The physics of beauty

Does one need to understand optical slits and diffraction in order to appreciate an opalescent spider web at sunset?

An opalescent spider web at sunset (20080617_06940_a)

Does one need to understand descriptive geometry and linear perspective in order to appreciate how objects grow smaller as they grow more distant, and how on a foggy day these lend to the magic of a simple scene?

Sailboats moored on a foggy day (20080126_01629_a)

Does one need to understand static charge and atmospheric electrical discharge in order to appreciate when the cosmos draws patterns in the sky, or how its rapid pressure and temperature changes cause a sonic shock wave that results in the booming voice of heaven?

Lightning (20080423_04530_a)

Does one need to understand caustic networks, catastrophe optics, and focused and defocused lensing in order to appreciate the play of light and shadow beneath the water’s surface?

A caustic network of light at the bottom of a brook (20080426_04781_a)

No, one need not understand any of those things in order to appreciate their results.  But in my opinion the understanding makes them all the more beautiful.

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