Spring 2001 • Vol. XXIII No. 2 Cultures of Creativity: The Centennial Celebration of the Nobel Prizes |

Imagination in Art and in Science

From the French.    "Nothing but truth is beautiful," states Nicolas Boileau in an epistle. "There is no truth but beauty," Anatole France confirms in La Vie littéraire. And John Keats, in his "Ode on a Grecian Urn," goes further: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty." If there is beauty in these sayings, we may ponder their truth. Science tries to construct a coherent representation of the world as close as possible to what we call reality. This is a collective undertaking in time and space. Art aims to produce representations of the world, each of which expresses the personal vision of a reality as it is perceived or imagined or dreamed. Most of the time, this is an individual undertaking. What is true, however, is that beauty and truth change from culture to culture and, within the same culture, from one time to another. The relation between truth and beauty, or more generally between science and art, is an old topic, still difficult to tackle. There are obvious differen

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