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My college had a class called “Senior Symposium”. The idea was that all seniors would have a special course where they would read one book a week, with no other assigned work or tests. This was fantastic, largely because it was the only senior course to be taken by people from every discipline.

When I was a junior, and sadly unable to participate, they read Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. This is, quite simply, my favorite play ever written. It takes wildly different threads — from thermodynamics to Byron studies to Fermat’s last theorem to carnal embrace (“Throwing your arms around a side of meat”)— and weaves them together in a brilliant way. The story is compelling, the characters are interesting, and the science is explained clearly. For example, in a scene where the main character wonders about the nature of time, and stumbles on the second law of thermodynamics:

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