Art and Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light

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9780688123055: Art and Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light

Art interprets the visible world, physics charts its unseen workings--making the two realms seem completely opposed. But in Art & Physics, Leonard Shlain tracks their breakthroughs side by side throughout history to reveal an astonishing correlation of visions.

From teh classical Greek sculptors to Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, and from Aristotle to Einstein, aritsts have foreshadowed the discoveries of scientists, such as when Money and Cezanne intuited the coming upheaval in physics that Einstein would initiate. In this lively and colorful narrative, Leonard Shlain explores how artistic breakthroughs could have prefigured the visionary insights of physicists on so many occasions throughtout history.

Provacative and original, Art & Physics is a seamless integration of the romance of art and the drama of science...and exhilarating history of ideas.


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About the Author:


Leonard Shlain is a surgeon who practices in San Francisco. He lives in Mill Valley, California. He can be reached at lshlain@aol.com.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A California surgeon explores the striking parallels in the evolution of Western art and science in this enlightening exploration of where ideas come from and how they enter the consciousness of a culture. Though art and science are traditionally considered antithetical disciplines--with art dependent on intuition for its development and science on logic and sequential thinking--both nevertheless rely on an initial burst of inspiration regarding the nature of reality, and in Western culture the two have followed separate but remarkably similar paths. Shlain offers detailed anecdotes from the history of Western culture--from the ancient Greeks' penchant for single-melody choruses and blank rectangles, through the fragmented art and science of the Medieval period, to modern art's redefinition of reality and the relativity revolution in science--to illustrate how major movements in art have generally preceded scientific breakthroughs based on equivalent ideas, despite the artists and scientists involved having remained largely ignorant of one another's work. Shlain's suggestion that scientists have not so much been inspired by artists but have received initial inspiration from the same source--bringing to mind the possibility of a universal mind from which such ideas spring--is an intriguing one that offers a new window through which to view the dissemination of knowledge and ideas. A fascinating and provocative discussion--slow in coalescing but worth the wait. (Seventy-two b&w photographs and 15 diagrams.) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Leonard Shlain
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