Marcelo Gleiser

Connecting the Sciences, the Humanities, and the Future

Professor Marcelo Gleiser organized the “The Sciences, the Humanities, the Future,” conference that launched the College’s Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement (ICE).  Among the 10 speakers were: Dartmouth’s Professor of Philosophy Adina Roskies, speaking on “Free Will in the Age of Neuroscience,” and writer and physicist Alan Lightman (Einstein’s Dreams; Good Benito), speaking on “The Physicist as Novelist.” The full conference program is available online and here is the full Dartmouth News article.

Marcelo Gleiser in the Washington Post

“When I got into science, my goal was ambitious but simple: to devise a theory that could explain ‘everything,’ at least everything about the physical world,” writes Dartmouth’s Marcelo Gleiser in a Washington Post opinion piece. “I wanted to know The Truth. But alas, decades spent practicing science taught me a lesson that was both wonderful and humbling: We can’t know everything.”

Gleiser, a professor of physics and astronomy and the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy, continues, “To know all answers, we need to start by knowing all questions. And that is simply impossible. Our view of the world will always be incomplete.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 7/14/14 by The Washington Post.

Gleiser’s ‘The Island of Knowledge’

In a Wall Street Journal review of The Island of Knowledge, a new book by Marcelo Gleiser, a professor of physics and astronomy and the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy, astronomer John Gribbin notes that Gleiser organizes his story about the endless search for knowledge and the development of science into three parts.

“First we are given what might loosely be called cosmology, the story of the universe at large. Second, the story of the very small, essentially the story of quantum physics. Finally, we are offered some speculations about mind and matter,” writes Gribbin.

Gribbin writes that as the quest for knowledge goes on, it is “always presenting us with new things to wonder about and to wonder at. Without that sense of wonder, as Mr. Gleiser’s excellent book makes clear, there would be no point in doing science at all.”

A subscription is required to read the full review, published 6/9/14 by The Wall Street Journal.

Marcelo Gleiser on the Never-Ending Pursuit of Knowledge

Marcelo Gleiser is a professor of physics and astronomy and the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy. The author of four books in the U.S. and many more in his native Brazil, including a historical novel based on the life of the German scientist Johannes Kepler, Professor Gleiser talks with Dartmouth Now about the nature of the universe, fly fishing in Iceland, and what he’d be doing if he weren’t a professor.

You have described yourself as a “scientist with a soul.” What do you mean by that?
I try to show people that scientists are human beings as well, you know? People forget that we are as passionate and as sensitive as everybody else, and that, in fact, a lot of our work is charged with this passion for knowledge, for pushing the boundaries of knowing about the world and about ourselves.

The Other 10 Most Important Questions in Science (NPR)

What’s at the bottom of the oceans? Can we travel in time? In his NPR commentary, Dartmouth’s Marcelo Gleiser, the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics and astronomy, answers these and eight more of science’s most important questions. The questions, explains Gleiser, come from the new book The Big Questions in Science: The Quest to Solve the Great Unknowns.

So what is at the bottom of the ocean? According to Gleiser, “In the depths, bizarre life forms endure under extreme conditions: no light, no oxygen, freezing temperatures, and pressures 1,000 times more than at the surface. … Oceans, and the innards of Earth itself, are the final frontiers of our planet. Expect amazing discoveries as explorers descend more and more often into the great watery unknown.”