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Science and Society | Searching: the Quest for Meaning in the Age of Science

Science and Society | Searching: the Quest for Meaning in the Age of Science



Staring at the stars, falling in love, or listening to music, humans sometimes feel a connection with things bigger than ourselves. But these awe-inspiring experiences are not easily understood by science, which holds that all things can be explained in terms of atoms and molecules. In his latest book, The Transcendent Brain: Spirituality in the Age of Science, the novelist and physicist Alan Lightman draws on intellectual history and conversations with contemporary scientists, philosophers and psychologists to interrogate our place between these worlds. Can materialism explain our appreciation of beauty? Or our feelings of connection with nature and to other people? Is there a physical basis for consciousness, the most slippery of all scientific problems? Lightman weaves his investigations together to propose what he calls “spiritual materialism” – the belief that we can embrace spiritual experiences without letting go of our scientific worldview.

Alan Lightman is a writer, physicist, and social entrepreneur. Born in 1948, he was educated at Princeton and at the California Institute of Technology, where he received a PhD in theoretical physics. He is the professor of the practice of the humanities at MIT. His scientific research in astrophysics has concerned black holes, relativity theory, radiative processes, and the dynamics of systems of stars. His essays and articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, and many other publications. His essays are often chosen by the New York Times as among the best essays of the year. Lightman is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also the founder of the Harpswell Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to advance a new generation of women leaders in Southeast Asia.”

We invite you to support the author by purchasing a copy of their book from Browseabout Books by clicking HERE. Call-in orders are accepted at (302) 226-2665 or you can stop by the store to purchase a copy. For store hours, please visit their website. Each copy purchased comes with a signed archival bookplate.

The library's “Science and Society - Making Sense of the World Around Us” lecture series is co-organized and moderated by Fred Dylla, Executive Director Emeritus of the American Institute of Physics and author of Scientific Journeys, Linda Dylla, former public information officer at the Jefferson Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy, and Colin Norman, the former News Editor at Science.

NOTE: this meeting is being conducted through Zoom. You MUST REGISTER to receive instructions for joining the meeting.

If you have need assistance with registration or getting your Zoom invitation, please email us.

Basic written instructions for using Zoom may be found here and a brief video tutorial may be found here. Closed captioning is available for all our sessions. Information on enabling closed captioning in Zoom may be found here.

This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.
Tuesday, November 7, 2023 Show more dates
5:00pm - 6:00pm Eastern Time
Lewes Public Library
  Adults     Older Adults  
Registration has closed.