1742 The Interconnected Worlds of Physics and Art

Friday, February 19, 2010: 9:50 AM
Room 11B (San Diego Convention Center)
Jack R. Leibowitz , Catholic University of America, Sante Fe, NM
The ties between physics and art extend beyond expressions of obscure metaphor or historical parallel, and some overreaching attempts to pose alleged discoveries from art to physics. An example of the latter, that the art of Manet and Cezanne expresses doubts about Newton̓s theory of gravity, misreads their artistic purposes. The connections between physics and art are deeper and more fascinating than that. There are fundamental connections at the conceptual level. At their foundations, these connections express what I call hidden harmonies, referring ultimately to the ideas of symmetry and broken symmetry. They are keys to what physicists and artists mean by beauty, as brilliantly expressed by Poincare. These themes indicate how pioneer physicists and artists look at their worlds. And, as understood in physics and in art, each in its own terms, discovery is driven by search for beauty and hunger to explore the unknown.