What Am I Reading: Philipp Aduatz

STIR looks into the reading habits of leading creatives – Vienna-based Aduatz tells us about his current read Truth and Beauty - Aesthetics and Motivations in Science by S Chandrasekhar.

by STIRworldPublished on : Jun 21, 2021

What is the name of the book you are currently reading?

Philipp Aduatz (PA): Truth and Beauty - Aesthetics and Motivations in Science.

Who is the author?

PA: Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.

What is the genre?

PA: Science/Art.

The book featuring Medici tomb by Michelangelo. Aduatz says, “with this book S Chandrasekhar expanded his research beyond the intersections of science and art” | What am I Reading: Philipp Aduatz | Truth and Beauty - Aesthetics and Motivations in Science | STIRworld
The book featuring Medici tomb by Michelangelo. Aduatz says, “with this book S Chandrasekhar expanded his research beyond the intersections of science and art” Image: Philipp Aduatz

Do you judge a book by its cover?

PA: Never, a beautiful cover is a nice thing but does not necessarily reflect the content.

What made you pick it up? Can you highlight any notable aspect of the book’s design aesthetics, typography, images… 

PA: Mainly the author and my interest in physics. The Chandrasekhar limit is a major discovery in the evolution of stars. Within this limit, every star would develop at the end of its lifetime into a white dwarf, above the limit it would turn either into a neutron star or into black-hole. Chandrasekhar received the Nobel Prize for physics for his discoveries and with this book he expanded his research beyond the intersections of science and art.

The book explores the idea of beauty in science and deals with the question, if science is given impetus by search for beauty | What am I Reading: Philipp Aduatz | Truth and Beauty - Aesthetics and Motivations in Science | STIRworld
The book explores the idea of beauty in science and deals with the question, if science is given impetus by search for beauty Image: Philipp Aduatz

Your most favourite part(s) of it?

PA: Chapter 4: Beauty and the Quest for Beauty in Science. This chapter explores the idea of beauty in science and deals with the question, if science is given impetus by search for beauty. It is especially interesting that scientific theories, which express the harmonies that are found in nature, seem to have an aesthetic value.

Did you gain any insight or did it help you unwind?

PA: The book gave me a deeper understanding of the idea of beauty in natural sciences and how scientists understand the idea of aesthetics in art. It helped me as a source of inspiration for new work and gave me great pleasure in expanding my mind.  

“The measure in which science falls short of art and is the measure in which it is incomplete as science” | What am I Reading: Philipp Aduatz  | Truth and Beauty - Aesthetics and Motivations in Science | STIRworld
“The measure in which science falls short of art and is the measure in which it is incomplete as science” Image: Philipp Aduatz

Your favourite lines to quote from the book.

PA: “[Mathematical beauty] cannot be defined any more than beauty in art can be defined, but which people who study mathematics usually have no difficulty in appreciating.” (Page 69) and

“The measure in which science falls short of art and is the measure in which it is incomplete as science” (Page 60).

These are two short quotes I can spend days thinking about.

At what time of the day do you read?

PA: During the day between work.

Highlights from Truth and Beauty - Aesthetics and Motivations in Science: Chapter 6. Arthur Stanley Eddington Centenary Lectures. Eddington: The Most Distinguished Astrophysicist of His Time | What am I Reading: Philipp Aduatz | Truth and Beauty - Aesthetics and Motivations in Science | STIRworld
Highlights from Truth and Beauty - Aesthetics and Motivations in Science: Chapter 6. Arthur Stanley Eddington Centenary Lectures. Eddington: The Most Distinguished Astrophysicist of His Time Image: Philipp Aduatz

Hard books, e-books or audio/video books?

PA: Mainly hard books.

One book or book adaptation as a film that you always want to go back to.

PA: Traumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler (Film: Eyes Wide Shut by Stanley Kubrick).

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