A talk by James D. Livingston, senior lecturer in materials science and engineering, about his recently published book Driving Force: The Natural Magic of Magnets, will kick off a new reading series called "authors@ mit.edu," jointly sponsored by The MIT Press Bookstore and the MIT Libraries.
In Driving Force (Harvard University Press), Dr. Livingston discusses the many hidden magnets that are part of daily life-for example, those that provide electricity to homes, store information on credit cards, operate VCRs and automobiles and play key roles in medical care. In nontechnical language, he presents the history of magnets (such as how they guided-or luckily misguided-Columbus, mesmerized 18th-century Paris, led Einstein to the theory of relativity and helped defeat Hitler's U-boats), and he explains the latest developments in the science of magnets and what the future may hold.
His talk will take place on Monday, Sept. 16 at 5:30pm in the Humanities Reading Room of Hayden Library (Rm 14S-200). He will also sign copies of the book which will be available for purchase. Refreshments will be served, and the event is free and open to the public.
Michael Milburn and Sheree Conrad, psychology professors at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, will continue the series with a talk on The Politics of Denial on Monday, Oct. 28 at 7:30pm in Killian Hall. Future readings will include William Mitchell, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, on City of Bits, and Marc Hauser, associate professor of anthropology and psychology at Harvard, on The Evolution of Communication. All three books are published by the MIT Press.
For more information on the reading series, call the MIT Press Bookstore at x3-5249 or email
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 11, 1996.