Alan Lightman was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and educated at Princeton and at the California Institute of Technology, where he recived a Ph.D. in theoretical physics. An active research scientist in astronomy and physics for two decades, he has also taught both subjects for the faculties of Harvard and MIT. His novels include Einstein's Dreams, which was an international bestseller and The Diagnosis, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. His essays have appeared in the New York Review of Books, the New York Times, Nature, The Atlantic Monthly, and the New Yorker, among other publications. He lives in Massachusetts, where he is adjunct professor of humanities at MIT.