Helen is one of the brightest minds of her generation: a young physicist on a path to solve high-temperature superconductivity (which could save the planet). When she discovers that her brilliant adviser is involved in a sex scandal, Helen is torn: should she give up on her work with him? Or should she accompany him to a controversial university, founded by a provocateur billionaire, that hosts academics other schools have thrown out?
Helen decides she must go--her work is too important. She brings along her partner, Hew, who is much less sanguine about living on an island where the disgraced and deplorable get to operate with impunity. On campus, Helen finds herself drawn to an iconoclastic older novelist, while Hew stews in an increasingly radical protest movement. Their rift deepens until both confront choices that will reshape their lives--and maybe the world.
Irreverent, generous, anchored in character, and provocative without being polemical, How I Won a Nobel Prize illuminates the compromises we'll make for progress, what it means to be a good person, and how to win a Nobel Prize. Turns out all of it would be simple--if you could run the numbers.
Julius Taranto's writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Review of Books, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Phoebe. He attended Yale Law School and Pomona College. He lives in New York.
Taranto will be in conversation with Karen Heller. Heller is the national features writer for the Washington Post, reporting on a wide array of subjects, including politics and popular culture, and has profiled many authors. She previously worked as a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary.