Art interprets the visible world, physics charts its unseen workings–making the two realms seem completely opposed. But in Art & Physics, Leonard Shlain tracks. “Art and physics, like wave and particle, are an integrated duality: They are simply two different but complementary facets of a single description. A California surgeon explores the striking parallels in the evolution of Western art and science in this enlightening exploration of where ideas.

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I purchased another copy not too long ago as I intend to give it another read since it’s been so long since I’ve read it maybe 20 years or so. What is amazing about these two disciplines is that they have throughout history developed obliviously to one another.

If anything the book is an advocate for synchronicity. leonadr

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

His thesis is a wonderful one — a unification of art and physics under a broader universal mind, the unseen catalyst for what we retrospectively see as a cultural zeitgeist — and his writing is clear and rich with illustrative metaphors. I recommend it for everyone who wants to experience the joy of having knowledge about art and many more subjects. Oct 29, Sam Pranger att it it was amazing.

While the author overall presentation of general relativity is not too bad even if xrt bit confusedthis particular statement should be rephrased to something like: That blindsight exists has been well documented; perhaps it is not too much to believe that some phyzics, like the mythical blind Greek prophet, Tiresias, can see that which is not visible.

Revolutionary artists are endowed with blindsight. This may sound far out, but I would suggest you give this book a fighting chance.

But acquiring knowledge from his self-study turns out to be his advantage because it makes his opinion more accessing to the larger audience. And well-executed ones are even rarer. It is precisely the kind of hypothesis I would never expect to find in an institutionally-derived work.

No trivia or quizzes yet. I picked up this book after reading the obituary of the author in the Times. Clearly possessing a well-educated and inquisitive mind he shlani seeks to describe art history and the history of physics and tie the two tightly together. What is so great about splashed on paint?


Art & Physics | by Leonard Shlain

His main thesis is utterly unconvincing and the author thoroughly fails to prove it in any meaningful sense, but the book is still worth reading even if just for its “artistic” sidealbeit with some caution. You can say, in a metaphorical sense, that the photon “experiences no time”, but even assuming that this is a meaningful statement we also need to take into account that, within the same considerations, that the photon travels zero distance; so the whole example is very dangerous and prone to misconception.

Yes, in the journal. This statement demands some serious clarification. I suppose I understand this stance, although I have a lot of musings about institutionalized disciplines and power structures of learning that I do not really want to get into right here. Chain of cognitive orgasms. However, this book convinced me that there is, like, a higher power, probably a part of the fourth dimension of spacetime.

What does this actually mean? And, more interesting to be honest. Only later do the other members of the civilization incorporate this novel view into all aspects of the culture. The thesis of the book is that 1Cart introduces a new way to see the world, then the physicist formulates a new way to think about the world. I have a new understanding and appreciation for modern art. Not everyone was impressed with Shlain. Also, I would question how sensical it actually is to consider a case where the Lorentz conversion factor “gamma” goes to infinity — when you get infinity values you have to be very careful before making any assumptions and taking any conclusions.

It is a book that does contain some very interesting and original insights, and it is well written in a beautiful, engaging and fluent prose; the author is also quite brilliant as an art critic, and proficient and knowledgeable as an art historian. Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light. Be the first to discover new talent! The full title of this book is Art and Physics: The roots of metaphor grow out of language, which in turn is likely the root out of which grows our very cognition.

What, he wondered, was modern art trying to communicate, and why was so much of modern art difficult to comprehend? Since the future and the past are the same thing as now, what I’m doing right now, instead of worrying about the future and regretting the past, is really changing the future. View all 15 comments. An exuberant stylist, he vividly mingles lucid explanations with colorful anecdotes to provide memorable intellectual thrills.


This leads one to wonder if everything we are to discover has already been discovered or perhaps is just waiting for us to have new eyes in which to see what has been there all along. On the contrary, for small black holes the tidal forces would kill even well before the astronaut reaches the event horizon.

It is a book that does contain some very interesting and original insights, and it is well written in a beautiful, engaging and fluent prose; the author is also qui Oh, dear. Shlain, probably because of his “outsider” status to both of the fields he is considering, manages to make remarkably thought provoking comparisons between the world of art and physics. He presents herein a number of periods in the history God begins by chiding Abraham: Throughout, Shlain juxtaposes the specific art works of famous artists alongside the world-changing ideas of great thinkers.

Shlain discusses all of these in the book! To conclude, I must highlight that this book is still an interesting and pleasurable read, containing some original and interesting insights, and some very intriguing connections; the author’s knowledge and passion for the arts is evident in some of his beautiful commentaries his description of Surrealist art, which by the way is my favourite current of modern art, is top-notch.

Account Options Sign in. This book ranges from a numerous fields, including literature, psychology, philosophy, and of course, art and physics. I have been amazed of Shlain’s knowledge about art and physics, which are not his special I bought this book in when it was first published in Vietnam.

Has the author ever heard of Stalingrad? Dec 11, WarpDrive rated it liked it Shelves: They are all creating reality. One of the author’s reasons for leonadd this project was to come to appreciate modern art. People always know more than you.