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Undisciplined: September Science News Roundup

Andrew Brooks,

We’re talking about fires and fossils, sea butterflies and stonehenge, and parasitic plants and saving the planet — well, saving ourselves, anyway. Our guests are researchers from across the nation with a diversity of expertise.

Back on the program is Joseph Wilson, an evolutionary ecologist from Utah State University, where he runs the insect evolution lab and runs around the country looking for new species of bees. He is the author of The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North American Bees.

Also with us once again is Angie Fagerlin, a professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Her training is in experimental psychology and her research focuses on factors that affect people’s perception of risk, as well as testing methods that might improve communication between medical providers and patients.


And with us for the second time on the program and the first time on the round-up is Nikki Pareja. If you’ve been listening to our show recently, you caught her a few episodes back as we geeked out together about anthropology, art history, monkeys and the color blue.


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.