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review 2018-03-29 10:57
Einstein's Dreams
Einstein's Dreams - Alan Lightman

Not quite what I thought it was going to be, but interesting and thought-provoking nonetheless.  

 

My expectations were more along the lines of a fictional re-creation of Einstein's musings concerning the physics of time as depicted through his daydreams.  I was almost right.

 

Instead, each entry is more akin to a thought experiment, where the character Einstein draws out every idiom concerning time to it's farthest conclusion.  What would the world be like if time were frozen?  If we lived in the past?  Only for today?  Only looked ahead?

 

Some of the entries come closer to aspects of his theory of general relativity than others.  Some are far more philosophical than empirical.  Some had, to my way of thinking, fundamental flaws in their logic, making the entry impossible (although I attribute this to the author, not the character).   But all of them are thought provoking and each would serve as fodder for endless debates and conversations, given the right two or more people.

 

I'm glad I've read it, although I think Please, Mr. Einstein a far more compelling and meaningful fictional exercise.  Definitely worth a read if you're in a philosophical mood but don't want to be weighted down under anything too heavy.

 

This book works for the Murder Your Darlings game card: Crime Scene: the Hob, District 12.  (The cover is half black and the title is in white letters.)

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review 2018-03-05 17:49
Delightful surprise
Einstein's Dreams - Alan Lightman

I love science. I also love learning about scientific theories and the scientists who brought them to light. Initially, I thought Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman was a true account of how Einstein came up with his theory of time (relativity). Instead this collection contains fictionalized diary entries (dream journal style) from 1905. Each dream accounts for a different way to view time and is set up almost as if they take place in alternate realities. Maybe all events are fixed and predetermined so time is meaningless. Or perhaps there's a world where the closer you get to the center of a location the slower you move until you are arrested completely. Do you think there's a place where those living in higher altitudes age slower than those below? I don't even know if I could handle the world where immortality is a given and so you are forced to live and live and live. In between each of the 'diary' entries, Lightman writes about Einstein processing each of these dreams and honing his eventual theory of relativity. [Bonus: Beautiful pen and ink drawings of Berne scattered throughout.] As I said at the beginning, I started off thinking this was going to be a non-fiction biography of sorts but I think I like this even better. If you're looking for a short little dip into the dimensions of time and how they might look based on your reality then you've hit the jackpot. This is the best kind of sci-fi surprise! 9/10

 

What's Up Next: The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2015-02-02 00:00
Mr g: A Novel About the Creation
Mr g: A Novel About the Creation - Alan Lightman This book is a fictional work -- on creation -- authored by a physicist -- written from the point of god (little 'g'). It does not talk about the Big Bang, but that the universe was *created* out of the Void, by god. After this point, the author marries quite well, creation science with physical science, and throws in a dash of philosophy, as well. I would remind and caution that readers from each 'exclusive' camp not get your knickers in a knot as this is not a treatise on the matter. It is neither to be viewed as sacrilegious, nor sacrosanct.
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review 2015-01-19 00:00
Ghost
Ghost - Alan Lightman Despite its title, the book is not about the supernatural. Being written by a theoretical physicist, it dabbles more in quantum mechanics -- and even at that, not much, just a couple of experiments to determine if the event was imagined or conjured. In fact, there is only one or two lines about what was perceived to have been sighted. Throughout, it was merely referred as the protagonist having "seen something." There was a sense of anticipative build-up as the book advanced, but the "hurrah" did not materialize (pun not intended).
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review 2014-01-15 00:00
Dance for Two: Essays
Dance for Two: Essays - Alan Lightman http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/01/15/alan-lightman-accidental-universe-science-spirituality/
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