That elusive Holy Grail of modern physics, A Theory of Everything (ToE), would explain the universe in a single set of equations. Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking tackled the problem during their lifetimes and the quest continues today in laboratories around the world.
Leaving string theory, galaxy clusters, and supersymmetry to the Quantum Computer and Hadron Collider crowd, Pedersen has taken up the rest-that is, A Theory of Everything Else (ToEE), based on her own groundbreaking experiences as a dog walker, camp counselor, and Bingo caller. Pedersen's essays are a series of colorful helium balloons that entertain as well as affirm and uplift. Why, she ponders in one essay, are thousands perishing as a result of assault weapons, carbon emissions, forest fires, pesticides, and processed foods-and yet how lawn darts were banned in the 1980s after two people died? In A Theory of Everything Else, Pedersen vividly demonstrates how life can appear to grind us down while it's actually polishing us up-and why everyone wants to live a long time but no one wants to grow old.