Virtual Event: Stephon Alexander

presenting

Fear of a Black Universe:
An Outsider's Guide to the Future of Physics

in conversation with C. BRANDON OGBUNU

Date

Oct
20
Wednesday
October 20, 2021
6:00 PM ET

Location

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.

Tickets

Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome cosmologist STEPHON ALEXANDER for a discussion of his latest book, Fear of a Black Universe: An Outsider's Guide to the Future of Physics. He will be joined in conversation by C. BRANDON OGBUNU, Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University.

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About Fear of a Black Universe

Years ago, cosmologist Stephon Alexander received life-changing advice: to discover real physics, he needed to stop memorizing and start taking risks. In Fear of a Black Universe, Alexander shows that great physics requires us to think outside the mainstream—to improvise and rely on intuition.

His approach leads him to three principles that shape all theories of the universe: the principle of invariance, the quantum principle, and the principle of emergence. Alexander uses them to explore some of physics' greatest mysteries, from what happened before the big bang to how the universe makes consciousness possible. Drawing on his experience as a Black physicist, he makes a powerful case for diversifying our scientific communities. Compelling and empowering, Fear of a Black Universe offers remarkable insight into the art of physics.

Praise for Fear of a Black Universe

"The rabbit hole gets wrestled here. An old school saying applies: the more you know, the more you don’t know. Dance along this read into the unknown and find out that this book may be the best ever answer to ‘What is soul?'" —Chuck D, rapper and co-founder of Public Enemy

“The book reminds me of Hawking’s A Brief History of Time—very brief and very ambitious. It covers an enormous amount of material and offers insights not only into physics but how we do physics and who we are as physicists.” —David Spergel, winner of the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

“Einstein famously remarked that mystery is the source of all true art and science. This book explores some of the biggest mysteries of all: dark matter, dark energy, origin of the Universe, and origin of life—in ways that are unconventional and enthralling, yet down to Earth. We go on a journey with a brave adventurer for whom physics is a passionate pursuit of beauty and truth. And his passion shines through on every page.” —Edward Frenkel, author of Love and Math

C. Brandon Ogbunu
C. Brandon Ogbunu

C. Brandon Ogbunu

C. Brandon Ogbunu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University. His work utilizes a range of methods, from experimental evolution, to biochemistry, applied mathematics, and evolutionary computation all towards a refined understanding of complex systems and disease phenomena. In addition, he runs a parallel research program at the intersection of science, society, and culture. In this capacity, he explores technical questions about the role of society and culture on complex biological phenomena. He is currently a contributing editor at RadioLab, an Ideas contributor at Wired, and has written for a range of publications including Scientific American, The Undefeated, Undark, and the Boston Review.

Stephon Alexander
Stephon Alexander

Stephon Alexander

Stephon Alexander is a professor of theoretical physics at Brown University, an established jazz musician, and an immigrant from Trinidad who grew up in the Bronx. He is the 2020 president of the National Society of Black Physicists and a founding faculty Director of Brown University's Presidential Scholars program, which supports research and academic excellence for underrepresented students. In addition to his academic achievements, he was the scientific consultant to Ava DuVernay for the feature film A Wrinkle in Time. His work has been featured by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, WIRED, and many other outlets. He has been a guest on Nova, the Brian Lehrer Show, and Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk, among much else.

Photo Credit: Heather Goodell

 

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Harvard Science Book Talks

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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