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A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spiritby Alan Lightman
Synopses & Reviews
Unusually gifted as both a physicist and a novelist, Alan Lightman has lived in the dual worlds of
science and art for much of his life. In these brilliant essays, the two worlds meet. In A Sense of the Mysterious, Lightman records his personal struggles to reconcile certainty with uncertainty, logic with intuition, questions with answers and questions without. Lightman explores the emotional life of science, the power of metaphor and imagination in science, the creative moment, the different uses of language in science and literature, and the alternate ways in which scientists and humanists think about the world. Included are in-depth portraits of some of the great scientists of our time: Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Edward Teller, and astronomer Vera Rubin. Rather than finding a forbidding gulf between the two cultures, as did the physicist and novelist C. P. Snow fifty years ago, Lightman discovers complementary ways of looking at the world, both part of being human.
Original, thoughtful, and beautifully written, A Sense of the Mysterious confirms Alan Lightman’s unique position at the crossroads of science and art.
From the bestselling author of Einstein's Dreams comes this lyrical and insightful collection of science writing that delves into the mysteries of the scientific process and exposes its beautyand intrigue.In these brilliant essays, Lightman explores the emotional life of science, the power of imagination, the creative moment, and the alternate ways in which scientists and humanists think about the world. Alongthe way, he provides in-depth portraits of some of the great geniuses of our time, including Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Edward Teller, and astronomer Vera Rubin. Thoughtful, beautifully written, and wonderfullyoriginal, A Sense of the Mysterious confirms Alan Lightman's unique position at the crossroads of science and art.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Alan Lightman was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and educated at Princeton and at the California Institute of Technology, where he received a Ph.D. in theoretical physics. An active research scientist in astronomy and physics for two decades, he has also taught both subjects on the faculties of Harvard and MIT. Lightman’s novels include Einstein’s Dreams, which was an international best seller; Good Benito; The Diagnosis, which was a finalist for the National Book Award; and Reunion. His essays have appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Nature, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker, among other publications. He lives in Massachusetts, where he is adjunct professor of humanities at MIT.
Einstein’s Dreams, The Diagnosis, and Reunion are available in paperback from Vintage Books..
Table of Contents
Sense of the mysterious — Words — Metaphor in science — Inventions of the mind — Contradictory genius — One and only — Megaton man — Dark matter — Scientist dying young — Portrait of the writer as a young scientist — Prisoner of the wired world — Acknowledgments.
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