2006 John P. McGovern Science and Society Award
Alan Lightman is a physicist, novelist, and essayist who, from an early age, was entranced by both science and the arts. He received his AB degree from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1974. He has served on the faculty at Harvard University, and from 1979-1989 was a research scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. His essays about science, as well as short fiction and reviews, have appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, Smithsonian, Discover, Harper's, Nature and The New York Times. His 1993 novel, Einstein's Dreams, was an international best-seller and has been adopted for campus-wide readings at many colleges and universities. His other books include The Diagnosis, Reunion, A Sense of the Mysterious and The Discoveries. Lightman has not only served as professor of science and writing and senior lecturer in physics at MIT, but also has headed the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies there. He is currently an adjunct professor of humanities.