Origins: The Lives and Worlds of Modern Cosmologists

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Harvard University Press, 1992 - Biography & Autobiography - 563 pages

Origins reveals the human being within the scientist in a study of the philosophical, personal, and social factors that enter into the scientific process. Twenty-seven active cosmologists--including Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose, Steven Weinberg, Vera Rubin, Allan Sandage, Margaret Geller, and Alan Guth--talk candidly about their childhoods and early influences, their motivations, prejudices, and worldviews. The book's lucid introduction traces the explosion of new ideas that has recently shaken cosmological thinking. Origins explores not just the origin of the universe but also the origins of scientific thought.

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Origins: the lives and worlds of modern cosmologists

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In these interviews with 27 leading figures in contemporary cosmology, the authors--themselves physicists--reveal a diverse and colorful group. Most interesting are revelations about the scientists ... Read full review

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About the author (1992)

Alan Lightman was born in Memphis, Tennessee on November 28, 1948. After completing an A.B. at Princeton University in 1970, a Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology in 1974, and postdoctoral studies at Cornell University in 1976, he moved directly into academia, teaching astronomy and physics at Harvard University, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the 1980s, he found a way to combine his literary and scientific interests when he began to write essays about science. He explored astronomy, cosmology, particle physics, space exploration, and the life of a scientist, writing about these topics in a way that makes them understandable to the average reader. Many of his essays can be found in the collections Time Travel and Papa Joe's Pipe and A Modern-Day Yankee in a Connecticut Court and Other Essays on Science. He is the author of Ancient Light: Our Changing View of the Universe, which won the Boston Globe's 1991 Critics' Choice award for non-fiction; and is co-author of Origins: The Lives and Worlds of Modern Cosmologists, which received an award from the Association of American Publishers in 1990. In the 1990's, he branched out into fiction, although still with a focus on science. His novels include Einstein's Dreams, Good Benito, and The Diagnosis.

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