Art interprets the visible world, physics charts its unseen workings–making the two realms seem completely opposed. But in Art & Physics, Leonard Shlain tracks. “Art and physics, like wave and particle, are an integrated duality: They are simply two different but complementary facets of a single description. A California surgeon explores the striking parallels in the evolution of Western art and science in this enlightening exploration of where ideas.

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Plodding alongI think about stopping for a quick summer mystery hit, but this books has kept my interest! Only later do the other members of the civilization incorporate this novel view into all aspects of the culture. Borrowed it and finished it in four days. From inside the book. Sign up here to receive your FREE alerts.

I recommend it for everyone who wants to experience the joy of having knowledge about art and many more subjects. Parallel Visions in SpaceTime and Light Los Angeles Time — October 1, Visionary Uses His Art in Brilliant Battle with Skeptics When a Marin County surgeon discourses on art and physics, especially after cheerfully admitting that he taught himself nearly all he knows about both subjects, the reader can be forgiven for some initial skepticism.

Mar 19, Carla Remy rated it really liked it Shelves: He is an engaging story teller, skilled in the use of metaphor, analogy and even imaginary journeys that at times are poetic… Dr. Throughout, Shlain juxtaposes the specific art works of famous artists alongside the world-changing ideas of great thinkers.

I need to spend some more time reading about Leonardo Da Vinci.

Clearly possessing a well-educated and inquisitive mind he unapologetically seeks to describe art history and the history of physics and tie the two tightly together.

As in many other examples, the author just comes up with these obfuscatory statements without getting into any detail. You can say, in a metaphorical sense, that the photon “experiences no time”, but even assuming that this is a meaningful statement we also need to take into account that, within the same considerations, that the photon travels zero distance; so the whole example is very dangerous and prone to misconception. Jun 09, Ruth rated it liked it. Winter was really great at drawing people–she even drew a sweet rendition of Pocahontas instead of the boring gray-scale assignment we were supposed to be working on.


I did that in preschool and got in trouble for it so why does Jackson Pollock get offered millions of dollars? Shlain’s final argument concerns an ultimate connectivity of cognitive states and all time and matter that occurs in a dimension we cannot perceive with our measly three-dimensional senses.

San Francisco Chronicle Shlain fuses ideas and facts from a wide array of disciplines to create a coherent, convincing and captivating narrative. Inhe was a contributor to Academic Press’ Encyclopedia of Creativity. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. View all 15 comments. I believe outsiders to an established discipline can often see patterns, make connections or hazard hypotheses that a trained professional either could not or would not do. I allowed myself to leoanrd changed.

It is a brilliant, accessible and visionary look the most revolutionary artists and scientists from the golden Age of Greece to the present. It is precisely the kind of hypothesis I would never expect to find in an institutionally-derived work.

Sep 26, Larry rated it it was amazing.

Dec 17, Marcie Lacerte rated it really liked it. That question pulls Shlain into metaphysical territory.

Praise for Leonard Shlain’s Books

Art history hoes such as myself will find all this frustrating. Art interprets the visible world, physics charts its unseen workings–making the two realms seem completely opposed. By the way, such examples of “simultaneity” can be seen in the cave paintings of the Lascaux Cave – does it mean that our artistically gifted human ancestors had some form of special relativity pre-cognition more than 20, years ago?

However, this book convinced me that there is, like, a higher power, probably a part of the fourth dimension of spacetime. It wasn’t until Giotto in the renaissance that artists painted the sky blue.

An intriguing look at the overlap between art, physics and society. It is a book that does contain some very interesting and original insights, and it is well written in a beautiful, engaging and fluent prose; the author is also quite brilliant as an art critic, and proficient and knowledgeable as an art historian.

I offer, however, that I found Leonard Shlain’s book about art and physics fascinating, well written and, insofar as I am equipped to say, well researched. A book that looks at my two favorite things. Every child is born with a desire to re-create the world in his or her own terms. How we see the world in a new way is right up there with the meaning of life for me as far as things to muse.


I bought this book in when it was first published in Vietnam. This leads one to wonder if everything we are to discover has already been discovered or perhaps is just waiting for us to have new eyes in which to see what has been there all along. Using an artist’s perception to understand how our scientific perception of the world has changed, and is changing, is right up my alley.

Art & Physics | by Leonard Shlain

I bought it without realizing it was the same author. Leonard Shlain, a surgeon from California, began this project after visiting an art museum with his young daughter. I recommend this book for the curious and the open-minded. Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light. When I started reading about physics, all Lwonard could think about was its relation to the arts.

Artists are nonverbal prophets who translate their visions into symbols before there are words: Sep 16, Sara rated it really liked it Shelves: The concept of left and right brain is examined in relationship to the disciplines. Contrary to popular belief, the strength of such tidal forces is inversely proportional to the size of the black hole.

It does shlaim back on itself in places like a Moebius Strip, with Einstein a colossus that dominates many chapters, but still a good book to help you organise your own thoughts on the subjects. Does he not know who was the actual major contributor to the defeat of Germany?

But this is also a book that is deeply flawed, riddled with scientific and historical inaccuracies, defined by a questionable methodological approach, and directed at proving an outlandish and utterly unconvincing thesis. I point out this last detail because Znd think non-professional works of high intellectual ambition are pretty rare.