World Science Scholars

1.6 Truth and Beauty Discussion

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    • Do you agree that science has continuously faced a tension between truth and beauty, and that mathematics defines the standards of beauty?

    • I don’t know if this tension has always existed but I agree that now the problem of testability vs. mathematical elegance is one I hear often around such subjects as string theory, quantum gravity and many worlds, for instance. I think beauty is a human construct, and that in general aesthetics are not yet definable by math, and I don’t know if they ever will be.

    • One of the things we can say for certain is that the universe is not static, but a highly dynamical system. This dynamical quality has been continuously observed in all things in the universe from the quanta to the macro. It therefore is silly to assume that any understanding of such dynamism itself would, or should be static; clearly the universe is accelerating in dimension, thereby affecting all things within its boundary. The fact that we’ve come to understand to the best of our current ability such astounding resolutions into the quantum world, shows no indication that we’ve reached some limiting case scenario. The fact that the universe appears essentially flat in shape, and that this flatness as well as quantum qualities of gravity are described successfully in string theory, is highly relevant that these cumulative studies should naturally be continued as a field of study yielding such rich descriptives, however above current understanding it may be. The fact that mathematics so successfully describes the physics of the universe, indicates that it’s a translatable language of high applicability to our understanding of the universe. To extend the concepts of maths into other areas of describing time and space as for example, as a spacetime expression in music, as well is an excellent mathematical translation of values moving through time. It appears that humans have been endowed to contemplate the universe by finding beauty and truth, across time. Our ancestors had concepts of infinity, initial conditions, entropic finality, invisible forces, order, harmony, and universal mind fully embedded in their cultural organizations. Today, we use the combined translation-studies of physics and maths for much the same, continued deeper-seeking of beauty and truth in our relationship with the universe. This trend will only continue, like the dynamical expansion of the universe. The question remains open as to whether we will continue to merge our understandings further to mirror the most powerful engine of the universe itself, or peter out like the stray planets that are found somehow drifting afloat outside their decoupled ellipses… Somehow ejected as lifeless asteroids void of life, subject to the will of gravity.

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    • The problem with beauty is “beauty according to whom?”. Sounds like a subjective thing. Although if you ask David Deutsch, he says even beauty is objective and we just “discover” beauty, we don’t invent it.

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