To The Last Breath: Science & a Journey of Extremes
In 1997, physicist Francis Slakey set out to become the first person to climb the highest mountain on every continent and surf every ocean. Over the next decade, the challenges he faces and the people he encounters -- a Lama who gives him a mysterious amulet, a life-or-death choice atop Everest, an ambush in Indonesia -- change the course of his life, and foster an understanding of how science can address social problems.
Amazon "Best Book" of the Month, May 2012:
Francis Slakey committed himself to climbing the highest peak on every continent and surfing every ocean. The adventure pieces of To the Last Breath are first-rate and remarkable in themselves; whether he's dangling on the face of El Capitan after catastrophic equipment failure, summiting Everest solo in a blizzard, or leaping from the roof of a building into a shallow swimming pool as a troubled teenager, Slakey's prose is vivid and intense, worthy of the genre's best. But additionally, Slakey has threaded an epic adventure tale with a much more personal journey, creating a single, riveting tale of self-discovery.
In the bestselling tradition of Into Thin Air and Born to Run, Francis Slakey takes readers on a physical and spiritual journey to the most extreme points on Earth and deep inside the human psyche. To the Last Breath: A Memoir of Going to Extremes.
Before Georgetown physics professor Francis Slakey decided to climb the highest mountain on every continent and surf every ocean, he had arranged his schedule to match his personal life: completely detached from other people. His lectures were mechanical; his relationships were little more than ways to fill the evenings. But as his journey veered off course, Slakey was ambushed by guerillas, survive a treacherous storm in Antarctica, confronted a fatal decision on Everest—and every escape from death brought him closer to life.
A gripping adventure of the body and mind, To the Last Breath depicts in crystal-clear prose the quest that led Slakey around the globe, challenged his fiercely held beliefs, and opened his heart. Expanding his tale with riveting science and arresting insight into our relation to the earth and one another, Slakey takes readers across the plateaus of Tibet, into the heat of Tanzania, to the desolate edge of the Arctic, and beyond.
Presentation will be followed by a reception and book signing. Books will be available for purchase onsite for $25. Registrants are allowed to bring one guest.
FRANCIS SLAKEY is the Upjohn Lecturer on Physics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and an Associate Director at the American Physical Society, where his focus is the intersection of science and society. The founder and co-director of the Program on Science in the Public Interest, a Lemelson Associate of the Smithsonian Institution, and a MacArthur Scholar, Dr. Slakey has been featured by NPR, National Geographic, and others, and his writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Slate, and Scientific American. In recognition of his adventures, he carried the Olympic Torch from the steps of the U.S. Capitol as part of the 2002 Olympic Games. In July of 2009 he became the first person to summit the highest mountain on every continent and surf every ocean.
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