Friday, January 27, 2006


Just caught astrophysicist (and author) Mario Livio talking about Mozart on NPR's All Things Considered. His major theme was Mozart's fascination with and extensive use of symmetry in his music. He also mentioned the WAM was crazy for numbers as a kid.

So what kind of music do we like, asked the NPR correspondent? Turns out, says Livio, that we like symmetry but not too much - symmetry, but some kind of symmetry breaking.

In the epilog to Chandrasekar's Mathematical Theory of Black Holes he has quotes from Heisenberg and Francis Bacon on beauty. What they said (approximately - my copy is at the office) was:

Heisenberg: Beauty consists in the proper proportion of the parts to the whole, and to each other.

Bacon: There is no thing of excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.