The Artful Universe Expanded
John D. Barrow
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Our love of art, writes John Barrow, is the end product of millions of years of evolution. How we react to a beautiful painting or symphony draws upon instincts laid down long before humans existed. Now, in this enhanced edition of the highly popular The Artful Universe, Barrow further explores the close ties between our aesthetic appreciation and the basic nature of the Universe.
Barrow argues that the laws of the Universe have imprinted themselves upon our thoughts and actions in subtle and unexpected ways. Why do we like certain types of art or music? What games and puzzles do we find challenging? Why do so many myths and legends have common elements? In this eclectic and entertaining survey, Barrow answers these questions and more as he explains how the landscape of the Universe has influenced the development of philosophy and mythology, and how millions of years of evolutionary history have fashioned our attraction to certain patterns of sound and color. This second edition features eight fascinating new sections covering such topics as the recent discoveries of extrasolar planets, the fashionable postmodernist rejection of science, and the discovery of the underlying mathematical structure of Jackson Pollock's work.
Drawing on a wide variety of examples, from the theological questions raised by St. Augustine and C.S. Lewis to the relationship between the pure math of Pythagoras and the music of the Beatles, The Artful Universe Expanded covers new ground and enters a wide-ranging debate about the meaning and significance of the links between art and science.
"Traverses an enormous range of material, treating the reader to extended riffs on everything from non-Euclidean geometry to Stravinsky's theories on music."
--The New York Times
strange case of Jack the Dripper War and peace: size and culture Far from the madding crowd: the size of populations Les liaisons dangereuses: complexity, mobility, and cultural evolution Network news: branching out The Go-Betweenies: messing with Mister In-Between The rivals: the evolution of cooperation The secret garden: the art of landscape Figures in a landscape: the dilemma of computer art Midnight’s children: a ﬁrst glimpse of the stars 1 6 6 12 21 26 30 33 39 43 50 52 56 56 62 69 72 75
and simplicity are rarely its most impressive manifestations. The biologist, the economist, or the sociologist all focus upon the complexities to be found in the higgledypiggledy outcomes of the laws of Nature. These outcomes are governed neither * See my book The Constants of Nature for a more wide-ranging discussion. 42 | The impact of evolution by simplicity nor symmetry. Hundreds of years ago, natural theologians tried to impress their readers with stories of the wondrous symmetry and
possible to synchronize with tidal cycles by various means: by sensing the forces directly, by sensing moonlight variations, or by behavioural variations in the intertidal region. Animals sense the changing of the seasons by a response to the length of the The remains of the day: rhythms of life | 137 hours of daylight. There are remarkable examples of the accuracy of this sensing, which optimizes female fertility to coincide with the spring equinox. A critical daylight length seems to trigger
rich in diamonds, or precious metals like gold. The world economy could be thrown into turmoil; with gold now as common as iron, the gold reserves of the major industrial nations would suddenly be on the market as scrap. The abundance of radioactive elements in the Earth’s interior plays an important role in its history. They act as a source of internal heat that must be lost from the planet’s surface. The rate of this heat loss determines how much of the Earth’s core remains solid. As we saw in
been eclipsed if light travelled in straight lines (Figure 4.8). Without the coincidence that creates total eclipses of the Sun for us, this prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity could not have been tested. Einstein made these predictions about the bending of starlight in 1916, during the First World War. Fortunately, there was an eclipse in 1919, soon after the war ended, and it occurred in front of the best star-ﬁeld for testing the light-bending predictions. The other great