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The Show

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

20 Episodes

12. Probing the depths

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.

26 Apr


11. Racing to understand

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 Apr


10. Understanding the pandemic

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.

01 Apr


9. Personalized medicine

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.

26 Feb


8. Circular economies

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.

26 Jan


Interview with Hanadi Sleiman

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.

16 Jan


Interview with Ian Campbell

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.

15 Jan


Interview with Ajay Royyuru

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.

15 Jan


Interview with HRH Dr. Maha bint Mishari AlSaud

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.

13 Jan


Interview with Nicholas Peppas

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.

13 Jan


Bonus: The science of Formula One

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.

12 Dec


7. Disruptive innovation

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?

01 Dec


Bonus: Computing extremely

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.

22 Nov


6. A new age of AI

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.

15 Nov


5. Is clean combustion a thing?

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.

01 Nov


4. Growing food in the desert

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.

15 Oct


Bonus: Carbon-fixing machines

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.

01 Oct


3. Cracking the code on sustainable desalination

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.

01 Oct


2. Bright solar future

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.

15 Sep


1. Oceans of the future

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.

27 Aug