NYS WRITERS INSTITUTE
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PHYSICIST AND BESTSELLING AUTHOR, TO DISCUSS HIS NEW BOOK, MR. g: A NOVEL ABOUT THE CREATION
NYS Writers Institute, February 2, 2012
8:00 p.m. Reading | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus
Alan Lightman, theoretical physicist, bestselling novelist, and leading explorer of the intersection between the sciences and the humanities, is the author most recently of Mr. g: A Novel About the Creation (2012). He will discuss his work Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. in the Assembly Hall, Campus Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that day at 4:15 p.m., the author will present an informal seminar in the same location. The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, and are free and open to the public.
Alan Lightman, theoretical physicist, bestselling author of Einstein’s Dreams (1993), and leading explorer of the intersection between the sciences and the humanities, is renowned for accessible works of fiction and nonfiction that explain the “grand ideas” of physics.
His most recent book is Mr. g: A Novel About the Creation (2012), the story of a young “God” and his adventures and misadventures as he embarks upon the creation of the Universe. God experiences both success and failure as he sets about inventing time, space, matter, stars, planets, life, consciousness and intelligent beings with moral dilemmas. God must also contend with a rival deity, the mysterious Belhor, who finds fault with his Creation, and who delights in provoking God.
In advance praise, novelist Junot Díaz called it, “a gem of a novel that is strange, witty, erudite and alive with Lightman’s playful genius.” Novelist and philosophy professor Rebecca Goldstein said, “Alan Lightman again surprises us with a work that is utterly original in both form and content. Mr. g is a philosophical fable which is at turns hilarious and moving, rendered with a literary hand so deft that the weightiest metaphysical topics levitate into pure delight.”
Lightman’s five previous novels include the National Book Award finalist, The Diagnosis (2000), the story of one man’s battle with total amnesia; and Einstein’s Dreams (1993), an international bestseller that explores— in the fanciful manner of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities— Einstein’s meditations on the paradoxes of time and space. Einstein’s Dreams was the March 1998 selection for National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” Book Club. The novel has been used in numerous colleges and universities, in many cases for university-wide “common book” programs, and more than two dozen independent theatrical and musical productions have been based on it.
Lightman’s many works of nonfiction include The Discoveries: Great Breakthroughs in 20th Century Science (2005), and A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit (2005). His essays, short fiction, and reviews have appeared in The American Scholar, Atlantic Monthly, Daedalus, Discover, Granta, Harper’s, Nature, The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, New York Times, Smithsonian and Story.
As both a distinguished physicist and an accomplished novelist, Lightman is one of only a small number of scholars whose work bridges the sciences and the humanities. He was the first professor at MIT to receive a joint appointment in the sciences and the humanities. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Physics and Burchard Professor of Humanities at MIT. From 1991 to 1997, he headed the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. He also helped create the Communication Requirement at MIT, which requires all undergraduates to have a course equivalent in writing or speaking each of their four years.
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.