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PHD-DESIGN  September 2018

PHD-DESIGN September 2018

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Subject:

Re: A Scientist Speaks on Beauty

From:

Lubomir Savov Popov <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 11 Sep 2018 13:47:30 +0000

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Hello everyone, 
 
It seems to me that Ken used the concept of beauty in science the way philosophers of science use it. And they use it. In their way. In my ten-years long work with philosophers of science, I have heard about the beauty of this or that theory or solution or representation many, many times. For example, the beauty of this theory is in ... If you ask philosophers of science, they will tell you there is beauty in science and in math. (I don't mean the golden section.) Mathematicians see beauty in a particular solution. They very often say: what a beautiful equation, or solution, etc. Of course, natural scientists and mathematicians use the term in their own ways, and in several ways: as a criterion for a theory/solution, in a metaphoric way, and you can even say, as a jargon. But the concept of beauty in natural science is neither new, nor extraordinary. It is just not the same as artists conceptualize it and that is why artists have hard time believing that scientists find beauty in their field.  
 
Best wishes, 
 
Lubomir 
 
-----Original Message----- 
From: PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Ken Friedman 
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2018 10:32 PM 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: A Scientist Speaks on Beauty 
 
Dear All, 
 
It seems odd to suggest that scientists do not understand beauty. 
Beauty and elegance have long been criteria for scientific theory. 
 
Other criteria are also important if our statements about the world are to be both true and meaningful. Nevertheless, it seems to me mistaken to say that scientists fail to understand beauty.  
 
I’ll end here, and finish this note by letting a scientist speak on beauty. Richard Feynman’s comments appear below. 
 
Ken Friedman   
 
“Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere globs of gas atoms. I, too, can see the stars on a desert night and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination — stuck on this little carousel, my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light. A vast pattern — of which I am part... What is the pattern. or the meaning, or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. 
Why do poets of the present not speak of it? What men arc poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane must be silent?” 
 
— Richard Feynman 
 
Quoted in: Gleick, James. 1993. Genius: Richard P. Feynman and Modern Physics. London: Abacus, p. 373. 
 
-- 
 
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