Why Beauty is Truth by Ian Stewart

butterfly in blueWhy Beauty is Truth: A History of Symmetry (2007 )

This is a pretty readable book on mathematics because it takes a creative nonfiction point of view to illustrate some of the points. He approaches the development of mathematical equations and discoveries by telling the stories of the people who developed or discovered them. As an artist who once took advanced placement math, and really liked algebra, but was doomed by geometry to end that pursuit, I still appreciate the mathematics of beauty and how beautiful mathematics, or elegant equations would stir the sample visual pleasure and the belief that if something is awkward and tough to fit into an equation, it must not be the right equation.

The Golden Ratio, the rule of thirds in photography, even the symmetry in asymmetry works; it is fascinating to identify the math underlying images perceived as beautiful.

Since I have not done algebra for decades and have only read about physics, some of my understanding of both is very amateur, but this book helped me understand why various things mattered and how they interconnect, and how mathematics is a crucial tool for the world.

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