Saturday, July 02, 2005

A point of view

A few days ago, I saw this on a digital photography website:
Maxwell's Equations
For those who are unfamiliar with those four famous equations, they are called Maxwell's Equations. Developed by the famous Scottish physicist, James Clerk Maxwell, they unite the very fundamental forces of electricity and magnetism into a coherent theory of electromagnetism. I encountered them for the first time in a high school physics class. Are they not beautiful? I think they are simply gorgeous.

Simple, elegant and complete, they describe something which forms the thread of nature's divine tapestry. I have always believed that science at its elegant best is an art. Yet I see people who scoff at students of science as being artistically blunt. Many a times I interact with people who are talented and extremely gifted in the performing/visual/language arts, and they tend to look down upon tech geeks as being incapable of refined thought. Geeky science people might prefer reading Batman to Leo Tolstoy, but that does not automatically condemn them to the very lows of creativity. And then if they dare to give their views on, say a painting, their tastes and opinions are discarded as being crude, by default.

But I am not done yet. Now see this painting by Salvador Dali, called the Corpus Hypercubicus.
Maxwell's Equations
He has used an unfolded 4D hypercube as a cross here. The hypercube is a generalization of a 3-cube to n dimensions, also called a measure polytope. And how many times have I also met men of science who think art is an adhoc way of expressing things. It is not uncommon to see students of science look at artists with distaste, for its lack of rigor and abundance of abstract thought. I think that in every shred of art that has ever been, one can find scientific method and expression.

It is very difficult to make one see the other at times, but they are right there, inside of each other. I see both as wonderful manifestations of human thought. And one intertwines with the other in ways only limited by our imagination. I cannot write enough words here which will convey how exactly I feel about this, because it has permeated into me more as an experience than as a collection of facts. More often than not, I have found that my interactions with people from both streams have enriched my thought process. The only point I wanted to get through is that one does not preclude the other. I hope I have done that.

I am sure all this was part of some grand plan but I cannot remember. Seeing me in much distress, Pooh Bear explained thus:
When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you sometimes find that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.


  1. *ranting and raving commencing*

    am so impressed that you chose Dali and actually found a shred of intellect in MANY people treat artists as doing it for FUN...and thats it..Dali was thought to be mad...and he was probably....( mad people are more fun anyways)...but these were smart, intellectual people who thought on a very high plane and didnt need to have things explained to the layman .they stayed on their own level... so people scoffed.. because they did not understand..

    ...because they did not understand.
    thats what brings "judgment" into the scene..unfortunately.

  2. and of course, there is the mona lisa.


    check out some of the links. pretty cool.

  4. i can't say i've encountered that before. the 'students of science' usually have an arrogant attitude cos they think people choose arts only cos they can't get science, or cos they aren't "upto it." that's what i've seen. and art is seen as "trivial pursuits" by science sudents! for the record, I was NOT like that!

    LOVE what pooh bear said!

  5. @sunshine: I was going to use a renaissance multi-point perspective painting to explain my point but then I remembered Dali :) "Not understanding" should be seperated from prejudice, but then I should also be the most rich and handsome man in the world.

    @stiletto: Ah! Me has seen her up close and personal :) Leonardo was the perfect blend of science and art.

    @sonia: It is unfortunate that such views prevail. That is precisely what I meant. Oh well! Pooh bear knows what is best.

  6. @mirage: Oh! But why? The mirage itself is not supposed to get lost. It's only others who get lost looking for the mirage :P

  7. well, this lil piglet thinks its VERY Thingish :)

  8. but its because they do not understand or dont want to...that they scorn it...kinda like the fox with the sour int hat it is a form of prejudice.. no?

  9. @cactus: He he! That's right Piglet. Pooh only wanted to be sure it was. :)

    @sunshine: I would say not understanding and not wanting to understand are two different things. An earnest effort at understanding should dampen prejudice. It is true that such efforts do not always pay off but it always leaves the one trying, a bit wiser.

  10. these are some very interesting ideas you have conveyed. . . thank you.