The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew

Alan P Lightman, Author
Alan Lightman. Pantheon, $24 (196p) ISBN 978-0-307-90858-2
Reviewed on: 09/30/2013
Release date: 01/14/2014
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-19027-5
Hardcover - 159 pages - 978-1-4721-0918-7
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In his brief but engrossing latest essay collection, theoretical physicist and novelist Lightman (Einstein’s Dreams) offers insight into the ways that recent scientific discoveries shape our understanding of ourselves and our world. Each of the seven essays here explores the philosophical fallout from a particular corner of research. The titular lead essay examines the concept of the multiverse, and the potential implications of its existence, in light of the dark energy that keeps our universe from collapsing. “The Spiritual Universe” examines the often uneasy relationship between science and religion, while other pieces explore entropy, the vast scale of space, and unpredictable humanity’s role in a universe built on physical laws and composed of forces, light, and particles we can’t see. Lightman is one of the few physicists who can name-check the Dalai Lama, astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, Dostoevsky, and dark energy in the same work, while deftly guiding readers through discussions of modern physics and philosophy. Here he has composed a thoughtful, straightforward collection of essays that invite readers to think deeply about the world around them. Agent: Jane Gelfman, Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents Inc. (Jan.)
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