Murray Gell-Mann gives a TED Talk entitled Beauty and Truth in Physics.
The second part of his presentation is subtitled “Math Matters” (you can forward to this one)
Quote from Math Matters: “We express these things mathematically, and when the mathematics is very simple… when, in terms of some mathematical notation you can write the theory in a very brief space, without a lot of complication, that’s essentially what we mean by beauty or elegance.“
The third part of his presentation is subtitled “Symmetry Matters” (again, you can forward to this)
As our notation improves and we are able to incorporate symmetry into equations, the equations become simpler and more elegant. Here is an example (from the talk) showing the progression in the equations for Relativity – I think that a multivariable calculus class would probably be able to appreciate it best:
This was a great little tidbit – a quote from Newton on why he was not mentioning his theory of gravity in one of his books:
Newton was worried that he would be labeled an “extravagant freak” and that readers would thus dismiss the rest of the book.
Best quip of the talk – Newton could have really written a great essay on “What I did on my Summer Vacation” (referring to the time that Newton spent away from school during the plague years – some of the most productive time of his life).
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