Tuesday, September 2

Harvard Book Store Presents (Past Events)Special Events Archive

Randall Munroe

*SOLD OUT* Ticket Information

Randall Munroe discusses What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Please note that this event has been moved to Tuesday, September 2 from its original date of Thursday, September 4.

$26 tickets on sale August 12 at 9am (includes one admission and one copy of What If?) at Harvard.com. Unable to attend? Order the book(s) or pre-order a signed copy from Harvard Book Store. No Brattle Passes.

Harvard Book Store welcomes RANDALL MUNROE, creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, for a presentation of his book What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions.

Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe’s iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have a large and passionate following.

Fans of xkcd ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent the speed of light? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there was a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last?

In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by signature xkcd comics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion.

The book features new and never-before-answered questions, along with updated and expanded versions of the most popular answers from the xkcd website. What If? will be required reading for xkcd fans and anyone who loves to ponder the hypothetical.


Randall Munroe is the author of the popular webcomic xkcd and the science question-and-answer blog What If. Randall was born in Easton, Pennsylvania and grew up outside Richmond, Virginia. After studying physics at Christopher Newport University, he got a job building robots at NASA Langley Research Center. In 2006, he left NASA to draw comics on the internet full-time, supporting himself through the sale of xkcd t-shirts, prints, posters, and books. He likes candlelight dinners and long walks on the beach. Very long walks. Lots of people say they like long walks on the beach, but then they get out on the beach and after just an hour or two, they say they’re getting tired. Bring a tent. He lives in Massachusetts.

Credit: Randall Munroe