Alan Lightman is a physicist, novelist, and essayist. He has served on the faculties of Harvard University and MIT, and was the first person to receive dual faculty appointments at MIT in science and in the humanities.
As a physicist, Lightman has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of relativistic gravity, black holes, globular clusters, and radiative processes. His shorter pieces have appeared in The Atlantic, Granta, TheNew Yorker, The New York Times, and TheNew York Review of Books, among other publications. His novel, Einstein’s Dreams, was an international bestseller and has been translated into 30 languages. His novel, The Diagnosis, was a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award in fiction. His book about modern cosmology, Origins, was voted the best book in physical science by the Association of American Publishers.
Lightman is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Physical Society. He won the 1996 American Institute of Physics’ Andrew Gemant Award for linking science and the humanities, and the 2006 John P. McGovern Science and Society Award. In 2003, Lightman founded the Harpswell Foundation, which works to empower women leaders in Cambodia.