In which I become obsessed with physics…
Despite having a super non-scientific brain, I really related to Christopher’s love of math, physics, and astronomy in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Even though I ended up in the field of communications, I envy those in sectors in which there’s always a right answer, a concrete solution, no matter how long it may take to arrive at it. There’s beauty in certainty—a point echoed throughout Christopher’s escapades in The Curious Incident... And I should know. Last year, I nabbed a copy of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time from our shelves for a work book club with fellow, well, nerds. I’m certain I didn’t understand 90 percent of what was in there, but I was hooked on physics—or, my amateur, bleary version of it. Before long, I had entered into something of an obsession. I needed more info and I needed it now.
Fortunately, the Free Library was there to help, ready to provide me with all sorts of content to explore my new fixation…
- Books, books, and more books
A Brief History of Time was just the jumping off point. From there I grabbed a bevy of other physics tomes—histories, theories, even workbooks with, you know, math problems in ‘em—from the Free Library’s rich and deep collections.
Our renowned Author Events series serves up a number of terrific science lectures each year and archives every last one of them as podcasts you can download or stream. I dug into talks by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Max Tegmark, Lisa Randall, and many more, in which these world-renowned scientists dial back their super brains and make the world of physics a bit more serviceable for all us mere mortals out there.
When I ran out of podcasts to obsess over, I headed over to Hoopla, the digital media service that hooks users into free streaming video and audio content. There I found the four-part series The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, who has made a career of explaining physics in a fun way to all of us amateur obsessives. It was so good that it even helped me to understand wormholes… for like three seconds before I was confused again.
- Online Learning
The Free Library’s Digital Learning portal further directed me to the Kahn Academy, where I could watch an instructional video on string theory 800 times and feel fulfilled, even though I still couldn’t quite explain it to you. But I totally get it in my heart [cough, cough].
So, by now you’ve assessed that I didn’t quit my job at the Free Library, go back to college, and start a career as the next Nobel-winning nuclear physicist. But I did feed my thirst for knowledge, no matter how silly it might’ve seemed to those watching me struggle along.
Has this year’s One Book selection inspired you to dig deeper into any of the subjects it touches on, from science to Sherlock Holmes? Whatever it may be, the Free Library’s got your back with books, lectures, workshops, movies—everything you could possibly want to feed your mind… and then some.
Go ahead, get obsessed!
**Check back every #OneBookWednesday during the Reading Period for some more One Book food-for-thought!**