- This event has passed.
- March 10
- Event Categories:
- Author Events, Discussion
The Magick of Physics:
Uncovering the Fantastical
Phenomena in Everyday Life
in conversation with NORMAN Y. YAO
Harvard Book Store, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome FELIX FLICKER—lecturer at Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy—for a discussion of his new book The Magick of Physics: Uncovering the Fantastical Phenomena in Everyday Life. He will be joined in conversation by Harvard Professor of Physics, NORMAN Y. YAO.
A Return to In-Person Events
Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Science Center events until further notice:
- All attendees are encouraged to wear masks. Performers may be unmasked.
- All attendees must attest to their current health status (e.g., no current infection, symptoms or recent exposure to others with COVID-19)
- All attendees must self-attest to the following:
- I am fully vaccinated against COVID-19 using a vaccine authorized by the FDA or WHO and have received my booster (if eligible), or
- I qualify for exemption based upon age, a medical contraindication, or firmly held religious belief.
- I also agree to immediately share with Harvard University Health Services any proof of my vaccination status if I am identified as an exposed person through public health contact tracing efforts.
- If not fully vaccinated, I have received a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test result in the last 24 hours.
For more information regarding Harvard University’s Covid-19 safety protocols, please visit their website here.
A signing line will form at the Cabot Science Library following the event.
General admission tickets includes admission for one and one hardcover copy of The Magick of Physics. Harvard students and faculty can select the ticket “Free RSVP for Harvard University Students/Faculty” for admission only. A Harvard ID will be required at check-in. Non-Harvard students can register under “Free Student Ticket”. A student ID will be required at check-in.
About The Magick of Physics
If you were to present the feats of modern science to someone from the past, those feats would surely be considered magic. Theoretical physicist Felix Flicker proves that they are indeed magic—just familiar magic. The name for this magic is “condensed matter physics.” Most people haven’t heard of the field, yet more than a third of physicists identify as condensed matter researchers, making it the most active area in the subject—with good reason. Condensed matter is the solids, liquids, and gasses that surround us—and the more exotic matters—which dictate every aspect of our present existence, and hold the keys to a brighter future, from quantum computing to real-life invisibility cloaks.
Flicker teases out the magical threads that run through our daily lives. Condensed matter physics allows you to create anything abiding by the laws of reality—and often, we find that those laws can be bent. Flicker explains how to create new particles which never existed before, how to make crystals shoot out such intense light they can cut through metal, how to separate the poles of a magnet. And more.
The book’s endearing conceit is that you, the reader, are an aspiring wizard whose ability to cast spells (i.e. to do science) is dependent on your grasp of the fundamentals of our universe. This book contains no equations or charts—instead, it’s full of owls and mountains and infinite libraries, and staffs and wands, and martial arts and mythical islands ruled by sage knot-makers. Part of the book’s magic is that, for all these fanciful trappings, it still feels practical and applicable. The Magick of Physics will open your eyes to the miracles that surround us.