Beauty and Truth!

Via NYT: Lunch With Freeman Dyson, in 196,883 Dimensions: „Another day, jumping off the question of truth versus beauty in science, he mentioned an essay he had just finished on a related dichotomy, “Is Science Mostly Driven by Ideas or by Tools?” The essay, published in 2012, marked the 50th anniversary of “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” by the theoretical physicist and historian Thomas Kuhn. Dr. Kuhn’s favorite word, Dr. Dyson reckoned, was “paradigm,” a system of ideas that dominate a scientific era. “A scientific revolution is a discontinuous shift from one paradigm to another,” he added. “The shift happens suddenly because new ideas explode with a barrage of new insights and new questions that push old ideas into oblivion.” As a counterpoint, Dr. Dyson mentioned Peter Galison, a physicist and historian at Harvard, whose work focused more on experiments and instruments. Dr. Galison had published “a fatter but equally illuminating book” called “Image and Logic” — a history dominated by tools, whereas Kuhn’s was a history dominated by ideas.„Roughly speaking, Kuhn stands for beauty and Galison for truth,” Dr. Dyson said. „My answer is that we need them both.““