November 30

UCLA Friends Open Mind Program Heartbreak

Open Mind

Tuesday, December 6
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM PTRegistration is required for this free live private Zoom event.

In her new book, Heartbreak – A Personal and Scientific Journey,renowned journalist and author, Florence Williams, offers a gripping account of grief and healing. Through a remarkable merging of science and self-discovery, Williams explores the fascinating, cutting-edge science of heartbreak while seeking creative ways to mend her own. With warmth, daring, wit and candor, Williams offers new evidence-based ways to think about loneliness, health and what it means to fall in and out of love. When her twenty-five-year marriage suddenly falls apart, Florence Williams expects the loss to hurt. But when she starts feeling physically sick, losing weight and sleep, she sets out in pursuit of rational explanation. She travels to the frontiers of the science of “social pain” to learn why heartbreak hurts so much—and why so much of the conventional wisdom about it is wrong.Soon Williams finds herself on a surprising path that leads her from neurogenomic research laboratories to trying MDMA in a Portland therapist’s living room, from divorce workshops to the mountains and rivers that restore her. She tests her blood for genetic markers of grief, undergoes electrical shocks while looking at pictures of her ex, and discovers that our immune cells listen to loneliness. Searching for insight as well as personal strategies to game her way back to health, she seeks out new relationships and ventures into the wilderness in search of an extraordinary antidote: awe.Florence Williams is also the author of Breasts, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and The Nature Fix. A contributing editor at Outside magazine, her writing has appeared in the New York TimesNational Geographic, and many other outlets. She lives in Washington, DC.Steve Cole, PhD will join Ms. Williams in discussion. Dr. Cole is a Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His research focuses on the biological pathways by which social environments influence gene expression by immune cell genomes, as well as viral and cancer genomes. He and his colleagues study the health effects of loneliness on illness and cell activity.