Writing Science through History with Alan Lightman

GLiMPSE returns with an archived interview from 2019 with physicist and author Alan Lightman, the John E. Burchard professor in MIT’s department of Media Studies and Writing. Lightman held posts in astrophysics at Cornell, Harvard, and MIT before turning to a lifelong love of words and an exploration of science as a writer. Since 1981, Lightman has published fiction and nonfiction work in essay, poem, and book form. As professor in the humanities, he led programmatic changes in MIT’s requirements and offerings for creative and science writing. Lightman joined Tim Fessenden to discusses science writing and science history, emphasizing how humanistic inquiry is not incidental to science but rather central to scientific practice and advances.


Alan Lightman’s faculty webpage, including descriptions of his books Einstein’s Dreams and The Discoveries

New York Times interview with Lightman in 2020 on his book Einstein’s Dreams.

MIT’s Graduate Program in Science Writing

Work by Ray Kurzweil on the singularity

MIT president Charles Vest

1978 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of cosmic background radiation by Penzias and Wilson

Episode transcript here

Music Credits:

“Over Under”, “Allada”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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