Science and Art

1) Voss-Andreae’s Quantum Physics-Inspired Art: “What I want is to increase the audience’s capacity to intuit the deeper nature of reality by sensually experiencing the works.”

Symmetry Breaking, a Fermilab blog, describes how Voss Andreae “infuses the classical representations of quantum objects with some philosophical interpretation….His piece “Night Path,” interprets Richard Feynman’s technique to measure all possible paths that a particle could take by “slicing up” segments of space-time and creating all possible paths. The result is a stunning work of art in which a divided up black box holds taut gold threat that collectively trace a curved path. Voss-Andreae says the path “connects the idea of the quantum mechanical path to the image of a meteor, a rock falling through the dark of the night, often believed to be connected to a meaningful event.”

2) Caleb Charland: Scientific Curiosity as an Art

3) SEED Magazine has a great article “The Future of Science is….Art.” Here are some excerpts but I would definitely suggest reading the entire article:

“In this sense, the arts are an incredibly rich data set, providing science with a glimpse into its blind spots…the surreal nature of physics is precisely why it needs the help of artists. The science has progressed beyond our ability to understand it, at least in any literal sense. As Richard Feynman put it, “Our imagination is stretched to the utmost, not, as in fiction, to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are there.” It’s a brute fact of psychology that the human mind cannot comprehend the double-digit dimensions of string theory, or the possibility of parallel universes. Our mind evolved in a simplified world, where matter is certain, time flows forward and there are only three dimensions. When we venture beyond these innate intuitions, we are forced to resort to metaphor. This is the irony of modern physics: It seeks reality in its most fundamental form, and yet we are utterly incapable of comprehending these fundaments beyond the math we use to represent them. The only way to know the universe is through analogy.

As a result, the history of physics is littered with metaphorical leaps. Einstein grasped relativity while thinking about moving trains. Arthur Eddington compared the expansion of the universe to an inflated balloon. James Clerk Maxwell thought of magnetic fields as little whirlpools in space, which he called vortices. The Big Bang was just a cosmic firecracker. Schrödinger’s cat, trapped in a cosmic purgatory, helped illustrate the paradoxes of quantum mechanics. It’s hard to imagine string theory without its garden hose.”

4) “What is Art?” Excerpts, by Leo Tolstoy

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Ecosophy: Deep Ecology

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“Ecology and spirituality are fundamentally connected, because deep ecological awareness, ultimately, is spiritual awareness.”

-Fritjov Capra

Deep ecology is a branch of “ecosophy” coined by Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess in 1973  that sees all of nature, including humans, as an interconnected web. This system of environmental ethics differentiates itself from traditional environmentalism, which it sees as too anthropomorphic. The deep ecology movement philosophy parallels the shifts in scientific thinking from Newtonian, in which the human observer is removed from the object of observation, to quantum in which the observer cannot be separated from the experiment.

Deep ecologists assert that if humans expand the self to include all living things, our relationship to the environment becomes psychological: “If we have deep ecological awareness of being part of the web of life, then we will, as opposed to should, be inclined to care for all living nature.” Fritjov Capra, a systems theorist and physicist, is a proponent of deep ecology and authored the 1975 book The Tao of Physics that discusses the connection between modern physics and eastern mysticism. The ecological dilemmas we face, looking from a deep ecological perspective, can be solved only with a shift in human consciousness in which our relationship to nature becomes one of unity rather than of separateness. The fight against global warming is not only a political battle, it is a spiritual one.

Resources:

-For links to articles on deep ecology and interviews with the Arne Naess, click here.

Journal of Ecosophy

Overview of Deep Ecology

-Fritjov Capra Video: “The Systems View of Life.”

-Link to article: “The World Affirming Vision of Non-Duality: Vedanta Contribution to Deep Ecology.”

Video: “Stephen Harding: Gaia Theory and Deep Ecology”

Arne Naess Obituary, NYTimes 2009

-Quotes about deep ecology


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