Properties of Light

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9780618154593: Properties of Light

With Properties of Light, the award-winning author of The Mind-Body Problem gives us “one of the magnificent performances in contemporary fiction, a fusion of the imagination and intellect . . . achingly beautiful, moving, and intriguing on every page” (Charles Johnson). This mesmerizing tale of consuming love and murderous professional envy carries the reader into the very heart of a physics problem so huge and perplexing it thwarted even Einstein: the nature of light. Caught in the entanglements of erotic and intellectual passion, three physicists grapple with mysteries of science as well as mysteries of the heart with consequences not even their finely honed intellects can predict. “Luminous, incendiary . . . Properties of Light is a novel of cool grace and dark lyricism, lit by the imaginative fire of physics and its improbable cosmologies” (New York Times Book Review).

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Review:

For smarty-pants only. Rebecca Goldstein, who made her debut with The Mind-Body Problem, has written a romance about three physicists. The narrator, a young hotshot named Justin Childs, falls in love, first and foremost, with a little-known formula put together by Samuel Mallach back in the 1930s. Justin, a newly appointed professor, discovers that Mallach teaches at his university: "He was a burned-out star, they said (when they bothered to speak of him at all), although when he was little older than the twenty-three that Justin then was, Albert Einstein had confided in several colleagues that he regarded Samuel Mallach as his heir apparent." In the meantime, though, the old man and his work have fallen from favor, and he has retreated into quiet insanity: "Mallach's work, having been declared impossible, had passed unnoticed among men, and now Mallach himself had entirely forgotten it." Justin begins fantasizing about disinterring his work, and here's where the smarty-pants part comes in: "I had thought to propose to him that he and I might work together, together approach the formidable problem of merging quantum reality, now clarified through his work, with Einstein's truth. He had presented a realistic model of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. The task now was to reconcile it with relativistic time."

Just when you're berating yourself for skipping Physics for Poets in college, though, the love story kicks in. Justin falls for Mallach's brilliant daughter. And slowly it dawns on him that Mallach is manipulating both of them: "He meant to get the glorious physics out from me." Each character wants nothing more than to solve Mallach's original problem; each character is destroyed in the process.

Properties of Light seamlessly interweaves problems of physics and problems of love. So when Justin says things like, "I assumed he spoke, of course, of the subatomic situation," many of us may feel a little lost. But this, perhaps, is Goldstein's strongest suit: she leads us up close to these heady ideas but always guides us back to more manageable emotional ground. She's firmly in control of both realms, and one suspects that her science scans as well as her prose. --Claire Dederer

About the Author:

Rebecca Goldstein is the author of four novels, including THE MIND-BODY PROBLEM, and a collection of short stories, STRANGE ATTRACTORS. Her work has won numerous prizes, including two Whiting Awards. In 1996, she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. She holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University, where her work was concentrated in the philosophy of science and was supported by a National Science Foundation fellowship. She resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Book Description Mariner Books, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.With Properties of Light, the award-winning author of The Mind-Body Problem gives us ?one of the magnificent performances in contemporary fiction, a fusion of the imagination and intellect . . . achingly beautiful, moving, and intriguing on every page" (Charles Johnson). This mesmerizing tale of consuming love and murderous professional envy carries the reader into the very heart of a physics problem so huge and perplexing it thwarted even Einstein: the nature of light. Caught in the entanglements of erotic and intellectual passion, three physicists grapple with mysteries of science as well as mysteries of the heart with consequences not even their finely honed intellects can predict. ?Luminous, incendiary . . . Properties of Light is a novel of cool grace and dark lyricism, lit by the imaginative fire of physics and its improbable cosmologies" (New York Times Book Review). Bookseller Inventory # APC9780618154593

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Book Description Mariner Books, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. With Properties of Light, the award-winning author of The Mind-Body Problem gives us ?one of the magnificent performances in contemporary fiction, a fusion of the imagination and intellect . . . achingly beautiful, moving, and intriguing on every page" (Charles Johnson). This mesmerizing tale of consuming love and murderous professional envy carries the reader into the very heart of a physics problem so huge and perplexing it thwarted even Einstein: the nature of light. Caught in the entanglements of erotic and intellectual passion, three physicists grapple with mysteries of science as well as mysteries of the heart with consequences not even their finely honed intellects can predict. ?Luminous, incendiary . . . Properties of Light is a novel of cool grace and dark lyricism, lit by the imaginative fire of physics and its improbable cosmologies" (New York Times Book Review). Bookseller Inventory # APC9780618154593

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Book Description Mariner Books. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 256 pages. Dimensions: 8.2in. x 5.6in. x 0.6in.With Properties of Light, the award-winning author of The Mind-Body Problem gives us one of the magnificent performances in contemporary fiction, a fusion of the imagination and intellect . . . achingly beautiful, moving, and intriguing on every page (Charles Johnson). This mesmerizing tale of consuming love and murderous professional envy carries the reader into the very heart of a physics problem so huge and perplexing it thwarted even Einstein: the nature of light. Caught in the entanglements of erotic and intellectual passion, three physicists grapple with mysteries of science as well as mysteries of the heart with consequences not even their finely honed intellects can predict. Luminous, incendiary . . . Properties of Light is a novel of cool grace and dark lyricism, lit by the imaginative fire of physics and its improbable cosmologies (New York Times Book Review). This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780618154593

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