WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/1011917

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Page 65 of 207

many things have to be experienced instead of named. For example, the word "love" doesn't convey much because there are a thousand different kinds of love, and each reader has to experience it in her own way. WWM: Has this duality helped you both as a novelist and physicist? AL: As far as how my life as an artist, or novelist, has affected my scien- tific work, that's hard to pin down. But I tend to be interested in prob- lems in science that have a philosophical dimension. In terms of how science has impacted my life as a writer, I think my fiction writing has more structure than that of many other writers. There's a certain methodical, analytic nature to everything I do, and it shows in the careful structure of my novels and stories. That's not necessarily a virtue. It's just a feature of my writing style. WWM: You've said, "In terms of a true creative moment, good science and good art are similar." Can you explain this? AL: I think the feeling of the creative moment is the same. You lose the sense of your ego. You lose the sense of your body and time, and you're just in this wonder- ful creative state that's disembodied. That's the same whether you're creating in the sciences or in the arts. I think both science and art have a concept of beauty. Also, both are seeking truth: in science, truth in the material world; in the arts, truth in terms of the heart and the stomach. WWM: Do you prefer the artistic or scientific side of you or are they the same thing? AL: Well, they're not the same thing other than the fact that they are both deeply part of me. I don't have a pref- erence for one or the other. That would be like having a preference for one of your children. spontaneous, whimsical, intuitive people. Of course, we need both kinds of people in the world. Another way of saying that is we need both certainty and uncertainty in the world. There are questions with answers that the scientists work on and questions without answers for artists and humanists. Both kinds of questions are part of being human. Scientists often try to put things in a box, to give things a name, like the word "electron." In the arts, people often try to avoid naming things because an interview with alan lightman W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 8 64

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