Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Einstein was an Artist

Einstein was an Artist? Zat Rana wrote a recent article in Medium that makes some interesting points:

"Einstein inspired a paradigm shift in physics not as a scientist but as an artist...English distinguishes a scientist as someone who systematically learns about a part of the natural world and uses that knowledge to describe and predict it. An artist, on the other hand, is defined as someone who creatively produces."

"When it comes to categories like science and art, we have a tendency to presume [incorrectly] mutual exclusivity."

"There are many smart and knowledgeable scientists. Rarely, however, are they capable of producing work that shifts our entire understanding of the world. That requires an entirely new way of looking at things... At its core, creativity is just a new and useful way of combining old ideas. It isn’t imagined out of thin air, and it isn’t completely abstract. It’s a fresh way of making sense of the existing components of reality that have yet to merge."

Rana goes on to identify several key ways of nurturing creativity:
  1. Be willing to produce subpar work
  2. Compromise today for tomorrow
  3. Don’t wait for inspiration to get moving
  4. Seek relationships between existing ideas
  5. Produce a large volume of work
Read the full article here.

Work by the Root-Bernsteins establishes that practicing art as an adult is 15-25x more likely in Nobel Prize-winning scientists than in their non-winning peers. Einstein was an accomplished violinist.

Einstein famously claimed to have conceptualized the notions behind the work that became Special Relativity while imagining what the world would look like if you could ride along on a beam of light.

This video by Eugene Khutoryansky does the best job I have ever seen of visualizing and explaining that conceit:

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