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Probable Impossibilities

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Probable Impossibilities by Alan Lightman
Hardcover $25.00
Feb 09, 2021 | ISBN 9781524749019

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  • Apr 12, 2022 | ISBN 9780593081327

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  • Feb 09, 2021 | ISBN 9781524749019

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  • Feb 09, 2021 | ISBN 9781524749026

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“In Probable Impossibilities, the poetic physicist Alan Lightman sieves four centuries of scientific breakthroughs with a soulful reverence for the poetry of existence . . . In an echo of one of the book’s subtlest yet profoundest undertones, Lightman challenges our binary view of life and death . . . Altogether luminous.”Maria Popova, Brainpickings

“A roaming, eye-opening, insightful, and literate collection of science writing . . . Complex science made accessible.”—Kirkus Reviews

“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

“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

“His latest collection of essays, [has a] syncretic spirit, tackling big questions like the origin of the universe and the nature of consciousness, always in an entertaining and easily digestible way . . . Consistently thought-provoking.”—Wall Street Journal

“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

“Lightman has two gifts that stand out. One is for analogy . . . In isolation, physics can get pretty weird at its extremes, but Lightman makes it seem familiar and accessible . . . His other gift involves bridging the scientific and the personal . . . Savvy . . . Probable Impossibilities stands as a beautiful argument against the old Romantic-era notion that science kills wonder. In the hands of Lightman, science only multiplies it.”—American Scholar

“Galactic wonder radiates through these essays by the renowned theoretical physicist, whose writing proves companionable and illuminating.”—Christian Science Monitor

Table Of Contents

Probable Impossibilities 3
Between Nothingness and Infinity 6
What Came Before the Big Bang? 23
On Nothingness 37
Atoms 49
Modern Prometheus 59
One Hundred Billion 83
Smile 86
The Anatomy of Attention 91
Immortality 97
The Ghost House of My Childhood 104
In Defense of Disorder 110
Miracles 122
Our Lonely Home in Nature 134
Is Life Special? 139
Cosmic Biocentrism 149
The Man Who Knows Infinity 163
Notes 185

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