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Most people don’t appreciate the beauty and aesthetics in science. Consider mathematics. There are infinitely many theorems “out there” that a mathematician can devote him or herself to solving, but only a tiny fraction of them are interesting, surprising, elegant, gorgeous, awe-inspiring. These latter judgments aren’t themselves part of mathematics. Rather, it requires the mathematician to have an aesthetic opinion — it is through these choices of which theorems to try to prove that the mathematician becomes artist, just as the artist must select only certain stimuli from an infinity of stimuli to throw down on paper or in a score.

And this applies to science just as well. There are infinitely many science “problems” I could be working on, but one has to remind oneself that not all of them are equally interesting, important, cool, kick-ass, stunning, lovely, etc. Most problems are disasters in this aesthetic sense, and so one keeps digging for the shiny gems, the ones worth spending a couple years or more trying to crack.

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@1 year ago with 78 notes