BEAUTY AND SCIENCE

[ Thu. Jun. 6. 2013 ]

Every year, the Edge.org website, run by a group of scientists and intellectuals in the U.S., presents a provocative question the responses to which  are then collected in a book that is invariably instructive and surprising, since the contributions are heavyweights from various fields of academia and the world of the arts. "What is your favorite explanation is that deep, elegant or beautiful?" was the question proposed in 2012. Almost 200 responses are collected in the volume This Explains Everything, launched earlier this year.

One of the texts that particularly caught my attention is the novelist and philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, she remembers that there is in principle no connection between the fact that a theory is beautiful and it is true, and yet we tend to use aesthetic criterion for deciding between competing explanations. ...