Probable Impossibilities: Book summary and reviews of Probable Impossibilities by Alan Lightman

Probable Impossibilities

Musings on Beginnings and Endings

by Alan Lightman

Probable Impossibilities by Alan Lightman X
Probable Impossibilities by Alan Lightman
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Book Summary

From the acclaimed author of Einstein's Dreams, a collection of meditative essays on the possibilities, and impossibilities, of nothingness and infinity--and how our place in the cosmos falls somewhere in between.

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Lightman's ability to craft moving prose while accessibly explaining complex scientific concepts is a rare gift. This collection is tough to put down." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"As in his previous books of both nonfiction and fiction, Lightman is once again our helpful, genial guide to the mysteries of the universe...A roaming, eye-opening, insightful, and literate collection of science writing." - Kirkus Reviews

"Radient...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

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Author Information

Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman is the author of six novels, including the international bestseller Einstein's Dreams, and The Diagnosis, a finalist for the National Book Award. 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.

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