Literary Salon: Ransom Stephens

LEFT COAST WRITERS LITERARY SALON:  Ransom Stephens, Author of The God Patent

Ransom Stephens

Ransom Stephens

Monday, July 5, 2010 || 7pm
Book Passage || Corte Madera
51 Tamal Vista Drive, Corte Madera ||

Ransom Stephens, Ph.D., is a professor of particle physics turned writer and speaker. He has worked on experiments at SLAC, Fermilab, CERN, and Cornell; discovered a new type of matter and was on the team that discovered the top quark. During the tech boom that ended in 2001, he directed patent development for a wireless web startup and, a few years later, became an expert on timing noise. Now he’s turning his considerable mental powers toward the world of writing and publishing, and we’re interested in what he’s learned. He’s a much praised speaker, so it should be an informative evening as Ransom shares his current explorations and his jump into a bold new way of getting the word out.

“What distinguishes this classic battle between faith and free will is its unusually deft infusion of legitimate but accessible science.…an ambitious first novel that uses Stephens’ experience as a particle physicist, director of patents, public speaker and single father in a narrative that sings of the heart and the scientific method as two parts of the same song.”

—The San Francisco Chronicle

“Ransom Stephens skillfully weaves together multiple plot lines and characters in a fast moving story.”

—Book Case, for the Petaluma Argus-Courier

The memo said they’d get bonuses for submitting patents, so why not? Money came easily during the dot-com boom. Concealed in engineering jargon, Ryan McNear submits a patent for the soul disguised as a software algorithm and his best friend Foster Reed rewrites Genesis and calls it a “power generator.” A few years later, amid the fallout of a ruptured technology bubble, his career ruined and family shredded, a desperate Ryan discovers that a company headed by his old friend Foster is developing his patent. What he thought was a joke is generating stacks of money amid claims that it will provide a source of limitless energy and prove the existence of God.Willing to try anything to rebuild his life, Ryan stakes a legal claim to the patent but soon discovers a sinister undercurrent in the venture. Racing against time and aided by a motley group of assistants that includes an attorney/conman, a beautiful and passionate physicist and a death-obsessed adolescent math prodigy, Ryan gets caught in a battle between hard science and fundamentalist religion that threatens his sanity, his freedom and his son. Before long Ryan will test the limits of faith and free will, evaluate the nature of desire, and comprehend the human soul in a way that requires a single step, rather than a great leap, of faith.


Ransom lives in Petaluma, California and makes a living by writing novels, giving speeches, producing and MCing literary events, helping engineers solve problems, and teaching writing seminars. He is the author of over 200 articles on impossible subjects like quantum physics, the future of publishing and parenting teenagers. His first novel, The God Patent, is set in the battle between science and religion over the nature of the soul and the origin of the universe.

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