Science of Beauty
Duration: 4 hours
Target Audience: Anyone who is interested in science, life, joy, nature and the cosmos
Nature creates all things with four attributes: Form, Function, Beauty and Joy. This lecture is about beauty in Nature. Beauty may be is in the eye of the beholder, and thought may be in the mind of the perceiver. But beauty has a scientific basis, a quantitative relationship.
An old Anglican Hymn says:
The “Divine Proportion,” in the presence of God brings us to the idea of relationship. Our minds will be led back toward the sense of ‘oneness’ through a succession of proportional relationships. A proportion symbolizes a comparison between two things, and is thus the elementary basis for conceptual judgment. The divine proportion, quantitatively is written as a:b::b:(a+b), in which the ratio of the smaller term to the larger term is same as the ratio of the larger term to the smaller plus the larger. The larger term (a+b) must be a wholeness or unit composed of sum of the other two terms. This divine proportion is designated by the Greek letter ‘Phi’ whose value is 1.6180339887…. The fraction goes on forever, as ‘phi’ is an irrational number. The presence of this proportion can be seen everywhere in Nature: In the structures of sunflowers, pineapples, jimsonweed, pomegranates, cochlea, DNA, nautiluses, and sea stars; and in the rabbit population growth, leaf arrangement in plants, tiling on a turtle’s back, formation of a cyclone, collusion of galaxies and so on. This divine proportion is also the basis of beauty in Egyptian pyramids, Greek architecture, Michelangelo's paintings and the Indian sculpture, to name a few examples from art. In this lecture, the ubiquitous presence of this proportion of beauty in Nature will be expounded, and the science behind the art will be explained.