Matthew Strassler at the Harvard Science Center


Waves in an Impossible Sea:
How Everyday Life Emerges
from the Cosmic Ocean 

in conversation with GREG KESTIN


April 3, 2024
6:00 PM ET


Harvard Science Center Hall D
1 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA


$0.00 (Free RSVP Required) $34.00 (book included)

Harvard Book Store, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome MATTHEW STRASSLER—Associate of the Department of Physics at Harvard University—for a discussion of his new book Waves in an Impossible Sea: How Everyday Life Emerges from the Cosmic Ocean. He will be joined in conversation by GREG KESTIN—Associate Director of Science Education at Harvard University


There are two ticket options available for this event.

Free General Admission Ticket: Includes admission for one.

Book-Included Ticket: Includes admission for one and one hardcover copy of Waves in an Impossible Sea.


About Waves in an Impossible Sea

In Waves in an Impossible Sea, physicist Matt Strassler tells a startling tale of elementary particles, human experience, and empty space. He begins with a simple mystery of motion. When we drive at highway speeds with the windows down, the wind beats against our faces. Yet our planet hurtles through the cosmos at 150 miles per second, and we feel nothing of it. How can our voyage be so tranquil when, as Einstein discovered, matter warps space, and space deflects matter?

The answer, Strassler reveals, is that empty space is a sea, albeit a paradoxically strange one. Much like water and air, it ripples in various ways, and we ourselves, made from its ripples, can move through space as effortlessly as waves crossing an ocean. Deftly weaving together daily experience and fundamental physics—the musical universe, the enigmatic quantum, cosmic fields, and the Higgs boson—Strassler shows us how all things, familiar and unfamiliar, emerge from what seems like nothing at all.

Accessible and profound, Waves in an Impossible Sea is the ultimate guide to our place in the universe.

Praise for Waves in an Impossible Sea

“Matt Strassler has been one of the deepest thinkers in fundamental physics and quantum field theory for the past three decades. It is a cause for celebration to see him combine his penetrating insights together with a brilliant flair for beautifully clear and simple non-technical explanations, to produce a true masterpiece with this book. I have never seen its equal and don't expect I ever will.” —Nima Arkani-Hamed, Institute for Advanced Study

“It's not easy to convey the ideas of modern physics without any equations, but also without compromises, making sure every statement is precisely correct. Matt Strassler does it better than anyone I've ever read. If you want to know what's really going on in the realms of relativity and particle physics, read this book.” —Sean Carroll, author of The Biggest Ideas in the Universe

"Matt Strassler succeeds triumphantly in conveying the fascination of the physical reality that underpins our world of atoms and stars. His distinguished expertise, combined with an entertaining and lucid writing style, enable him to lure readers into a ‘deeper dive’ than most physicists attempt when addressing a general readership -- and to do this without distortion. He conveys the essence of the deep structures that underpin our natural world in an engaging and accessible way. This book deserves wide readership." —Professor Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Greg Kestin
Greg Kestin

Greg Kestin

Greg Kestin earned his physics Ph.D. from Harvard, as a member of The Center for the Fundamental Laws of Nature, focusing on theoretical particle physics and quantum field theory. He then joined the faculty of Harvard’s Physics Department as a College Fellow and Preceptor and is currently the Associate Director of Science Education and a Lecturer on Physics. Over his career, he has conducted research in nuclear physics, particle physics, fusion energy, gravitational wave physics, and science education. For nearly two decades he has been involved with innovative educational outreach endeavors, bringing science to both students and members of the public through writing, video, animation, multimedia, and public lectures. As a Digital Producer at NOVA | PBS he created award-winning media, from documentaries to educational interactives to his original video series, “What the Physics?!”

Matthew Strassler
Matthew Strassler

Matthew Strassler

Matthew Strassler is a theoretical physicist, blogger, and writer whose research in particle physics and quantum field theory often takes him to the Large Hadron Collider. In recent years he has been an Associate of the Harvard University Physics Department.  A former member of the Institute for Advanced Study, he was previously a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington, and Rutgers University.


There is NO PARKING at the Science Center. For those traveling to the Science Center by car, there is paid public parking in Harvard Square. More info here.

Harvard Science Center Hall D
1 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

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