© 2010, Natalie Rich


[From the introduction]

Both beauty and Truth lie beneath many of mankind’s deepest desires and aspirations. The search for beauty drives many people to travel to pristine forests or untouched coastlines to experience awe, while the search for knowledge about the Truth of the universe in which we live compels many to study the tiniest particles or largest spaces we can conceive in order to get a slight hold on our place in a seemingly endless and impartial existence. Our rational proclivities lead us to search for Truth and solid facts; our intrinsic appreciation for natural beauty allows us to deeply appreciate the beauty of a sunrise after a lifetime of daylight. Beauty and Truth both cause people to experience life and their own world in different and unique ways.

Though examining Truth and beauty are great adventures in their own rights, examining the relationship between the two is also very interesting. The behavior of the universe when examined on both infinitely large and infinitely small scales can have many elements of beauty. Likewise, many beautiful occurrences in nature can have intriguing scientific explanations. When considering the idea that a proposed theory uniting every phenomenological law of physics will be recognizable because of its intrinsic beauty, however, it seems strange and almost irrational to add an aesthetic criterion to a scientific theory. This invites the question, “Is beauty a valid criterion for scientific Truth?” This question will be examined through a comparison of philosophic and scientific ideas about beauty and Truth, as well as a comparison of the implications of both positive and negative responses. [...]

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