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Art interprets the visible world, physics charts its unseen workings–making the two realms seem completely opposed. But in Art & Physics, Leonard Shlain tracks. “Art and physics, like wave and particle, are an integrated duality: They are simply two different but complementary facets of a single description. A California surgeon explores the striking parallels in the evolution of Western art and science in this enlightening exploration of where ideas.

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Moreover, special relativity does NOT mean arbitrary subjectivity, as each frame of reference can be mathematically translated into another frame with the appropriate Lorentz transformation. The book reads like a textbook and I 19ve since discovered that it is used in many universities around the country.

Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light.

Art and Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light – Leonard Shlain – Google Books

I recommend this book for the curious and the open-minded. However, I doubt that an expert in physics or in art would be entirely satisfied with Shlain’s exposition. In reality, the book is no less than an attempt to philosophically unify the realms of human understanding and creativity in the context of the universe. rat

I like this author because he asks “what if” and just sets about diving deep into what he wonders about. I found this a wonderful project, especially as Shlain’s ultimate hypothesis is not that the arts were influenced by developments in the sciences, but that the arts in strange and obscure ways seem to, over time, prefigure scientific discoveries.

Since the future and the past are the same thing as now, what I’m doing right now, instead of worrying about the future and regretting the past, is really changing the future. As Hayden White has observed, causality is a construction imposed on events through our human need to narrativize – causality and narrative do not inhere in events themselves, and only seem to do so when we are bounded by the third dimension and cannot perceive time as a unity.


But for all that the book is highly enjoyable and thought provoking on the subjects of both art and science. I bought this book in when it was first published in Vietnam.

And finally what are those eternal truths that will still be deemed true in 1, years and does that make them truth or fiction in 10, years. View all 15 comments.

Often I side with questions on this matter of truth or fiction. There’s a problem loading this menu right now. I do think there are a lot of connections between physics and art, but the way he talks about it makes it seem like artists are somehow intuiting the direction that physics will take andd laying the groundwork for the scientific discoveries to come. Although I am not sure, after reading this book, that I subscribe to the fundamental premise that the author suggests in this work, I highly recommend a read.

You can say, in a metaphorical sense, that the photon “experiences no time”, but even assuming that this is a meaningful statement we also need to take into account that, within the same considerations, that the photon travels zero distance; so the whole example is very dangerous and prone to misconception.

Revised Edition Complementary Shlainn. I was lead sblain look up a lot of images online.

Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light

Some artists, as sensitive nodes, Shlain’s argument runs, get a glimmer of this unity, translate it into their art and, thereby, provide effective visual metaphors for scientific discoveries that have not yet occured and that are exceedingly difficult to imagine as they precisely pertain to reality exterior to our three dimensions he uses primarily Einstein’s theories concerning gravity and how bizarrely matter behaves at the speed of light.

If you have to explain it, you did it wrong. From the classical Greek sculptors to Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, and from Aristotle to Einstein, artists have foreshadowed the discoveries of scientists, such as when Monet and Cezanne intuited the coming upheaval in physics that Einstein would initiate.


It was only then that I began to understand the larger politics of association. The point is more to show people that these things are very real forces and factors to the whole picture.

Understanding Da Vinci’s Creative Genius. Aug 22, Albus D. Feb 14, Thao Phan rated it it was amazing. Discover Prime Book Box for Kids. Right and left legs and arms do not function in adversarial opposition shlwin each other; they function in co-operative coordination with each other for the synergistic benefit and advantage of the whole.

Again, the author picks the most outlandish and speculative theories, rather than accepting the current overwhelming consensus that quasars are super-massive black holes at the center of galaxies. What, he wondered, was modern art trying to communicate, and why was so much of modern art difficult to comprehend?

Both fascinating and infuriating.

Art & Physics | by Leonard Shlain

Overall, a very compelling read, although some of the biology in the last couple of chapters is quite out of date. Consider purchasing this with Alan Lightman’s wonderful little book, Einstein’s Dreams.

I love to read books on physics, and I also love art so I was thrilled to see this book sitting in the “new books” section at work. Many scientists and mathematicians at the forefront of their fields, who are at the cutting edge of research, can go into rapture about the aesthetics of their work and the profound beauty of their discoveries.


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