A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit

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Pantheon Books, 2005 - Science - 211 pages
16 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.

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Review: A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit

User Review  - John Wood - Goodreads

Occasionally I decide to read something a bit more educational. This collection of essays, by Alan Lightman, explores how we use science to understand our world. Included are essays on not only how we ... Read full review

Review: A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit

User Review  - Kay - Goodreads

Lightman is the rare scientist who has a dual career in the sciences and the humanities. With the insight of a poets he talks about the early loss of invention in the lives of so many scientists and ... Read full review


A Sense of the Mysterious
Inventions of the Mind

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About the author (2005)

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..

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