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Quantum mechanics is the most important idea in physics, and physicists themselves readily admit that they don’t understand it. Genetics is another commonly misconceived area of science with the rise of new biomedical technologies and the popularity of at-home DNA testing kits. Fortunately for ALOUD audiences, we welcome two of the most celebrated science writers to help make sense of how we live in the world—through space and time, and what we pass along from generation to generation.  Carl Zimmer is celebrated New York Times columnist and science writer, whose most recent book, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity, weaves historical and current scientific research to present a new definition of what heredity is and how it is much bigger than genes we inherit from our ancestors. Joining Zimmer is Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, host of the Mindscape podcast, and bestselling author of The Big Picture, shares from his new book, Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime, where he demystifies the paradoxes of quantum mechanics. This illuminating wide-reaching conversation will take us from the single cells that comprise our own bodies to the wonders of the cosmos.

Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer is a columnist for the New York Times, where is his column “Matter” has appeared regularly since 2013. Over the course of his career, he has published 13 books about Science. His latest book is She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity. It won the 2019 National Academies Communication Award as well as many other honors.

Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, host of the Mindscape podcast, and author of From Eternity to Here, The Particle at the End of the Universe, and The Big Picture. He has been awarded prizes and fellowships by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the American Institute of Physics, and the Royal Society of London, among many others. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, writer Jennifer Ouellette.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the reservation policy for ALOUD?

    As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at 7 PM.

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

  • Where does ALOUD take place?

    Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.

  • Where should I park for ALOUD programs?

    We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. For more information, visit the Library’s website.

  • Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?

    We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.

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