An amazing collection of answers to a fascinating question – What is your favorite, deep, elegant or beautiful explanation?
To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.
Scientists’ greatest pleasure comes from theories that derive the solution to some deep puzzle from a small set of simple principles in a surprising way. These explanations are called “beautiful” or “elegant”. Historical examples are Kepler’s explanation of complex planetary motions as simple ellipses, Bohr’s explanation of the periodic table of the elements in terms of electron shells, and Watson and Crick’s double helix. Einstein famously said that he did not need experimental confirmation of his general theory of relativity because it “was so beautiful it had to be true.”
Once in a while, it is nice to get out of your daily activities and read something entirely different – pick the brains of some great thinkers and writers. This is what Maria Popova does so elegantly in Brain Pickings. It is a newsletter worth subscribing to.