David Eagleman

David Eagleman could have stopped proving his prodigious intelligence after graduating with a literature degree from Rice. But, nooo - he then had to go on to get a freaking PhD in neuroscience, and then start his own neuroscience lab. After studying brains all day - get this - he comes home and writes best-selling fiction, such as Sum: Forty Tales From the Afterlives. Meet the intelligent, entertaining Eagleman tonight at the Houston Public Library, where he'll read from and discuss Sum, a whimsical work of fiction that draws on his neuroscience knowledge to suggest 40 scenarios that await us in the afterlife. One contains a microscopic God that has no idea who you are; in another, you encounter visions of what you could have been. (One doubts Eagleman has any concerns with the latter.)

Sum has been embraced by both the religious and New Age communities, not an easy trick. The universal acceptance has prompted reporters to ask Eagleman about his own beliefs: Is he agnostic? Atheist? Spiritual? Eagleman answers by saying he's a "possibilian," and willing to entertain multiple hypotheses. 7 p.m. 500 McKinney. For information, call 832-393-1313 or visit www.houstonlibrary.org. Free
Thu., Aug. 13, 7 p.m., 2009

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Julia Ramey