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Alan Lightman (lightman@mit.edu)

Alan Lightman

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The Atlantic, Granta, Harper's, Nautilus, the New Yorker, and the New York Review of Books, among other publications. His novel Einstein’s Dreams was an international bestseller and has been translated into thirty languages. His novel The Diagnosis was a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award in fiction. His most recent books are Screening Room, A Memoir of the South (2015), named one of the best books of 2015 by the Washington Post, The Accidental Universe (2016), named by Brainpickings as one of the best books of 2016, Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine (2018), an extended essay on the intersection of science and spirituality and the basis for an essay on the PBS Newshour, and In Praise of Wasting Time (2018), which investigates the creativity born from allowing our minds to freely roam. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has won numerous other awards and is the recipient of five honorary degrees. Lightman is also the founding director of the Harpswell Foundation, which works to advance a new generation of women leaders in Southeast Asia.

  • In Praise of Wasting Time
Alan Lightman
TED Books, 2018

    In Praise of Wasting Time

    Professor Alan Lightman investigates the creativity born from allowing our minds to freely roam, without attempting to accomplish anything and without any assigned tasks.

     
  • Searching for Stars on an Island in MaineAlan Lightman

    Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine

    As a physicist, Alan Lightman has always held a scientific view of the world. As a teenager experimenting in his own laboratory, he was impressed by the logic and materiality of a universe governed by a small number of disembodied forces and laws that decree all things in the world are material and impermanent. But one summer evening, while looking at the stars from a small boat at sea, Lightman was overcome by the overwhelming sensation that he was merging with something larger than himself–a grand and eternal unity, a hint of something absolute and immaterial. Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine is Lightman’s exploration of these seemingly contradictory impulses.

     
  • Mr g: A Novel About the Creation
Pantheon, 2012

    Mr g: A Novel About the Creation

    “’As I remember, I had just woken up from a nap when I decided to create the universe.’ So begins Alan Lightman’s playful and profound new novel, Mr g.”

     
  • The Accidental Universe

    The Accidental Universe

    “These phenomena have been explained as necessary consequences of the fundamental laws of nature. This long and appealing trend may be coming to an end.”

     
  • Einstein’s Dreams

    Einstein’s Dreams

    Alan Lightman’s “modern classic”, a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905.