- #26

- 932

- 0

I do use Boas in fact, and have come across the very quote before. But as physicists we are not only interested in the result; often the method used to get there is equally as important.

In fact, physicists usually use particularly elegant descriptions, and often they use elegance as a factor for choosing a particular description.

As Dirac said:

I have been lucky enough to have read about (and studied) Maxwell's equations (and the underlying mathematics; i.e. vector calculus) indepedently about a year ago, and so I know of the beauty that underlies all of electromagnetism. In fact, as I keep on reading, I learn of the ever more beautiful descriptions of EM (such as differential forms and the Maxwell tensor).

This is a case where my interest has been spurned on primarily by the beauty of the mathematics. Similarly for general relativity - my fascination for it grows with the beauty of the mathematics of it. Unfortunately, my expertise on pseudo-Lorentzian n-manifolds aren't great at the moment, and that's one thing I wish to remedy through extra reading in the next year or two.

But, as I say, the mathematics is not only always a means, but sometimes the end too. To describe the universe with beautiful mathematics (and then use LaTeX to typeset it!)

Masud.

[1] P. A. M. Dirac "The evolution of the Physicist's Picture of Nature" Scientific American 208 (5) (1963)

In fact, physicists usually use particularly elegant descriptions, and often they use elegance as a factor for choosing a particular description.

As Dirac said:

Anyway, my interest in physics has arisen primarily out of the beauty/symmetry of the mathematical descriptions that are employed. Being a first year physics undergraduate student, we are currently going through Electromagnetism, and the course should culminate in Maxwell's equations at the end of the term. Until we get to Maxwell's equations, all the various other equations we have for dipoles, induction, magnetic field etc. seem so haphazard and random.This result is too beautiful to be false; it is more important to have beauty in one's equations than to have them fit experiment.

I have been lucky enough to have read about (and studied) Maxwell's equations (and the underlying mathematics; i.e. vector calculus) indepedently about a year ago, and so I know of the beauty that underlies all of electromagnetism. In fact, as I keep on reading, I learn of the ever more beautiful descriptions of EM (such as differential forms and the Maxwell tensor).

This is a case where my interest has been spurned on primarily by the beauty of the mathematics. Similarly for general relativity - my fascination for it grows with the beauty of the mathematics of it. Unfortunately, my expertise on pseudo-Lorentzian n-manifolds aren't great at the moment, and that's one thing I wish to remedy through extra reading in the next year or two.

But, as I say, the mathematics is not only always a means, but sometimes the end too. To describe the universe with beautiful mathematics (and then use LaTeX to typeset it!)

Masud.

[1] P. A. M. Dirac "The evolution of the Physicist's Picture of Nature" Scientific American 208 (5) (1963)

Last edited: