Alan Lightman Quotes

Alan Paige Lightman is an American physicist, writer, and social entrepreneur. In his scientific work, he has made fundamental contributions to the astrophysics of black holes and to the behavior of matter and radiation under conditions of extreme temperatures and densities. He has served on the faculties of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is currently professor of the practice of the humanities at MIT. He is widely known as the author of the international bestseller Einstein's Dreams. Einstein's Dreams has been adapted into dozens of independent theatrical productions and is one of the most widely used "common books" on college campuses. Lightman's novel The Diagnosis was a finalist for the National Book Award. Lightman was the first professor at MIT to receive a joint appointment in the sciences and the humanities. He is the recipient of five honorary degrees. He is also the founder of the Harpswell Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower a new generation of women leaders in Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia

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Alan Lightman


I have for a long time loved fabulist, imaginative fiction, such as the writing of Italo Calvino, Jose Saramago, Michael Bulgakov, and Salman Rushdie. I also like the magic realist writers, such as Borges and Marquez, and feel that interesting truths can be learned about our world by exploring highly distorted worlds.

Alan Lightman


If I were not a writer, I would spend more time doing the things that I am already doing, which include doing research in physics, teaching, and running a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower women in Cambodia.

Alan Lightman


I've taken a philosophical position on e-mail. Although I think it's a wonderful communication technology, and it has a lot of good uses, it is abused quite a lot.

Alan Lightman


All writers have roots they draw from - travel, work, family. My roots are in science and it is fertile ground for fiction.

Alan Lightman


I have always loved magic realism as a form of writing. I have also been fascinated for a long time with the intersection of science and religion.

Alan Lightman


For me, consciousness is the most interesting unsolved problem of science, and, in fact, we may never know what it is about a particular arrangement of neurons that gives rise to consciousness. Our consciousness, like the air we breathe or like the passage of time, is central to our existence as intelligent beings.

Alan Lightman


For my students who are trying to learn the craft of writing in a writing class - contemporary literature is what's most useful.

Alan Lightman


I think e-mail is representative of our fast food mentality in the United States, where everything has gotten faster and faster, and we're required to respond to inputs more quickly with less time for thought and reflection. I believe that we need to slow down.

Alan Lightman


The world is moving faster and faster, but where are we going?I think one of the reasons why things are getting blurry is because there is not much meaning.

Alan Lightman


I oppose any belief that contradicts experimental evidence as determined by the methods of science. All beliefs not in such contradiction may be considered as faith. Whether faith in a particular belief is beneficial or not is another matter.

Alan Lightman


With a background in science I am extremely interested in the meeting ground of science, theology, and philosophy, especially the ethical questions at the border of science and theology.

Alan Lightman


A life is a moment in season. A life is one snowfall. A life is one autumn day. A life is the delicate, rapid edge of a closing door's shadow. A life is a brief movement of arms and of legs.

Alan Lightman


Music is, of course, a universal emotional experience, cutting across cultures and languages. I studied piano for ten years as a child and consider that experience one of the most valuable in my life.

Alan Lightman


As both a scientist and a humanist myself, I have struggled to understand different claims to knowledge, and I have eventually come to a formulation of the kind of religious belief that would, in my view, be compatible with science.

Alan Lightman


I consider myself a spiritual atheist. I certainly believe there are forces bigger than ourselves, and that we should be searching, individually, for meaning in our lives. But I don't believe there's a supreme being, an intelligence that created everything.

Alan Lightman