By Brandi Wylie ’24
Dr. Alan Lightman is set to deliver Wofford College’s annual Chapman Lecture in the Humanities at 6 p.m. on Feb. 28 in Leonard Auditorium. He is a theoretical physicist and an internationally recognized thinker on the meaning of science for understanding ourselves.
The lecture is free and open to the public. Leonard Auditorium is in Main Building.
Lightman is a professor of the practice of humanities at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and he has committed his life to astrophysics research. For the past 15 years, though, he has increasingly been engaged as an author who writes for a wider audience about the implications of modern physics.
He will lecture on spiritual materialism, bringing material from his upcoming book, “The Transcendent Brain: Spirituality in the Age of Science,” and the PBS series about his previously published books, “SEARCHING: Our Quest for Meaning in the Age of Science.”
“My talk will show that we can be materialists but also acknowledge the complicated human experiences we have,” Lightman says. “I will also talk about how our feelings of spirituality have a Darwinian evolution. All of this is a scientific view of the complex human experiences that we have.”
He plans to use clips from the PBS series to enhance his lecture and provide more context to those who may not be familiar with the subject.
Lightman’s upcoming book will be available March 14, but he will participate in a book signing for his previously published books after the lecture. He encourages those planning to attend his lecture to become familiar with his work, including “Einstein’s Dreams.”
The Chapman Lecture series has been annually held at Wofford since 2016.