A Sense of the Mysterious
Science and the Human Spirit
By Alan Lightman
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400078196, 224pp.)
Publication Date: January 3, 2006
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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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 beauty and 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. Along the 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 wonderfully original, A Sense of the Mysterious confirms Alan Lightman's unique position at the crossroads of science and art.
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..
"Splendidly illuminating... Imprinted with Lightman's scientific wonderment and poetic grace."
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Original. . . . Heartfelt. . . . Illuminating. . . . Lightman writes with his characteristic, unmannered leanness. His style takes something from the scientists who ‘want to hear that call of certain truth, that clear note of a struck bell.’” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A fine introduction to the excitement and pleasures of science by a scientist who is a humanist in the noblest sense of the word."—Los Angeles Times
"This slender volume mixes insightful scientific biographies with revealing autobiographical accounts and leavens them both with clearly told physics lessons for lay readers." —The Boston Globe
“Wonderfully perceptive. . . . Finely chiseled essays.” —Scientific American