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UnDisciplined: The Nanotechnologist And The Environmental Social Scientist

This week on UnDisciplined, we're talking about really small things, like cell cultures and their effect on research, and really big things, like our planet's climate and its effect on human movement. 

Jason Shear joined us from the University of Texas at Austin. His recent article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society describes the development of a process by which we can change the size and shape of a cell culture. 

Also joining us is Jordan Smith, whose recent study in the Journal Sustainability demonstrates that bad air day's in Utah's valleys are pushing more people — and more cars — into areas of the state that have good air. Smith is the director of the Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism at Utah State University. 

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.