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Truth and Beauty: Aesthetics and Motivations in Science Paperback – October 15, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0226100876 ISBN-10: 0226100871 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Aesthetics and Motivations in Science
  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (October 15, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226100871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226100876
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

S. Chandrasekhar has received many awards in his career, including the Nobel Prize for Physics, the National Medal of Science (U.S.), and the Copley Medal of the Royal Society (London). He is the Morton D. Hull Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Department of Physics, and the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By kaushikb@planetasia.com on January 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
Let me admit at the outset that I read the collection of lectures quite some time back. However, I remember with amazing clarity how much the lectures moved me. Chandrasekhar is not a man who draws superficial parallels between artstic endeavour and the scientific process.
What the essays reveal are something incredibly personal. They reflect what one of the most prominent Astrophysicists of our time feel about aesthetics - from the perspective of C.P Snow's "Two cultures".
And Art, seen from this scientist's point of view, seems to be all the richer for it, contrary to popular belief that rationality strips Art of its elemental passion. The essays go to show that the world we think we live in is not so fragmented after all, and keen perception, augmented with a desire to express, can smoothen the shards that have been left behind in the wake of reductionist thinking.
If you have ever dreamed about the creative cogwheels in scientific history, the essays go to show that they the burning need for an aesthetic whole need not be fundamentally different in the Arts. But there is a interesting and debatable point - which is linked with the unproductive geriatric scientist, and his equally productive counterpart.
But for the last chapter, based on the Karl Schwarzchild lectures on general relativity, most of the essays are at the "scientifically educated" level. One of the most remarkable chapters is about Arthur Eddington, and the Chandrasekhar's open-mindedness is assesing the acutely "conservative" giant of Stellar Physics for his contributions and his drawbacks. One cannot be overwhelmed by history at such moments.
What M.C. Escher's offered the world of mathematical paradoxies and oddities with his lithographs is somewhat symbiotic to Chandrasekhar's lectures. One can only hope that these subtle threads between the "two cultures" will remain.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Arjun N. Dr Saxena on May 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Professor Chandrasekhar was not only a brilliant physicist, but he was also a very caring and wonderful human being. His views on the aesthetics and motivations in science clearly show his love of fellow beings and how to inspire the younger generation.
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Format: Paperback
This is really a confluence of interests that a creative scientist encounters in his lifetime. Chandra calls it quest for perspectives. He is sort of like Dirac but unlike Dirac, his interests diverge into areas like the renaissance architectures, Beethoven's compositional beauty, Shakespearean prose. He draws parallels from these experiences. They are compelling essays but one can tell Chandra is out of his depth in discussing figures like Beethoven however he corrects himself and warns the reader ahead of time that tackling a subject area other than his own is difficult. I think this happens to everyone who works in a certain field but is awed by other areas such as the arts and tends to draw analogies in form and structure to their own field. His motto throughout is that simplicity is at the heart of anything beautiful and says "Simple is the seal of the true". An interesting read but some chapters at the end of the book are a hard tackle if Astrophysics is not your field, in fact the appreciation for the work is held together more in the early essays. It is a quest for perspectives from a vantage point of an Astrophysicist.
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