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UnDisciplined: The Political Scientist And The Photovoltaic Engineer

This week on UnDisciplined, we're talking about the way newspapers impact the way people think, and the ways pollution impacts solar energy.

If those things sound like they have nothing in common — well, that's the idea.

Joining us are Alex Coppock, who studies how op-eds impact reader opinions, and Ian Marius Peters, who studies the impact of haze on energy production.

Matthew LaPlante has reported on ritual infanticide in Northern Africa, insurgent warfare in the Middle East, the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia, and gang violence in Central America. But a few years back, something donned on him: Maybe the news doesn't have to be brutally depressing all the time. Today, he balances his continuing work on more heartbreaking subjects by writing books about the intersection of science, human health and society, including the New York Times best-selling Lifespan with geneticist David Sinclair and the Nautilus Award-winning Longevity Plan with cardiologist John Day. His first solo book, Superlative, looks at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways, and his is currently at work on another book about embracing the inevitability of human-caused climate change with an optimistic outlook on the future.