At Seymour, we’re fascinated by attempts to communicate the ineffable. Your new book Colliding Worlds explores the intersection of art and science and helps readers expand their definitions of each topic and “how both involve an intuitive feel for the beauty of the unseen.” Please give us a glimpse of your thoughts on this subject.
Since my contention in Colliding Worlds is that in the 21st century art, science and technology will merge, the common ground is what interests me. What went before will be relegated to history. Let me review what is usually understood as the difference between beauty in art and beauty in science. Beauty in art is a visible thing and has to do with form and symmetry. It is subjective and so is truly in the eye of the beholder. The biological sciences also attribute beauty to symmetry in form but support this with arguments concerning how symmetrical objects are better suited to nature. Sciences based in mathematics and often dealing with the invisible have a completely objective notion of beauty or aesthetics. An equation is beautiful if it maintains its form when certain elements in it are transformed. For example, if an equation maintains its form when left and right are switched, then that equation is said to display mirror symmetry. Meaning: if it predicts an experimental result then that result will be the same if the experiment is performed in a mirror world. Beautiful equations, the basis of beautiful theories, are more likely to succeed than ‘ugly’ ones. No one knows exactly why. Perhaps it’s that beautiful theories reflect the underlying beauty in nature, often beyond our senses. For this reason beauty has become a guideline in mathematically-based sciences. […]
Read full interview online: Seymour Magazine