The Wave Named Next Synergy Common Reading Selection

Monday, April 01, 2013

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey has been named the 2013-2014 Synergy common reading selection. Told through the eyes of both scientists and surfers, the book explores unanswered questions and uncharted challenges as man confronts nature. Its interdisciplinary focus and variety of themes, including service, globalization, risk taking, commercialization of sports, environment, climate change, economics, history, and culture, will appeal to a wide range of students, faculty and staff.

As scientists ponder the phenomenon of giant waves, extreme surfers view them as the ultimate challenge, flying around the world to ride the ocean's most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board 70-80 foot high waves. Casey follows this unique tribe of people as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100-foot wave.

In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists' efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves-from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.

The book's publisher, Knopf Doubleday, writes:
"For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dismissed these stories-waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet's waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea-including several that approached 100 feet."

This selection was endorsed by the Synergy committee for its potential to engage students as they explore the risks and rewards that come with both researching and enjoying the ocean, leading to a greater appreciation and connection. Faculty members are encouraged to incorporate the book into their course curriculum in the 2013-2014 academic year.

All students are encouraged to participate in the Synergy Common Reading Experience, each incoming first-year student will receive a copy of The Wave at orientation as a required summer reading. Over the next academic year, the book will be used in First-Year Seminar and courses as determined by faculty. Faculty are encouraged to incorporate the book and/or its themes into their Fall and Spring courses. Several events including a keynote speaker, a faculty panel, discussion groups and films will be announced for the Fall semester.

Contact Gina Garera, Synergy Coordinator, with questions at x23921 or