In this seminar, we will read together and discuss one brilliant and fascinating poem, Lucretius’ "On the Nature of the Universe." Written in Latin more than two thousand years ago, within the context of the late Republic of ancient Rome, the poem seeks to remove your fear of the gods and of death so that you can live a happy life. For Lucretius, the key to losing your fear is to understand the physical laws of the universe. In this philosophical treatise, written in beautiful poetry, Lucretius describes a theory of the universe according to which nothing exists but atoms and void, argues that the soul is made of these and dissolves upon the death of the body, explains the operation of the senses, considers the origin of the world and the beginning of civilization, and surveys a wide range of natural phenomena (especially weather, seismic events, bodies of water, magnetism, and disease). This is a poem likely to be interesting to people interested in poetry and literature, in science, in philosophy, or in ancient Rome. Please note: we will read "On the Nature of the Universe" in English translation, and no knowledge of Latin is expected.