Alan Lightman is a writer, astrophysicist, and educator. He is professor of the practice of the humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Lightman has had two parallel careers. As a theoretical physicist, he has held positions at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and contributed to the understanding of the unusual radiation processes, black holes, and stellar dynamics. He is also an essayist and writer of nonfiction and fiction books. His work has been published in Harper’s, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. His novels include Einstein’s Dreams, which was translated into 30 languages, and The Diagnosis, a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction. He was the first professor at MIT to receive a joint appointment in science and the humanities. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Alan Lightman is also the founding director of the Harpswell Foundation, whose mission is to empower women leaders in Cambodia.