Upcoming Virtual Event

Virtual Event: Alan Lightman

presenting

Probable Impossibilities:
Musings on Beginnings and Endings

in conversation with JANNA LEVIN

Date

Mar
2
Tuesday
March 2, 2021
7:00 PM

Location

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.

Tickets

Free - $3 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcomes ALAN LIGHTMAN—author of the acclaimed, bestselling novels Einstein's Dreams, The Diagnosis, and Three Flames—for a discussion of his latest book, Probable Impossibilities: Musings on Beginnings and Endings. He will be joined in conversation by award-winning cosmologist and novelist JANNA LEVIN, author of Black Hole Survival Guide.

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While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $3 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of Probable Impossibilities on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.

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About Probable Impossibilities

Can space be divided into smaller and smaller units, ad infinitum? Does space extend to larger and larger regions, on and on to infinity? Is consciousness reducible to the material brain and its neurons? What was the origin of life, and can biologists create life from scratch in the lab?

Physicist and novelist Alan Lightman, whom the Washington Post has called "the poet laureate of science writers," explores these questions and more—from the anatomy of a smile to the capriciousness of memory to the specialness of life in the universe to what came before the Big Bang. Probable Impossibilities is a deeply engaging consideration of what we know of the universe, of life and the mind, and of things vastly larger, and smaller, than ourselves.

Praise for Probable Impossibilities

“Lightman’s awe about the physical world is infectious. He speaks with the authority of a scientist, specifically a former Harvard astrophysicist, and the eloquence of a novelist . . . Probable Impossibilities offers a primer on many of modern science’s most mind-blowing discoveries, incorporating profiles of scientists performing cutting-edge research. Lightman weaves his own story and voice though the book.” —Publishers Weekly

“Radiant . . . Provocative . . . Lightman, matching fact with awe, pilots readers on enlivening and enlightening thought voyages into such realms as quantum physics, genetics, miracles, and the expanding universe, each foray offering new coordinates, evocative vistas, and deepened understanding.” —Booklist

"A series of essays on creation, consciousness, and our place in the universe, Lightman turns his attention to some of our biggest questions about infinity and nothingness." —Buzzfeed

Alan Lightman
Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman—who worked for many years as a theoretical physicist—is the author of six novels, including the international best seller Einstein’s Dreams, as well as The Diagnosis, a finalist for the National Book Award. He is also the author of a memoir, three collections of essays, and several books on science. His work has appeared in the Atlantic, Granta, Harper’s Magazine, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, Salon, and Nature, among other publications. He has taught at Harvard and at MIT, where he was the first person to receive a dual faculty appointment in science and the humanities. He is currently professor of the practice of the humanities at MIT. He lives in the Boston area.

Janna Levin
Janna Levin

Janna Levin

Janna Levin is a professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College. She is also director of sciences at Pioneer Works, a center for arts and sciences in Brooklyn. Her previous books include Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, How the Universe Got Its Spots, and a novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, which won the PEN/Bingham Prize. She was recently named a Guggenheim Fellow. She lives in New York.

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Harvard Science Book Talks

The Harvard Science Book Talks series is a collaboration between the Harvard University Division of Science, the Harvard Library, and Harvard Book Store. The series features talks by the authors of recently published books on a variety of science-related topics and is open to both the Harvard community and to the general public. Typically, lectures are followed by a book signing with the author and refreshments. Learn more and watch recordings of past talks here

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