Words in bold within the text indicate terms cross-referenced to other articles in the book Abstract Expressionism A form of art in which the artist expresses himself purely through the use of form and colour. It is non-representational, or non-objective, art, which means that there are no concrete objects represented. In terms of art history, the movement can be broadly divided into two groups: Abstract Expressionism is closely linked to several literary movements, particularly Imagism and Postmodernism.
Musings on science, history, philosophy and literature Truth and beauty in chemistry By Wavefunction on Saturday, December 03, The mathematician Hermann Weyl who made many diverse contributions to his discipline once made the startling assertion that whenever he had to choose between truth and beauty in his works, he usually chose beauty.
Mathematicians and theoretical physicists are finely attuned to the notion of beauty. They certainly have history on their side; some of the greatest equations of physics and theories of mathematics sparkle with economy, elegance and surprising universality, qualities which make them beautiful.
Like Weyl, Paul Dirac was famously known to extol beauty in his creations and once said that there is no place in the world for ugly mathematics; the equation named after him is a testament to his faith in the harmony of things.
How do you define and reconcile truth and beauty in chemistry? And is chemical truth chemical beauty?
In chemistry the situation is trickier since chemistry much more than physics is an experimental science based on models rather than universal overarching theories.
Chemists more than physicists revel in the details of their subject. Perhaps the succinct equations of thermodynamics come closest in chemistry to defining beauty, but physics can equally lay claim to these equations.
Is there a quintessentially chemical notion of beauty and how does it relate to any definition of truth? Is this true in chemistry? Although scientific John keats concept of beauty can be notoriously subjective, many explanatory scientific frameworks deemed beautiful seem to share certain qualities.
Foremost among these qualities are universality and economy; more specifically, the ability to explain the creation of complexity from simplicity. In physics for instance, the Dirac equation is considered a supreme example of beauty since in half a dozen symbols it essentially explains all the properties of the electron and also unifies it with the special theory of relativity.
Beauty is inherent in biology too. Perhaps not surprisingly, many of these examples are most manifest in theories of chemical bonding, since these theories underlie all of chemistry in principle.
I certainly saw elegance when I studied crystal field theory. Crystal field theory uses a few simple notions of the splitting of energies of molecular orbitals to explain the color, magnetic and electric properties of thousands of compounds.
VSEPR predicts the shape of simple molecules based on the number of their valence electrons. It will tell you for instance why tomatoes are red and what happens when a photon of light strikes your retina.
Again, the theory is not as rigorous as some of the advanced methods that followed it, but for its simplicity it is both elegant and remarkable useful. The volume still stands as the ultimate example of how an untold variety of phenomena and molecular structures can be understood through the application of a few simple, elegant rules.
The rules are derived through a combination of empirical data and rigorous quantum mechanics calculations. This fact may immediately lead purist physicists to denounce any inkling of beauty in chemistry, but they would be wrong.
This mention of the difference between empiricism and theory reminds me of a conversation I once had with a colleague that bears on our discussion of elegance and beauty in chemistry.
We were arguing the merits of using molecular mechanics and quantum mechanics for calculating the properties of molecules. Molecular mechanics is a simple method that can give accurate results when parameterized using empirical experimental information.
Quantum mechanics is a complicated method that gives rigorous, first-principle results without needing any parameterization.
Quantum mechanics does calculate everything from scratch and in principle is a perfect theory of chemistry, but for a truly rigorous and accurate calculation of a realistic molecular system, its equations can become complicated, unwieldy and can take up several pages.
Molecular mechanics on the other hand can be represented using a few simple mathematical terms which can be scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin. Unlike quantum mechanics, molecular mechanics calculations on well-parameterized molecules take a few minutes and can give results comparable in accuracy to those of its more rigorous counterpart.
In addition, on a practical basis one may not even need the accuracy of quantum mechanics for their research. Depending on the context and need, different degrees of accuracy may be sufficient for the chemical practitioner; for instance, calculation of relative energies may not be affected by a constant error in each of the calculations, but that of absolute energy will not tolerate such an error.
The discussion makes it clear than, while definitions of elegance are beyond a point subjective and philosophical, in chemistry elegance can be defined as much by practical accessibility and convenience as by perfect theoretical frameworks and extreme rigor. While these expositions of beauty in theories of chemical bonding are abstract, there is a much starker and obvious manifestation of chemical pulchritude, in the marvelous little molecular machines that nature has exquisitely crafted through evolution.
This is true of crystal structures in general but especially of protein structures.+ free ebooks online. Did you know that you can help us produce ebooks by proof-reading just one page a day? Go to: Distributed Proofreaders. Get an answer for 'According to Keats "Negative Capability" is an essential element of poetry.
Discuss.' and find homework help for other John Keats, Negative Capability questions at eNotes. English Literature Glossary of Literary Terms. This is a reprint from The Essentials of Literature in English PostWords in bold within the text indicate terms cross-referenced to .
JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. Beauty is a characteristic of an animal, idea, object, person or place that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or benjaminpohle.com is studied as part of aesthetics, culture, social psychology, philosophy and benjaminpohle.com "ideal beauty" is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection.
The title of Ian Stewart's book (he has written more than 60 others) is, of course, taken from the enigmatic last two lines of John Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn": "Beauty is truth, truth beauty.