An Evening with Alan Lightman,
MIT Professor, Astrophysicist, internationally acclaimed science-writer and novelist
We are excited to welcome Alan Lightman to GUC! As both a distinguished physicist and an accomplished novelist, he is one of only a small number of people who straddle the sciences and the humanities. Dr. Lightman was the first professor at MIT to receive a joint appointment in the sciences and the humanities. His novel, Einstein’s Dreams (2004) was an international bestseller and has been translated into thirty languages.
While enjoying a few weeks last summer on the coast of Maine, I came across an article in Down East Magazine highlighting Dr. Lightman’s latest book, Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine. As one reviewer put it, “the book concerns science and religion, their different ways of knowing the world and their different methods for gaining that knowledge.” I was immediately intrigued.
After reading the book, along with his earlier book, Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew, I thought he would be an ideal speaker for GUC. My sense is that he would bring together our ongoing series of Religion and Science and also speak to our topic for the current year: What is the Meaning of Life?
On a whim, I wrote to him with an invitation and he wrote back immediately saying he was touched by my invitation and cut his honorarium in half to make it possible for us to arrange for his visit.
In a recent New York Times Book Review, Michael Shermer writes,
Science needs its poets, and Alan Lightman is the perfect amalgam of scientist (an astrophysicist) and humanist (a novelist who’s also a professor of the practice of humanities at M.I.T.), and his latest book, “Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine,” is an elegant and moving paean to our spiritual quest for meaning in an age of science.
Mark your calendars now! The evening will include a presentation by Dr. Lightman on the relationship between religion and science along with time for conversation with him on a range of related topics. The event will be free and open to everyone. Invite your friends.