectivity might well be the way to speed attainment of United Nations sustainable development goals.

    Exploring the brain with Carl Petersen

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 19, 2021 29:22

    How do we know, what we know, about the human brain? We talk to Carl Petersen to find out. He’s the director of the Brain Mind Institute at EPFL. Petersen joined Ben Stevens to talk about how we know, what it is we know, about connections, in the brain.

    16. Low-carbon transport

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 15, 2020 36:04

    Transportation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, so how do we clean up the way we move people and stuff around the planet? In this episode we dig into some of the science and the solutions that aim to make global transportation far less ecologically damaging.

    15. BRUVS watching reef sharks

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2020 48:43

    In early 2020, researchers from around the world wrapped up the biggest shark counting exercise ever undertaken. The result: Some reefs continue to sustain large populations of apex predators, while others have lost them entirely. In this episode we speak with the people most in-the-know about global reef shark populations, and what these canaries in the coal mine might be telling us about the state of our global oceans.

    13. 6G is coming, and here’s how it will change your life

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 5, 2020 34:26

    A team of global researchers is working to connect the 4 billion people around the world who remain unconnected. It's a topic that has come into harsh relief with the global COVID-19 pandemic. We discuss the future of connectedness and how it could lead to essential advancements in telemedicine, remote work, autonomous vehicles, the sustainable management of our global resources, and so much more.

    14. Geothermal energy can power your home and save the planet

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 4, 2020 33:44

    Geothermal is a sustainable, abundant, and largely untapped energy resource. Around the world, countries are turning to this fascinating and perhaps less well known form of energy to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In this episode we sit down with some of the world’s leading experts on geothermal to hear about what solutions it has to offer humanity in the age of global climate change.

    12. Maiden mission to Red Sea floor reveals surprising findings

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 37:55

    Victor Vescovo is famous for traveling the greatest vertical distance possible without leaving earth, having summited Mount Everest and dove to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. In February, his craft, the DSSV Pressure Drop anchored in the Red Sea about 100 Kilometers North of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to commence a series of dives in collaboration with KAUST researchers. We went aboard to hear from Victor and his team about their work and the strangest things they have seen on the ocean floor.

    11. Collecting coronavirus samples in Saudi Arabia is harder than you think

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 30:13

    Scientists are racing to understand the mechanisms of transmission, the most effective testing methods, and how we can all cope with the COVID-19 crisis. In this episode, we talk to a Saudi doctoral student about the highs and lows of sample collection, and we get an insider’s look into the AI that just might give clinicians a leg up in the fight against COVID-19.

    10. Where will the coronavirus strike next? Ask an ocean wave

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 21:13

    The SARS-CoV-2 virus has transited the globe causing both disruption and calls to action for scientists and the institutions they work in. We reached out to some of the mathematicians, geneticists and computer scientists putting their skills to work to help solve the COVID-19 crisis. In this episode, we explore science in quarantine and the things smart people get up to when the lab is closed and global science is called to action.

    9. How gene editing could save your life—or blow up evolution

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 53:16

    Cheap, rapid genetic sequencing, big data, and supercomputing is opening up new possibilities for medicine at the individual level. But rapid advancements in CRISPR, cyborgism, biohacking and more have raised safety concerns and ethical quandaries about who has the right to push the envelope and who does not.

    8. How binning the concept of waste could save Earth

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 40:54

    In December the 25th conference of parties or COP25 took place in Madrid, Spain. We followed some of the world's leading experts on material flows, carbon dioxide, the oceans and more to explore closing the loop on circular economies.

    Tiny bits of lab-made DNA are set to transform drug delivery

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 15:38

    Hanadi Sleiman, Professor of Chemistry and Canada Research Chair in DNA Nanoscience at McGill University, speaks with Nicholas Demille as part of a special Sciencetown series on personalized medicine. Sleiman, who visited as part of the 2020 Winter Enrichment Program, is focused on using molecule DNA as a template to assemble nanostructured materials.

    The business of building the next generation of medicine

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 14:19

    Ian Campbell, the Interim Executive Chair for Innovate UK, speaks with Ben Stevens as part of a special Sciencetown series on personalized medicine. Campbell, who visited as part of the 2020 Winter Enrichment Program, is the operational head of the organization as it continues driving the UK’s technology and innovation strategy.

    Big data’s big impact on the future of medicine

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 24:22

    Ajay Royyuru of IBM speaks with Ben Stevens as part of a special Sciencetown series on personalized medicine. Royyuru, who visited as part of the 2020 Winter Enrichment Program, leads Healthcare & Life Sciences research at IBM. His team is actively pursuing high-quality science, developing novel technologies and achieving translational insights across this industry, including areas of cancer, cardiac, neurological, mental health, immune system, and infectious diseases.

    The Saudi royal taking personalized medicine to the next level

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 17:11

    Her Royal Highness Dr. Maha bint Mishari AlSaud, Vice President of External Relations and Advancement at Alfaisal University, speaks to Nicholas Demille as part of a special Sciencetown series on personalized medicine. AlSaud, who visited as part of the 2020 Winter Enrichment Program, is an American Board Certified Internist. She serves as a member of the Board of Trustees, and is Chairperson of the External Relations Advisory Board.

    Meet the professor building the drugs of the future

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 22:39

    Professor Nicholas Peppas, the Cockrell Family Regents Chair at the University of Texas at Austin, speaks with Ben Stevens as part of a special Sciencetown series on personalized medicine. Peppas, who visited as part of the 2020 Winter Enrichment Program, is working on a multidisciplinary approach to blending modern molecular and cellular biology with engineering principles to design the next-generation of medical systems and devices for patient treatment.

    Bonus: The science and big data driving F1 forward

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 21:20

    We’re coming to you from Yas Island in Abu Dhabi for the penultimate race of the 2019 Formula One season. We’re down on the paddock to hear from the McLaren race team and some of the scientists working to give them a leg up on the competition.

    7. What building the next Silicon Valley really involves

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 45:17

    Startups, and the disruptive tech they espouse, promise jobs, economic growth, and smarter societies. With wild promise and profitability at stake, building the next Silicon Valley has become the pursuit of many. But is all this talk of smarter, better and faster forms of reality really going to pay off for the rest of us?

    Bonus: Here’s what extreme computing will do for you

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 41:13

    Supercomputing, extreme computing, high-performance computing—regardless of what you call it—it underpins much of the cutting-edge scientific research being done today. In this bonus episode, we follow experts from around the world to the epicenter of supercomputing - the annual, North American supercomputing conference or SC19. We ask them to weigh in on how the future of computers, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more are coming together to shape the way we explore and understand our world.

    6. How to prepare for the new AI age

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 43:46

    Computers are a ubiquitous part of life for more than half of humanity, as is the internet that links us all together. As Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning make their way into realms of popular culture, and just about everywhere else, we decided to ask the experts where these terms originated and what they mean for the future of humanity.

    5. How the combustion engine of the future will look

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 49:15

    Ending use of the humble combustion engine, while an easy answer, has proven much more difficult to implement. In truth, we all love the luxuries that the combustion engines of the world bring, even if we loath the long term impacts. In this episode, we explore hybrid technologies, cleaner fuels and the way forward for cleaner forms of combustion in the 21st century.

    4. Is growing food in the desert really possible?

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 37:56

    Join us as we explore some of the latest research into desert agriculture and why on earth anybody thinks it's a good idea. Scorching sun, infertile soil and lack of water are but a few of the challenges facing the transformation of desert into farm. The alternatives, however, are equally unpalatable - bulldozing rainforest and other pristine environments for massive mono-cropping.

    Bonus: The science of making cow farts less unpleasant (for the planet)

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 29:50

    In this special bonus episode, we speak with Carlos Duarte about seagrasses, how seaweed might mitigate cow farts, and how blue carbon might save the planet.

    3. The glass-half-full future of making water in the desert

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 40:36

    With our fresh water sources dwindling, the desalination of salt water is a viable solution. The trouble is, desalination, as it is done now, is highly energy intensive, and can be ecologically damaging. So how do we generate potable water, without causing additional problems—has anyone cracked the code on sustainable desalination? In this episode, we speak with New York Times climate reporter Henry Fountain, as well as a range of experts on energy, water and the environment to try and get to the bottom of this up and coming method of potable water production.

    2. Why your local skyscraper is the power plant of the future

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 30:40

    Where is the bright, solar-powered future we've heard about for decades? We speak to the scientists turning skyscrapers into power plants, we explore solar with a side of potable water and more.

    1. The underwater robots set to explore the hidden deeps of the Red Sea

    Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2020 32:36

    The Red Sea is considered a living model for the oceans of the future. We speak with researchers about corals and capitalism, whale shark cartoons, and how robots might take underwater jobs too.

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