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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AL: My scientific worldview impacts me when I write about religion or philosophy. Let's put physics aside — physics, or any science for that matter, is not about the pursuit of meaning. It's the pursuit of truth. Meaning is what we as human beings attach to truth or falsity. If I believed in a cosmic meaning, such as God having a purpose for the universe and for us human beings, I think that would affect my essays about religion or philosophy. But I don't believe those things. I believe that the universe does not have a purpose, and I believe that we as individuals give our own lives purpose, and that it's very individual — that my purpose in life might be different than yours' and what I find meaning in may not be the same for you. I should point out, however, that I definitely have great respect for other views, such as for people who believe in God. WWM: This past spring you released a new collection of essays called Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine. Can you tell us more about this book and the inspiration behind it? AL: This new book explores the dialogue be- tween science and religion: the differences in the kind of knowledge in science and in reli- gion and how that knowledge is arrived at. I draw on sources ranging from St. Augustine's conception of absolute truth to Einstein's rela- tivity, from a belief in the divine and eternal nature of stars to their discovered materiality and mortality, from the unity of the once indi- visible atom to the multiplicity of subatomic particles and the recent notion of multiple universes. Rather than confront all of these issues head-on, the book reads like an extended meditation as I wander about an island in Maine, where my wife and I spend our summers. WWM: What else are you working on? AL: I have a small book about the importance of unplugging from the wired world that was 69 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 an interview with alan lightman

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