Beauty and Physics

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I just got a very interesting article entitled “A thing of beauty” by Arthur Miller, whom I met in Ascona. The nuance between “beauty” and “simplicity” might be an interesting topic of discussion. In fact an essential point of our joint work (with Chamseddine and Marcolli) on the Standard Model coupled to gravity is to obtain the complicated Lagrangian from a simple principle: the spectral action.

5 thoughts on “Beauty and Physics

  1. Anonymous

    The disadvantage of beauty over simplicity is that there are vastly more things that are beautiful than there are things that are simple.

  2. Kea

    Les trois musiciens! (Hope I spelt that correctly). For physicists who love the cubic axioms in 3-categories, this is an appropriate illustration of both simplicity and beauty. Carl and I disgree about this, as usual.

  3. Fabien Besnard

    Thanks a lot for this link to A. Miller’s article. I also wish to thank Alain and Masoud for this great blog.
    Concerning the sense of beauty in Science, maybe it is akin to the feeling everyone experiences in front of a beautiful landscape, for instance. Of course, this is less immediate, but through hard work, some, who are sufficiently well educated can experience beauty in front of Nature’s subtler features, like, say, the Einstein’s equation. I think this feeling of beauty also comes with a feeling of Spinozian joy, that is the feeling of going from a state of lesser knowledge (thus lesser power to act) to a state of greater knowledge.

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