Virtual Event: Dr. Suzie Sheehy
The Matter of Everything:
How Curiosity, Physics, and
Improbable Experiments Changed the World
in conversation with GREG KESTIN
January 18, 2023
6:00 PM ET
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome DR. SUZIE SHEEHY—physicist, science communicator, and academic at the at the University of Oxford and University of Melbourne—for a discussion of her book The Matter of Everything: How Curiosity, Physics, and Improbable Experiments Changed the World. She will be joined in conversation by GREG KESTIN—Associate Director of Science Education and a Lecturer on Physics at Harvard University.
Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store
While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of The Matter of Everything on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About The Matter of Everything
Physics has always been engaged in the pursuit of expanding our knowledge of the nature of matter and the world around us. But how can you use experiments to further this quest? How do you measure the mass of a particle a trillion times smaller than a grain of sand? How do you capture the movement of particles that have traveled billions of miles through deep space into our atmosphere? And, finally, why is all this important?
In The Matter of Everything, accelerator physicist Suzie Sheehy introduces us to the people who, through a combination of genius, persistence and luck, staged the experiments that changed the course of history. From the serendipitous discovery of X-rays in a German laboratory, to the scientists trying to prove Einstein wrong (and inadvertently proving him right), to the race to split open the atom, these experiments not only shaped our understanding of the cosmos, but also shaped how we live within it. These breakthroughs have helped us build detectors that map the insides of volcanoes, develop life-saving medical equipment and create electronic devices used in everything from fiber-optic cables to solar panels—among countless other advancements.
Along the way, Sheehy pulls back the curtain to reveal how physics is really done—not only by theorists with blackboards, but by experimentalists with brilliant designs. Celebrating human ingenuity, creativity and above all curiosity, The Matter of Everything is an inspiring story of discovery, and a powerful reminder that progress is a function of our desire to know.
Praise for The Matter of Everything
“Kicking off with the discovery of X-rays towards the end of the nineteenth century to the massive colliders scientists dream of building today, The Matter of Everything is an impassioned, elegant history of particle physics and its applications. Dr. Sheehy adroitly brings together a glittering cast of characters -- from the famous giants of the field to the unjustly overlooked scientists whose shoulders they stood on -- to tell the story of the most fundamental of all sciences.” —Ananyo Bhattacharya, author of The Man From the Future
“The Matter of Everything is a magical tour of the great experiments defining the most incredible century in physics, which saw exploring the cutting edge of science move from tabletop curiosities to literally the world’s largest machines. Sheehy seamlessly weaves the science and history with why this matters to all of us: as she expertly illustrates, our quest to understand the tiniest of particles has had an enormous impact on technology, health and society, reaching far beyond the lab.” —Andrew Steele, author of Ageless
“This is story-telling at its very best and why I fell in love with physics. Sheehy's attention to detail shines through every story and yet there's a lightness of touch in the way she highlights the passion, drive, ingenuity and, ultimately, the sheer triumph of science in unlocking nature's secrets.” —Jim Al-Khalili, author of The World According to Physics
The Harvard Science Book Talks series is a collaboration between the Harvard University Division of Science, the Harvard Library, and Harvard Book Store. The series features talks by the authors of recently published books on a variety of science-related topics and is open to both the Harvard community and to the general public. Typically, lectures are followed by a book signing with the author and refreshments. Learn more and watch recordings of past talks here.
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