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Undisciplined: Gravity Falls

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Simon Tyran, creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en
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Today on the program we’re talking about black holes — places in space where the pull of gravity is so strong that light can’t escape. But gravity is just one force at play in a black hole, and our guests say that if you want to understand black holes, gravity might not be the best place to start.

Garrett Goon is a post-doctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon University’s High Energy Theory Group, where he has most recently landed after academic turns at Utrecht, Amsterdam, Penn and two separate stints at Cambridge. 

Riccardo Penco is an assistant professor of high energy physics theory, also at Carnegie Mellon University. His CV is also a who’s who of very impressive universities, with turns at Syracuse, Trieste, Penn and Columbia. 

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 Inheritance with geneticist Sharon Moalem and the Nautilus Award-winning Longevity Plan with cardiologist John Day. His forthcoming book, Superlative, will look at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways.