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Virtual Event: Robert N. Cahn and Chris Quigg presenting Grace in All Simplicity: Beauty, Truth, and Wonders on the Path to the Higgs Boson and New Laws of Nature

December 12, 2023 @ 6:00 pm

 |  FREE


December 12, 2023
6:00 pm
Event Category:


Harvard Book Store
(617) 661-1515

Grace in All Simplicity

Harvard Book Store, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome ROBERT N. CAHN—Senior Scientist, Emeritus at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory—and CHRIS QUIGG—Distinguished Scientist Emeritus at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory—for a discussion of their new book Grace in All Simplicity: Beauty, Truth, and Wonders on the Path to the Higgs Boson and New Laws of Nature. The discussion will be introduced and moderated by MELISSA FRANKLIN—Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University.


Click below to RSVP this virtual event. Registered attendees will receive their link to access the event on Zoom 24 hours before the event.

About Grace in All Simplicity

How do the remarkable recent discoveries of the Higgs boson, dark matter, and dark energy connect with the equally revolutionary discoveries in centuries past? In Grace in All Simplicity, readers will delight in Cahn and Quigg’s engaging prose and see how the infinite and the infinitesimal are joined. Today, physicists and astronomers are exploring distances from a billionth of a billionth of the human scale to the entire cosmos, and contemplating time intervals that range from less than a trillionth of a trillionth of a second out to far longer than the age of the universe. Leaving home in this metaphorical way requires devising new instruments that spectacularly expand our senses and conceiving original ways of thinking that expand our minds. This is at once an act of audacity and an exercise in humility.

Grace in All Simplicity narrates the saga of how we have prospected for some of Nature’s most tightly held secrets, the basic constituents of matter and the fundamental forces that rule them. Our current understanding of the world (and universe) we inhabit is the result of curiosity, diligence, and daring, of abstraction and synthesis, and of an abiding faith in the value of exploration. In these pages we will meet scientists of both past and present. These men and women are professional scientists and amateurs, the eccentric and the conventional, performers and introverts. Scientists themselves, Cahn and Quigg convey their infectious joy as they search for new laws of nature.

Join the adventure as scientists ascend mountain tops and descend into caverns deep underground, travel to the coldest places on Earth, and voyage back in time to near the birth of the Universe. Visit today’s great laboratories and the astounding instruments they house. Grace in All Simplicity is a thrilling voyage filled with improbable discoveries and the extraordinary community of people who make them. Together, we will travel the path to the Higgs boson, weigh the evidence for subliminal dark matter, and learn what makes scientists invoke a mysterious agent named “dark energy.” We will behold the emergence of a compelling picture of matter and forces, simple in its structure, graceful in the interplay of its parts, but still tantalizingly incomplete.

Praise for Grace in All Simplicity

“In Grace in All Simplicity, Cahn and Quigg share with us their ring-side view of the discoveries that led to our current picture of our most fundamental physical laws. Ironically, the path taken that led to our emerging view of the Universe is neither simple or graceful, but spell-binding and charming in all its human complexities.” —Professor Steven Chu, Nobel laureate, Professor of Physics, Molecular and Cellular Physiology and Environmental Science and Engineering, Stanford University

“Engaging and captivating, Grace in All Simplicity is filled with riveting stories of the ups and downs of the remarkable scientists who made key experimental and theoretical advances in the search for a fundamental theory that might explain it all. The last chapter on ‘The Best of All Possible Worlds?’ is itself worth getting this book.” —E. William Colglazier, former science and technology adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State, former executive officer of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences

“Cahn and Quigg regale us with non-stop fascinating stories about the quirky characters and inventive experiments that have built our understanding of the physical world and how it works.  And those physicists, their experiments—and the rules of our universe that they discovered—really are quirky!  A rare insider view into the dramatic developments of particle physics and cosmology.” —Saul Perlmutter, Nobel Laureate in Physics, Professor of Physics at University of California, Berkeley