The Accidental Universe

The Accidental Universe : The World You Thought You Knew

3.81 (2,555 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Alan Lightman brings a light touch to heavy questions. Here is a book about nesting ospreys, multiple universes, atheism, spiritualism, and the arrow of time. Throughout, Lightman takes us back and forth between ordinary occurrences--old shoes and entropy, sailing far out at sea and the infinite expanse of space. "In this slight volume, Lightman looks toward the universe and captures aspects of it in a series of beautifully written essays, each offering a glimpse at the whole from a different perspective: here time, there symmetry, not least God. It is a meditation by a remarkable humanist-physicist, a book worth reading by anyone entranced by big ideas grounded in the physical world." --Peter L. Galison, Joseph Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard Universityshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 157 pages
  • 124.46 x 185.42 x 22.86mm | 181.44g
  • Pantheon Books
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0307908585
  • 9780307908582
  • 259,562

Review quote

"In "The Accidental Universe," Alan Lightman tackles big questions of life and death, morality and human consciousness--in a universe that may be far bigger and much stranger than we thought. It's a universe that also may be fundamentally unknowable, as if God is making other universes where we can't see them and will never know them. There is no writer quite like Alan Lightman, and his calm, humane, and always intelligent voice guides us along strange paths into nature and our human selves." --Richard Preston, author of "The Hot Zone" " " "Science is changing the way we think, especially about ourselves. As a guide to the multiple identities that science now offers, you'll want this beautiful book--poetic, humanistic, personal, inspiring. As a physicist, novelist, observer of coastal birds and the stars, Alan Lightman covers a lot of ground. Among so many other things, Lightman asks his reader to consider immortality, multiple universes, the possibility of a cyborg world and those who might resist its seductions. I couldn't put it down; a thrilling read." --Sherry Turkle, professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, MIT, and author of "Alone Together" " " "A Walden for our digital, cosmological, and quantum age from a modern-day Thoreau. Not since Fred Hoyle in another era (and universe) has anyone dared to cover such a sweeping domain, and no one so elegantly, so parsimoniously, and so personally." --Jon Kabat Zinn, professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts, author of "Full Catastrophe Living" "Alan Lightman is one of the all-too-few scientists whose writings achieve genuine literary quality. Anyone, with or without a scientific background, will be stimulated and inspired by these essays." --Martin Rees, Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, Cambridge University, and Astronomer Roshow more

About Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman is the author of six novels, including the international best seller "Einstein's Dreams "and "The Diagnosis, " which was a National Book Award finalist. He is also the author of two 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, " and "Nature, "among other publications. A theoretical physicist as well as a writer, he has served on the faculties of Harvard and MIT, where he was the first person to receive a dual faculty appointment in science and the humanities. He lives in the Boston more

Table of contents

The Accidental Universe The Temporary Universe The Spiritual Universe The Symmetrical Universe The Gargantuan Universe The Lawful Universe The Disembodied Universe show more

Rating details

2,555 ratings
3.81 out of 5 stars
5 27% (684)
4 38% (981)
3 27% (681)
2 6% (150)
1 2% (59)
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