Book Review of Probable Impossibilities by Alan Lightman

Audio version here:

I was first introduced to the wonderful writing of physicist, Alan Lightman, about five years ago. I found his book during one of my many autodidact adventures into science.

In that book (The Accidental Universe), Alan Lightman takes his expertise in science and the humanities, and weaves it together with a simple and pleasing writing style. Here is an example:

“To a giant cosmic being, leisurely strolling through the universe and not limited by distance or time, galaxies would appear as illuminated mansions scattered about the dark countryside of space.”

Alan Lightman, The Accidental Universe

At the time, his book, The Accidental Universe, was a welcomed tool at that point in my life journey. I’m almost done reading it a second time.

That’s why I was excited (yes I get excited about new books, and you should too) when I saw on’s digital library, that Alan Lightman had a new book come out earlier this year, February 9th 2021.

The book is titled, Probable Impossibilities: Musings on Beginnings and Ends

“Man is equally incapable of seeing the Nothing from which he was made, and the Infinite in which he is swallowed up.”

Blaise Pascal, (1623-1662), Mathematician, physicist, inventor, essayist, and theologian

After reading the introduction to Probable Impossibilities, I’m happy to report back that Alan continues his simple and pleasing writing style, for example:

“In a lifetime, most people travel no farther than five hundred miles from home. During that limited exploration of the physical world, we record memories of nearby objects and experiences—people, houses, trees, local lakes and rivers, sounds of birds, clouds—all funneled into our brains by our eyes and ears. And yet think what we are able to imagine

Probable Impossibilities, Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman’s books so far have been friendly introduction’s to the wide range of challenging topics within physics.

I recommend reading a copy of one of his many books, and see for yourself.

Physicist/novelist Alan Lightman sits in his office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Friday, Dec. 8, 2000, in Cambridge, Mass. After 20 years as a physicist at the institute, Lightman is focusing on writing. (AP Photo/Jared Leeds)

Have you ever heard of Alan Lightman? If so, which books have your read?

Have you ever heard of the Digital Library?

As always let us hear your thoughts in the comments below!

UPDATE: I recently learned (a few minutes ago) that Alan has his own blog!

Click here to read Alan’s blog

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