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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His last few chapters I especially enjoyed. In reality, such principle simply holds that “particles” have complementary properties which cannot be observed or measured at the same time for example, it is impossible to measure both the full “wave-like” and “particle-like” properties at a single moment – also, non-commuting observable can’t be simultaneously measured with arbitrary precision, but this is a different story.

His main thesis is utterly unconvincing and the author thoroughly fails to prove it in any meaningful sense, but the book is still worth reading even if just for its “artistic” sidealbeit with some caution. For that aspect, I give this book three stars.

How we see the world in a new way is right up there with the meaning of life for me as far as things to muse. Shlain also explores the differing world views of reality in non-literate, Eastern, and children’s cultures and shows how their themes entered Western art in the late 19th century just prior to Einstein’s complete revision of the Western notions of space, time and light.


Then, nearly simultaneously, a revolutionary physicist discovers a new way to think about the world. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Ralph Abraham, mathematician and chaos theoretician, was a bonus. The overall thesis of this book is, condensed in a few words, that art manages, in some mysterious way, to pre-cognitively anticipate science.

Has the author ever heard of Stalingrad?

Open Preview See a Problem? Just do not take him too seriously when it comes to science or history. Or the equally interesting two-way relationship between the cultural environment in general including the arts and science relationship which is one of the many themes that philosophy of science tries to address.

Very cool tidbits of info. It’s the whole Be Here Now schtick. This statement demands some serious clarification. Here the author is referring to general relativity. I was naturally attracted to the title as I love reading about both art and physics.

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

He shows example after example throughout history: The full title of this book is Art and Physics: Truthfully speaking I couldn’t finish even a chapter, mainly because I had no idea about many terms, which were not familiar to me, and I was ignorant of basic knowledge about art and even physics. Though art and science are traditionally considered antithetical disciplines–with art dependent on intuition for its development and science on logic and sequential thinking–both nevertheless rely on an initial burst of inspiration regarding the nature of reality, and in Western culture the two have followed separate but remarkably similar paths.


We spontaneously drove the four hours to Aspen to see comic book writer Grant Morrison. I loved this book!

However, I doubt that an expert in physics or in art would be entirely satisfied with Shlain’s exposition. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

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

A book that looks at my two favorite things. Sign up here to receive your FREE alerts. That blindsight exists has been well documented; perhaps it is not too much to believe shlzin some seers, like the mythical blind Greek prophet, Tiresias, can see that which is not visible.

It could have leoanrd so much better. The best statement is in pagethough: I didn’t feel like I focused on it enough. Jul 17, kyle added it Shelves: Moreover, special relativity does NOT mean arbitrary subjectivity, as each frame of reference can be mathematically translated into another frame with the appropriate Lorentz transformation.

Art & Physics | by Leonard Shlain

As in many other examples, the author just comes up with these obfuscatory statements without getting into any detail. What does this actually mean?

That question pulls Shlain into metaphysical territory. In present fourth-dimensional spacetime I am next to you. Read it and see for yourself.

What a load of New Age bullshit, I find myself forced to say here.