“Basically, I’m holding their hands while blowing their minds.”
This is how cosmologist Paul Sutter explained his book, Your Place in the Universe, to me. On paper, it sounds like something Rajesh Koothrappali from “The Big Bang Theory” would say, followed by the CBS laugh track. But when Sutter says it, he’s earnest and unassuming.
Sutter wrote his book to tell “the fun, long story of this journey” of the cosmic evolution and how we came to understand it. What could be more fun, he said, than trying to understand the universe?
The challenge he encountered while writing the book wasn’t the research or the structure of the manuscript; it was how to talk about something as complex and speculative as the physics of the early universe. A lot of his writing process involved consuming as much information about his topic as possible and then translating the narrative into his own conversational tone.
“The universe and its history are big, messy, and fun to learn about,” he said. “I love talking about what I do and sparking curiosity, especially with kids.”
Sutter said he loves Q&A sessions because he enjoys hearing what people are curious about. And kids, he said, are always asking about throwing various things into black holes. That would be worth the laugh track.
Join us for a conversation with Sutter at The Challenger Center (200 S. Duval Street), Thursday, April 18. Doors open and books available for purchase at 6:30 pm; Sutter’s talk (which is free and open to the public) begins in the planetarium at 7:00 pm with book signing after.