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.

During the cold war, US and Europe were just as divided over Russia sanctions – here’s how it played out

Author: Dr Kirill Shakhnov

It’s impossible to predict how the crisis in Ukraine will progress, but the rupture in relations between Russia and the west is unlikely to heal any time soon. At the very least, trade between these two sides is going to be badly affected for a long time. To get a sense of how the global economy might function in the coming months and years, it makes sense to look at what happened during the cold war.

Read full article - Posted on 18 March 2022

What is an inverting yield curve and does it mean we're heading for a recession?”

Author: Dr Luciano Rispoli

One key predictor of downturns in the economy is what is known as the yield curve. This typically refers to the market for what the US government borrows, by issuing bonds and other securities that mature over different time horizons ranging from weeks to 30 years.

Read full article - Posted on 29 March 2021

Coronavirus: what might more hand washing mean in countries with water shortages?

hands under stream of running water

Author: Raya A. Al-Masri

Different strategies for resisting the spread of the new coronavirus have emerged in different countries. But the one that has cut through everywhere is simple and, supposedly, can be done by anyone: “Wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds.”

Read full article - Posted on 30 March 2020

What will the world be like after coronavirus? Four possible futures

simon mair

Author: Simon Mair

Where will we be in six months, a year, ten years from now? I lie awake at night wondering what the future holds for my loved ones. My vulnerable friends and relatives.

Read full article - Posted on 30 March 2020.

Coronavirus: why prison conditions can be a perfect storm for spreading disease


Co-author: Jane Ogden

The coronavirus pandemic presents one of most pressing public health challenges in a generation. The UK government approach is to limit the number of people who have the virus at any one time and protect the most vulnerable by decreasing the rate of transmission through hand washing and social distancing. But what happens when it is just about impossible to socially distance and you’re in a highly vulnerable group?

Read full article - Posted on 20 March 2020.

Coronavirus: the UK government’s new emergency powers explained

Age of Brexit

Author: Nicholas Clapham

The UK government has introduced legislation as part of attempts to manage the coronavirus outbreak, handing the government wide-ranging powers to respond to a variety of emergency situations.

Read full article - Posted on 20 March 2020

Social isolation linked to higher levels of inflammation – new study

Getty Images

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

Brexit: here's what happens next 

Age of Brexit

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.

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

books in a library

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.

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

Christmas wreath on a door

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.

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

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

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.