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A Sense of the Mysterious

Science and the Human Spirit

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Description

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--physics, astronomy, mathamatics--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.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 29, 2004 – Not unlike its author, this collection is difficult to categorize. Lightman, a physicist and author of four acclaimed novels (The Diagnosis was a National Book Award finalist) as well as several books on science, offers essays (some recent, some dating back as far as 1984) that are neither scientifically substantial nor intellectually lightweight, all touching in one sense or another on the human dimensions of science the passion it inspires, the use of mathematical abstraction in granting us the ability to grasp the material world, the wonder of Einstein's "sense of otherness... even alienation." He seems to be thinking out loud. The pieces oddly mix personal observation with narrative biography and evolve out of jazzlike riffs on a given topic. Whether the topic is the life of a prominent scientist (like Albert Einstein, Edward Teller or Richard Feynman) or the role of metaphor in science, each essay circles around its subject. The book's value lies in Lightman's perspective rather than in his handling of concrete information; musing on the difficulties of reaching the age of 35 (in a profession where one is then past one's prime) are far more intriguing and far more revealing than when attempting to draw something new out of the oft-told biographies of Nobel Prize winners like Einstein or Feynman.
A Sense of the Mysterious
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: Jan 18, 2005
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 224 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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