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On Science and Art

We have recently received several books addressing the intriguing relation between science and art. Here are a few:

Einstein for the 21st century: his legacy in science, art, and modern culture. Peter L. Galison, Gerald Holton, and Silvan S. Schweber, editors. Princeton : Princeton University Press, c2008.


This book, by threee notable historians of science, asks: "How is it that Einstein, a physicist of the early 20th century, remains a figure of fascination for so many fields of work, from the sciences to the humanities?" One of the book's three parts, "Art and world," examines "ways in which Einstein does (and doesn't) bear on contemporary problems of art and artistic creation." (p. xiii)

Einstein's Zurich notebook online (from: Einstein for the 21st century)

Beauty and the beast: the aesthetic moment in science. Ernst Peter Fischer. New York : Plenum Trade, c1999.

Historian of science Ernst Fischer examines the lives of several scientists, focusing on how their pursuit of knowledge has been influenced and guided by their instinct and aesthetic sensibilities.

Some reasons for the beauty of the Double Helix (from: Beauty and the beast):

A page from Robert Millikan's lab notebook, (from: Beauty and the beast):


Hidden harmony: the connected worlds of physics and art. J.R. Leibowitz. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.

Leibowitz, who has been a professor of both physics and art, believes that "physics and art share guiding aesthetics and compositional demands… and each speaks meaningfully to the other" (Publisher's notes, book jacket).

Detail from Jean Constant's Newton Polynomial Transgression, 2002, mixed media on canvas (In: Hidden harmony):


Michael Schultheis: cycloids. Washington, D.C. : National Academy of Sciences, National Academies, 2005.

This book contains several paintings by Michael Schultheis, artist, economist, computer engineer. The paintings, which have been exhibited at the National Academies of Science, evoke mathematical symbols and equations. "I create paintings consisting of layers of mathematical notations and drawings that describe the form and motion of three-dimensional geometric shapes … I am interested in interpreting what happens in the human mind at the intimate and profound moment when analytical ideas render and how we draw them in perpetuity." (from the artist's page.)

Schultheis's Convexity Involutus 01 (Cover of Michael Schultheis: cycloids):

Happy birthday, Albert Einstein, born today in 1879.

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