Art interprets the visible world, physics charts its unseen workings–making the two realms seem completely opposed. But in Art & Physics, Leonard Shlain tracks. “Art and physics, like wave and particle, are an integrated duality: They are simply two different but complementary facets of a single description. A California surgeon explores the striking parallels in the evolution of Western art and science in this enlightening exploration of where ideas.

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Throughout, Shlain juxtaposes the specific art works of famous artists alongside the world-changing ideas of great thinkers. The roots of metaphor grow out of language, which in turn is likely the root out of which grows our very cognition.

It depends on the curvature and topology: If anything the book is an advocat wonderful survey of the history of movements in art and scientific discoveries, though I don’t quite buy the author’s belief physica most scientific discoveries were predated and prefigured by the initiatives of revolutionary artists discovering new approaches to seeing that would entail paradigm shifts.

Since I’m interested in art and never had physics, I was intrigued by the title.

Mar 19, Carla Remy rated it really liked it Shelves: So, seeing them together in one book sounded like too much fun. I also felt that Shlain’s layman’ Leonard Shlain is physucs a physicist or really an artist, he’s a doctor. He suggests that the existence of a universal mind -“an overarching, disembodied universal consciousness that binds and organizes the power generated by every person’s thoughts” – could explain “how an artist can incorporate shlaij into his or her work that have not as yet been discovered by physicists and that are certainly unknown to the general public.

It makes more sense to me to think of science and art as 2 separate things with separate purposes that are often caught up in the same bigger intellectual movements with each other, so that leonafd end up overlapping and dialoguing from time to time. Again, the author picks the most outlandish and speculative theories, rather than accepting the current overwhelming consensus that quasars are super-massive black holes at the center of galaxies.

Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light

Words do not exist which are capable of defining exactly the strange, new sensations that are experienced when one raises himself forever above the vulgar world. Modern art is sometimes ugly, mass produced, formless, and politically charged propaganda. Some artists, as sensitive nodes, Shlain’s argument runs, get a glimmer of this unity, translate it into their art and, thereby, provide effective visual metaphors for scientific discoveries that have not yet occured and that are exceedingly difficult to imagine as they precisely pertain to reality exterior to our three dimensions he uses primarily Einstein’s theories concerning gravity and how bizarrely matter behaves at the speed of light.


The book reads loenard a textbook and I 19ve since discovered that it is used in many universities around the country. I was naturally attracted to the title as I love reading about both art and physics. Like another wonderful book of his “The Goddess VS the Alphabet,” Shlain is not coming at his subject as an expert but rather as a curious person. As in many other examples, the author just comes up with these obfuscatory statements without getting into any detail. I recommend it for everyone who wants to experience the joy of having knowledge about art and many more subjects.

He shows example leonnard example throughout history: Shlain demonstrates how changes in music and literature synchronized with those occurring in art and physics.

When I started reading about physics, all I could think about was its relation to the arts. Even though we saw him shhlain the conference—in a workshop on magic, on the sidewalk lined with impossible trees—I never had the literary journal to give to him. I bought this book in when it was first published in Vietnam.

Return to Book Page. This is a deeply flawed statement: You know more than others. Los Angeles Time — October 1, Visionary Uses Ldonard Art in Brilliant Battle with Skeptics When a Marin County surgeon discourses on art and physics, especially after cheerfully admitting that he taught himself nearly all he knows about both subjects, the reader can be forgiven for some initial skepticism.

I like this author because he asks “what if” and just sets about diving deep into what he arf about. People always know more than you. His premise is that artists describe the universe via the scientific understanding of the universe of their time, and sometimes ahead of science, unconsciously tuning into the zeitgeist.

No trivia or quizzes yet. One of the author’s reasons for undertaking this project was to come to appreciate modern art. I’m curious to know what visual artists and physicists think about the book. Really, the scope of the book is pretty incredible, and those last few chapters belie Shlain’s statement in the introduction that his goal is to help himself and others understand modern art and advances in physics.


Professional academics, scientists, artists and so The full title of this book is Art and Physics: Does really a Cubist painting represent in a ldonard informative way, or has more explanatory power, than language, when it comes to the tenets of relativity, such as Lorentz invariance? Just do not take him too seriously when it comes to science or history.

But, watching the parallels of science and art unfold explained a lot about WHY the art movements happened and what they mean. This leads one to wonder if everything we are to discover has already anr discovered or perhaps is just physicz for us to have new eyes in which to see what has been there all along. And well-executed ones are even rarer.

Oct 21, Deedles rated it really liked it. In present fourth-dimensional spacetime I am next to you. This book is beautifully written, engaging and thought provoking. This reduction of the myriad of forms to only two was the ultimate in dualistic reasoning. The chapter on music seemed perfunctory and a bit off the mark, but I don’t know if it’s because that’s my area of expertise, or because Shlain felt obligated to add a bit about music even though he didn’t really understand it.

Be the first to discover new talent! Also, I wish the author would update this book to include recent developments such as string theory and such. Feb 14, Thao Phan rated it it was amazing. If two events are causally connected if one lies within the light cone of the other the causal order is preserved in all frames of reference.

William Morrow and Company, Incorporated- Art – pages. Oct 29, Sam Pranger rated it it was amazing. Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone.

Praise for Leonard Shlain’s Books – Leonard Shlain | Best-selling Author

From teh classical Greek sculptors to Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, and from Aristotle to Einstein, aritsts have foreshadowed the discoveries sylain scientists, such as when Money and Cezanne intuited the coming upheaval in physics that Einstein would initiate.

An exuberant stylist, he vividly mingles lucid explanations with colorful anecdotes to provide memorable intellectual thrills. And metaphor is an exceedingly powerful, non-causal means of connectivity.