coolboy 发表于 2018-12-6 08:46:49

On Scientists vs Artists

It is a truth universally acknowledged that scientists and artists frequently debate on the subject of science vs art. They often cannot get along with each other very well because they have fundamentally different views on the world. One famous example was the view on the beauty of a flower by the physicist Richard Feynman who was the Nobel Prize recipient. He once said the following quotes that were widely cited to describe the shallowness of artists (Feynman 1988, p. 11):

I have a friend who’s an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say "look how beautiful it is," and I’ll agree. But then he’ll say "I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing." I think that he’s kind of nutty.
First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I might not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is, I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. But at the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I can imagine the cells inside, which also have a beauty. There’s beauty not just at the dimension of one centimeter; there is also beauty at a smaller dimension.
There are the complicated actions of the cells, and other processes. The fact that the colors in the flower have evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; that means that insects can see the color. That adds a question: does this aesthetic sense we have also exist in lower forms of life? There are all kinds of interesting questions that come from a knowledge of science, which only adds to the excitement and mystery and awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts.

Feynman, R. P., 1988: “What Do You Care What Other People Think?” Further Adventures of a Curious Character. Penguin Books Canada Ltd, Ontario, 255 pp.

In my opinion, Richard Feynman did not fully understand artists and thus his view on artists was thus incomplete. It is generally believed that there are often two different kinds of world in the mind of an artist: a realistic world and an imaginary world. In each of those two worlds there must be different aspects of beauty that can be appreciated. What Richard Feynman demonstrated in his quotes was that a scientist generally was able to appreciate more aspects of beauty of a flower than an artist in the realistic world that can be seen and exists. However, he totally missed the imaginary world in which various aspects of beauty can further be greatly appreciated in the mind of an artist. In other words, Richard Feynman missed one half of the whole beauty of a flower that can only be appreciated by an artist who is able to live not only in a realistic world but also in an imaginary world. :)

coolboy 发表于 2021-2-27 12:34:21

数学家庞加莱(Henri Poincare)有一段关于科学中的美的叙述被许多科学家,尤其是一些知名物理学家(如S. Chandrasekhar)所欣赏并代他广泛宣扬。庞加莱是这样说的:
“The scientist does not study nature because it is useful to do so. He studies it because he takes pleasure in it, and he takes pleasure in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful it would not be worth knowing, and life would not be worth living. I am not speaking, of course, of the beauty which strikes the senses, of the beauty of qualities and appearances. I am far from despising this, but it has nothing to do with science. What I mean is that more intimate beauty which comes from the harmonious order of its parts, and which a pure intelligence can grasp.”

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