Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The search for beauty

The most beautiful woman, man, science breakthrough, literature, and so on usually merits a prize:
Miss America, Mr. Universe, the Nobel prize, the Pulitzer prize.

The men and women are easy, just ask People Magazine: J Lo, Angelina, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise. Science breakthrough? That's pretty easy too: Einstein's Theory of Relativity and the discovery of DNA would be high on anyone's list. Most beautiful poem? Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

What do musicians say when asked for the most beautiful piece of music ever written? My informal survey says Schubert's Cello Quintet in C gets the prize.

And how about Google candidates when asked for the most beautiful math equation ever derived? e to the i pi equals minus 1 comes to mind. Just think: you put together an imaginary number and two transcendental numbers and get minus 1 as the result. This is at least as cool as Pythagoras. Just beautiful.

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