The New York Times

Time is Still a Mystery to 'Einstein's Dreams' Author

NEW YORK — “Did you ever think you would be so old?”

The question startled me. If anyone knew where the time goes, I would have expected it to be the man across the lunch table, Alan Lightman.

Lightman is best known in literary circles for his 1992 novel, “Einstein’s Dreams,” which is all about the vicissitudes — romantic, physical and otherwise — of time. It recounts the nightly visions of a young patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland, as he struggles to finish his theory of relativity. Each dream explores how a different version of time might play out in the lives of the clerk’s fellow citizens.

But before that, Lightman was an astrophysicist, a card-carrying wizard of space and time, with a Ph.D. from

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