Dance for Two: Essays

Dance for Two: Essays

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by Alan Lightman
     
 

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The author of Einstein's Dreams now presents a collection of essays, written over the past 20 years, that displays his genius for bringing literary and scientific concerns into ringing harmony. Sometimes provocative, sometimes fanciful, always elegantly conceived and written, these meditations offer readers a fascinating look into the creative compulsions shared by

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Overview

The author of Einstein's Dreams now presents a collection of essays, written over the past 20 years, that displays his genius for bringing literary and scientific concerns into ringing harmony. Sometimes provocative, sometimes fanciful, always elegantly conceived and written, these meditations offer readers a fascinating look into the creative compulsions shared by the scientist and the artist. Reading tour.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Physicist and novelist (Good Benito) Lightman brings his characteristic sense of wonder and awe to these concise discussions of the origins of the universe. Previously published in two collections of the 1980s (Time Travel and Papa Joe's Pipe and A Modern Day Yankee in a Connecticut Court), these 21 graceful essays combine examinations of how birds fly, theoretical underpinnings of time travel and the gravitational forces impinging on a ballerina, as well as snippets of scientific history-a profile of atomic physicist Niels Bohr, imaginary encounters with Isaac Newton and Thomas Edison-and autobiographical glimpses of Lightman's own scientific career. Several selections are parables or fables, for instance, his whimsical adventures in Ironland, where everything is made of iron, and an evocation of a Persian city whose denizens are unable to leave-a metaphor for how scientists construct or abandon theories. On a more serious note, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Lightman calls for more funding of pure research and explores how we blind ourselves to the dangers nuclear weapons pose to the Earth's survival. (Apr.)
Library Journal
First, the good news. This book contains some of the best essays from one of the hottest science writers today. Astrophysicist Lightman writes with a fluid, minimalist style that hits home for many readers. His topics are personal and familiar: e.g., how he chose a career in science; the relationship between student and teacher; and the intuitive nature of scientific discovery. It's quality material. The bad news is that all but one of these essays have been published before-twice. They appeared first as magazine pieces and were then anthologized in two books, Time Travel and Papa Joe's Pipe (1984) and A Modern Day Yankee in a Connecticut Court (1986). Lightman's recent novels, Einstein's Dreams (LJ 11/15/92) and Good Benito (LJ 2/1/95), were surprise best sellers, and this book seems like an attempt to cash in on the author's popularity by recycling old material. His newer fans might be interested, but many public libraries already own the material in one form or another. If so, there is no compelling reason to purchase this book. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/95.]-Gregg Sapp, Univ. of Miami Lib., Coral Gables, Fla.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679758778
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/28/1996
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
777,037
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.39(d)

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