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Building Bridges: Physics and the Arts. Brad Carroll WSU. Outline. Honors: Physics in the Plays of Tom Stoppard Interdisciplinary: Astronomy and Art Miscellaneous musings.

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  • Honors: Physics in the Plays of Tom Stoppard
  • Interdisciplinary: Astronomy and Art
  • Miscellaneous musings

Those students of ours who, year after year, write dutifully more or less the same essay, explaining the structure of the Divine Comedy or Paradise Lost by means of astronomy, geography, and the theory of optical phenomena -- they may get the small points right, but they miss the big one, which is that the good poet is a poet surely because he can transcend rather than triangulate.

Here we suddenly remember that, of course, the very same thing is true for scientists themselves. The most creative ones, almost by definition, do not build their constructs patiently by assembling blocks that have been precast by others and certified as sound. On the contrary, they too melt down the ready-made materials of science and recast them in a way that their contemporaries tend to think is outrageous. That is why Einstein’s own work took so long to be appreciated even by his best fellow physicists....

- Gerald Holton, in Einstein, History, and Other Passions


BERNARDO Last night of all,When yond same star that's westward from the poleHad made his course to illume that part of heavenWhere now it burns, Marcellus and myself,The bell then beating one,--Enter Ghost


Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Rosencrantz: Inductive

Guildenstern: Deductive


THOMASINA: Each week I plot your equations dot for dot, xs against ys in all manner of algebraical relation, and every week they draw themselves as commonplace geometry, as if the world of forms were nothing but arcs and angles. God's truth, Septimus, if there is an equation for a curve like a bell, there must be an equation for one like a bluebell, and if a bluebell, why not a rose?



Hanna: It's all trivial - your grouse, my hermit, Bernard's Byron. Comparing what we're looking for misses the point. It's wanting to know that makes us matter.


interdisciplinary astronomy and physics
Interdisciplinary: Astronomy and Physics
  • A five-year series of independent study courses on astronomy with Dr. Dale Bryner
  • Painting selected by Swedish Academy of Sciences for 2003 Nobel physics poster
miscellaneous musings
Miscellaneous Musings
  • In preparation: “Measuring the World”
  • Read Mason & Dixon by Thomas PynchonThe Measure of Reality by Alfred W. CrosbyComing of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy FerrisDrawing the Line by Edwin Danson

Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon” -how to represent space and time at just the moment in history when it became apparent that these entities are not what we intuitively perceive them to be - both Einstein and Picasso were deeply influenced by mathematician Henri Poincare's treatise on non-Euclidean geometry

why build bridges
Why Build Bridges?
  • You are the first to cross – you then lead students back to the other side
  • Common ground -shows you respect and value the arts
  • Gives you a new perspective of your science