“The universe was made on purpose, the circle said. In whatever galaxy you happen to find yourself, you take the circumference of a circle, divide it by its diameter, measure closely enough, and uncover a miracle - another circle, drawn kilometers downstream of the decimal point. There would be richer messages farther in. It doesn't matter what you look like, or what you're made of, or where you come from. As long as you live in this universe, and have a modest talent for mathematics, sooner or later you'll find it.It's already here.It's inside everything. You don't have to leave your planet to find it. In the fabric of space and in the nature of matter, as in a great work of art, there is, written small, the artist's signature. Standing over humans, gods, and demons, there is an intelligence that antedates the universe.
The circle had closed. She found what she had been searching for.”
Carl Sagan, Contact, 1985
“…but mount to paradise by the stairway of surprise… ”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Merlin, Poems 1847
Even if it proves that Dr.Sagan was wrong in his intuition, nothing will change the beauty of the conclusion. Knowledge is gained by reasoning and intuition, it is a cumulation of abilities and practices of solving facts of life, but what ennobles it is the scientific method. Science has refined its method, both experimental and theoretical, thus we do not exaggerate by comparing it with to art.
Evidently we need to exemplify this comparison. Think about the Fermat’s Theorem, its algebraic beauty, beauty that results from the simplicity oof its mathematical expression, from eliptical equations and modular shapes.
Make now a comparison between the graphical representation of modular shapes and the decorations of the ceiling of the Alhambra Palace. Where does science end and art begin? Or maybe shall we ask if the one or those who created the Palace were artists or mathematicians?
We have all played with soap-bubbles, admiring the wonderful and ephemeral colors generated by the interference of light reflected by the pellucid films. The interference fringes make one think of the images of the Mandelbrot set and probably the mathematics of the thin film is a fractal one. Beyond the equations with which the science tries to explain the nature, the humanness in us trembles in the front of the simple beauty of light and water. A picture of such an image of interference rivals with the art of any avant-garde painter. How do we quantify the beauty, be it artistic or scientific? In the process of knowledge, science raises myriad questions, surprinsingly some of aesthetics.
Somewhere at the crossroad of science and art the miracle is permanently born and I believe that this is where the beauty of human knowledge lives. Important it is the path we cross in order to gain knowledge, and science made in the spirit of art is always lead us on its luminous path.