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, the Washington Post and the New Yorker, among other publications. He lives in Massachusetts, where he is adjunct professor of humanities at MIT.
Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine is a splendid read in its entirety. Complement it with Carl Sagan on science and spirituality, Richard Feynman on why uncertainty is essential for morality, and Simone de Beauvoir on the moral courage of nonbelief, then revisit Lightman on the transcendence of creative work and his poetic ode to science and the unknown.
Brainpickings on Searching For Stars On An Island In Maine