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A decade ago, Dr. Alan Townsend’s family received two unthinkable, catastrophic diagnoses: his 4-year-old daughter and his brilliant and vivacious wife developed unrelated, life-threatening forms of brain cancer. As he witnessed his young daughter fight during the courageous final months of her mother’s life, Townsend – a lifelong scientist – was indelibly altered. He began to see scientific inquiry as more than a source of answers to a given problem, but also as a lifeboat: a lens on the world that could help him find peace with the painful realities he could not change. Through scientific wonder, he found ways to bring meaning to his darkest period.
At a time when society’s relationship with science is increasingly polarized while threats to human life on earth continue to rise, Townsend offers a balanced, moving perspective on the common ground between science and religion through the spiritual fulfillment he found in his work. Awash in Townsend's electrifying and breathtaking prose, THIS ORDINARY STARDUST offers hope that life can carry on even in the face of near-certain annihilation.
"This Ordinary Stardust is a wondrous book that reduced me to tears and brought me a fresh perspective on life, death, and the bittersweet consequences of impermanence. It also happens to be a page turner I couldn’t put down."Jon Krakauer
"This is an extraordinary, powerful book full of science and suffering, spirit and love. It’s rare to encounter such a rich mix, and Alan Townsend’s steady voice makes it all work."David Quammen, author of The Heartbeat of the Wild and Breathless
“In sharing his own story through searing grief, Alan Townsend shows us — in a way that nobody else could — how scientists are first and foremost people, with hearts both delicate and resilient.”Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl and The Story of More
- On Sale
- Jun 4, 2024
- Page Count
- 256 pages
- Grand Central Publishing