The Conversation

The Conversation is an independent topical news and views site sourced exclusively from the academic and research community, and is dedicated to improving the quality of public discourse. Our academics contribute frequently, sharing relevant work with the public in an accessible form.

Latest articles

Read some of the most recent and topically relevant contributions from Surrey academics to The Conversation below or view our full list articles.

Social isolation linked to higher levels of inflammation – new study

Author: Dr Kimberley Smith

Being lonely or socially isolated can negatively affect your wellbeing. There is even research showing that it increase the risk of illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, dementia and depression.

Read full article - Posted on 5 March 2020

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Brexit: here's what happens next 

Author: Professor Simon Usherwood

Anyone imagining that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on January 31 might mean things will go quiet on the Brexit front, they are likely to be disappointed. It looks like 2020 will be just as packed as the past three rollercoaster years.

Read full article - Posted on 30 January 2020.

Age of Brexit

David Copperfield on screen: Charles Dickens' masterpiece is a celebration of everyday heroes

Author: Dr Beth Palmer

Charles Dickens’ great masterpiece David Copperfield begins with uncertainty: "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." With those few words the author gives us one of the most memorable lines to be found in 19th-century fiction and gets us thinking about who or what a hero might be.

Read full article - Posted on 7 January 2020.

books in a library

Boris Johnson's British Christmas story – Love, Actually in politics

Author: Professor Bran Nicol

Boris Johnson’s landslide election victory confirms, in case there was any doubt, that populist politics go hand-in-hand with populist messaging. The Conservatives kept their message simple, emotive and repetitive and barely let the focus slip from the personality of their leader.

Read full article - Posted on 18 December 2019.

Christmas wreath on a door

Climate change novels allow us to imagine possible futures – read these crucial seven

Author: Dr Adeline Johns-Putra

Every day brings fresh and ever more alarming news about the state of the global environment. To speak of mere “climate change” is inadequate now, for we are in a “climate emergency”. It seems as though we are tripping over more tipping points than we knew existed.

Read full article - Posted on 13 December 2019.

A healthy green field turns into a cracked hot desert in the heat

2050 is too late – we must drastically cut emissions much sooner

Author: Tim Jackson

One of the last things that Theresa May did before she left office as the UK prime minister in July 2019 was to commit the country to a net zero carbon target in 2050.

Read full article - Posted on 15 September 2019.

Power station with large amounts of smoke pouring from the top

Linking brains to computers: how new implants are helping us achieve this goal

Author: Yunlong Zhao

Cyborgs are no longer science fiction. The field of brain-machine interfaces (BMI) – which use electrodes, often implanted into the brain, to translate neuronal information into commands capable of controlling external systems such as a computer or robotic arm – have actually been around for some time. 

Read full article - Posted on 6 September 2019.


Building a moon base is a huge task – here are the tiny satellites that will pave the way

Author: Yang Gao

The space race between the US and Russia ended half a century ago when US astronauts became the first to walk on the moon

Read full article - Posted on 29 August 2019.


Boris Johnson suspends parliament: what does it mean for Brexit and why are MPs so angry?

Author: Amelia Hadfield

Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, is to suspend parliament for several weeks in the run up to Brexit day on October 31. Johnson argues that suspending (or proroguing) parliament is necessary to prepare for a new parliamentary session. But many MPs, and those beyond Westminster, are viewing the PM’s decision as a cynical move, designed to prevent them from attempting to block a no-deal Brexit.

Read full article - Posted on 28 August 2019.

UK and EU flags

‘We die together’: Hong Kong protests are being driven by a fearless young generation

Author: Malte Kaeding

As the protests in Hong Kong enter their eleventh straight week, it’s not uncommon to see teenagers dressed in full battle gear. When I was in Hong Kong in mid August, I encountered a group of young people, including some who looked as young as 14, on their way to a late-night protest wearing face masks and protective gear.

Read full article - Posted on 20 August 2019.

Hong Kong Protestors

Ghana hopes ‘Year of Return’ will boost tourism. But caution is needed

Author: Albert Kimbu

Ghana has designated 2019 as the Year of Return to commemorate 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in the United States. 

Read full article - Posted on 8 August 2019.


What victory for Kyriakos Mitsotakis means for Greece’s relationship with the EU

Author: Theofanis Exadaktylos

Victory for the centre-right New Democracy party in Greece’s July 7 elections brought to an end four years in power for the radical Syriza government of prime minister Alexis Tsipras, marked by turbulent relations with the EU. But what does the victory for New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis mean for Greece’s relationship with the EU?

Read full article - Posted on 9 July 2019.

Greece politics