Published 28 June 2011 by Beatrice Lugger
Sir Harold Kroto – Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting 2011
Créativité Sans Frontières
Children are not the only ones who instinctively appreciate the elegant beauty of highly symmetric structures such as the soccer ball (Fig 1) and “play” with them. Artists, architects, scientists, mathematicians and engineers are also fascinated by elegant structures and use them in their creative efforts. Leonardo da Vinci drew the magnificent image (Fig 2) and Buckminster Fuller designed geodesic domes such as that in Fig 3.
When C60 Buckminsterfullerene was discovered it was its elegant symmetry that captured the imagination of scientists and non-scientists alike. More subtle yet no less cathartic responses are engendered in the minds of people who possess the fluency to appreciate not only the beauty of mathematical symbols but also the intricate elegance of their operations as well as their value in applications.
Image Right: Nicole, a physics grad student (and Lindau participant in 2010) writes:
My tattoo is the Taylor expansion of sine. I consider it the most beautiful thing I have ever learned. I got the tattoo after my freshman year at MIT. It has additional meaning to me since sin(x)~x is one of the most useful things in physics.
Indeed mathematics, in particular symbolic algebra, is arguably our most treasured intellectual creation, as mankind finally realised that it was the language in which the Universe speaks and reveals its deepest and most spiritually moving secrets.
The presentation will explore some of the common aspects of the creative response – sans frontières – from an appreciation of the forms discovered by scientists and readily appreciated visually to the mathematical forms created by humans as well as the elegant creations of artists through which they explore the human condition.
However something new has just entered the equation – the Internet – and it is arguable that it has catalysed more human creativity than any invention since the printing press as individuals are now able to broadcast on every topic imaginable and in particular use the GooYouWiki World to help to improve education globally.
It is a fascinating and thought-provoking fact that it is the appreciation of patterns both simple and complex that abound in the physical and natural world as well as in mankind’s symbolic and artistic creations that, when combined with human curiosity, have driven advances in understanding at every level and changed every aspect of the modern world.
Fig 3 from http://pics.twobrained.com/132/free-photo-of-sc…