Jonathan Jones over at the Guardian puts an creative spin (pun intended) on the latest developments in the world of particle physics. He suggests that we might borrow from the world of modern and contemporary art to help us take the vast imaginative leaps necessary to understand our physical world and its underlying quantum mechanical nature bound up in uncertainty and paradox.
Jones makes a good point that many leading artists of recent times broke new ground by presenting us with an alternate reality that demanded a fresh perspective of the world and what lies beneath. Think Picasso and Dali and Miro and Twombly.
[div class=attrib]From Jonathan Jones for the Guardian:[end-div]
The experiments currently being performed in the LHC are enigmatic, mind-boggling and imaginative. But are they science – or art? In his renowned television series The Ascent of Man, the polymath Jacob Bronowski called the discovery of the invisible world within the atom the great collective achievement of science in the 20th century. Then he went further. “No – it is a great, collective work of art.”
Niels Bohr, who was at the heart of the new sub-atomic physics in the early 20th century, put the mystery of what he and others were finding into provocative sayings. He was very quotable, and every quote stresses the ambiguity of the new realm he was opening up, the realm of the smallest conceivable things in the universe. “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet,” ran one of his remarks. According to Bronowski, Bohr also said that to think about the paradoxical truths of quantum mechanics is to think in images, because the only way to know anything about the invisible is to create an image of it that is by definition a human construct, a model, a half-truth trying to hint at the real truth.
. . .
We won’t understand what those guys at Cern are up to until our idea of science catches up with the greatest minds of the 20th century who blew apart all previous conventions of thought. One guide offers itself to those of us who are not physicists: modern art. Bohr, explained Bronowski, collected Cubist paintings. Cubism was invented by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque at the same time modern physics was being created: its crystalline structures and opaque surfaces suggest the astonishment of a reality whose every microcosmic particle is sublimely complex.
[div class=attrib]More from theSource here.[end-div]
[div class=attrib]Image courtesy of Wikipedia / CERN / Creative Commons.[end-div]