American physicist, author, and humanitarian. As a Memphis, Tennessee, high school student, Lightman won both science fairs and literary awards; he studied physics at Princeton University and earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology. Lightman has made fundamental contributions to the field of astrophysics while also writing poems, short stories, and essays on science appearing in such journals as
Harper's Magazine, Granta, Smithsonian, Story, and the New Yorker. His many books include the novels Einstein's Dreams (1993), an international best-seller; The Diagnosis (2000), a National Book Award finalist; and Mr g (2012), a history of creation narrated by God himself. Lightman currently teaches the humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2003 he founded the Harpswell Foundation to help develop a new generation of women leaders in Cambodia and elsewhere in the developing world. See also cmsw.mit.edu/alan-lightman.