Journal of the Korean Physical Society

, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 401–413 | Cite as

Beautiful Physics: Re-vision of Aesthetic Features of Science Through the Literature Review

  • Hunkoog JhoEmail author
Review Articles
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. JKPS 50th Anniversary Reviews


This study intends to reveal the aesthetic features of physics through the literature review and to give some implications for teaching the beauty of physics. Among the papers published in the internationally prominent journals, indexed in SCI, SSCI, and A&HCI, this study selects a total of 88 articles dealing with aesthetics of physics, and categorizes the aesthetics of physics into intrinsic and extrinsic representation of the aesthetics. As a result, simplicity, symmetry, harmony, and unity, centering on mathematical formalism, are found as the intrinsic aspects of aesthetics, whereas elegance, wonder and sublimity are mentioned as the extrinsic aspects of the aesthetics, which were evoked from the intrinsic aesthetics above. In terms of ontological and epistemological nature of aesthetics, modern physics does not give a clear answer about the simplicity of nature due to the indeterminacy, and the aesthetic judgment is linked to both intrinsic nature of an object and extrinsic sense of human mind, and finally aesthetic evaluation is determined by empirical worth of aesthetics and shared meaning of aesthetic attitude. Thus, this study gives some implications for the use of visual image in physics and teaching aesthetics of physics.


Aesthetics Beauty Nature of science Physics education Literature review 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    J. T. Cushing, Philosophical concepts in physics: the historical relation between philosophy and scientific theories (Cambridge University Press, New York, 1998).zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    T. Maudlin, The metaphysics within physics (Oxford University Press, New York, 2010).Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    T. E. Rihll, Greek science (Oxford University Press, New York, 1999).Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    B. Oh, Lectures on aesthetics (Seoul National University Press, Seoul, 2017).Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    I. Newton, The Principia: mathematical principles of natural philosophy (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1999).zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  6. [6]
    M. Cooper and M. Hunter, Robert Hooke: tercentennial studies (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2006).Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    R. Flood, M. McCartney and A. Whitaker, James Clerk Maxwell: perspectives on his life and work (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014).zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  8. [8]
    H, Poincaré, The foundations of science (Science Press, Lancaster, 1946), p. 366.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    P. A. M. Dirac, Sci. Am. 208, 45 (1963).ADSGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    W. Heisenberg, Physics and beyond: encounters and conversations (Harper & Row, New York, 1971). p. 68.Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    R. Root-Bernstein and M. Root-Bernstein, Sparks of genius: the 13 thinking tools of the world’s most creative people (Houghton Mifflin, New York, 1999).Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    A. I. Miller, Insights of genius: imagery and creativity in science and art (MIT Press, Cambridge, 2000).zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    P. C. Vitz and A. B. Glimcher, Modern art and modern science: the parallel analysis of vision (Praeger, New York, 1984).Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    R. Guillemin, Leonardo 43, 59 (2010).Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    A. I. Miller, Leonardo 28, 185 (1995).Google Scholar
  16. [16]
    B. S. Baigrie, Electricity and magnetism: a historical perspective (Greenwood Press, London, 2007).Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    J. C. Maxwell, A treatise on electricity and magnetism (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1954).zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    J. Kepler, The harmonies of the world (CreateSpace, Charleston, 2014).Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    H. Jho, J. Kor. Assoc. Sci. Educ. 34, 755 (2014).Google Scholar
  20. [20]
    L. Shlain, Art & physics: parallel visions in space, time, and light (Quill/W. Morrow, New York, 1991).Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    E. Strosberg, Art and science (Abbeville Press, New York, 2001).Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    G. Holton, Leonardo 34, 127 (2001).Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    C. Adcock, Art J. 44, 249 (1984).Google Scholar
  24. [24]
    C. Ambrosio, Visual Stud. 29, 250 (2014).Google Scholar
  25. [25]
    H. Jho, New Phys.: Sae Mulli 64, 550 (2014).Google Scholar
  26. [26]
    M. Girod, C. Rau and A. Schpeige, Sci. Ed. 87, 574 (2003).ADSGoogle Scholar
  27. [27]
    E. Eisner and K. Powell, Curriculum Inq. 32, 131 (2002).Google Scholar
  28. [28]
    T. A. F. Kuipers, Synthese 131, 291 (2002).Google Scholar
  29. [29]
    J. W. McAllister, Beauty and revolution in science (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1996).Google Scholar
  30. [30]
    N. Rescher, Aesthetic factors in natural science (University Press of America, Lanham, 1990).Google Scholar
  31. [31]
    A. E. McGrath, The foundations of dialogue in science & religion (Blackwell, Oxford, 1998).Google Scholar
  32. [32]
    T. A. F. Kuipers, Synthese 131, 291 (2002).Google Scholar
  33. [33]
    J. W. McAllister, Int. Stud. Phil. Sci. 11, 245 (1997).Google Scholar
  34. [34]
    T. S. Kuhn, The structure of scientific revolutions (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2012).Google Scholar
  35. [35]
    D. J. Griffiths, Revolutions in twentieth-century physics (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2013), p. 80.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  36. [36]
    D. J. Griffiths, Introduction to quantum mechanics (Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 2005).Google Scholar
  37. [37]
    M. Hunter and S. Schaffer, Robert Hooke: new studies (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 1989).Google Scholar
  38. [38]
    U. Montano, Euro. J. Phil. Sci. 3, 133 (2013).Google Scholar
  39. [39]
    I. Kant, Critique of judgment (Cosimo Classics, New York, 2007).Google Scholar
  40. [40]
    S. M. Cahn and A. Meskin, Aesthetics: a comprehensive anthology (Blackwell, Malden, 2008).Google Scholar
  41. [41]
    G. Engler, Leonardo 27, 207 (1994).Google Scholar
  42. [42]
    A. Sheppard, Aesthetics: an introduction to the philosophy of art (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1987).Google Scholar
  43. [43]
    M. D. LeCompte, J. Preissle and R. Tesch, Ethnography and qualitative design in educational research (Academic Press, San Diego, 1993).Google Scholar
  44. [44]
    P. Crowther, Defining art, creating the canon: artistic value in an era of doubt (Oxford University Press, New York, 2007).Google Scholar
  45. [45]
    G. Engler, Int. Stud. Phil. Sci. 16, 27 (2002).Google Scholar
  46. [46]
    H. Yang and J. Park, J. Balt. Sci. Educ. 16, 932 (2017).Google Scholar
  47. [47]
    O. Levrini and P. Fantini, Sci. & Educ. 22, 1895 (2013).ADSGoogle Scholar
  48. [48]
    H. Weyl, Symmetry (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1952).zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  49. [49]
    A. Zee, Fearful symmetry (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1986).Google Scholar
  50. [50]
    R. Penrose, Sci. 19, 6 (1979).Google Scholar
  51. [51]
    R. H. Stephenson, Sci. Context 18, 553 (2005).Google Scholar
  52. [52]
    G. Parkinson, Surrealism, art and modern science: relativity, quantum mechanics, epistemology (Yale University Press, London, 2008).Google Scholar
  53. [53]
    P. Pantidos, K. Ravanis, K. Valakas and E. Vitoratos, Sci. & Educ. 23, 621 (2014).ADSGoogle Scholar
  54. [54]
    E. Mamchur, Int. Stud. Phil. Sci. 1, 209 (2008).Google Scholar
  55. [55]
    E. Panofsky, Isis 47, 3 (1956).Google Scholar
  56. [56]
    P. Kosso, Int. Stud. Phil. Sci. 16, 39 (2002).Google Scholar
  57. [57]
    G. Engler, Br. J. Aesthet. 30, 24 (1990).Google Scholar
  58. [58]
    A. Caranfa, Int. J. Art Des. Educ. 20, 151 (2001).Google Scholar
  59. [59]
    K. Landsman, Foundations of quantum theory: from classical concepts to operator algebras (Springer, Cham, 2017).zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  60. [60]
    M. Jammer, The conceptual development of quantum mechanics (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1966).Google Scholar
  61. [61]
    L. L. Heywood, J. R. Garcia and D. S. Wilson, Sci. & Educ. 19, 505 (2010).ADSGoogle Scholar
  62. [62]
    H. W. De Regt, Int. Stud. Phil. Sci. 16, 95 (2002).Google Scholar
  63. [63]
    T. Kulka, Br. J. Aesthet. 29, 197 (1989).Google Scholar
  64. [64]
    D. Jacquette, J. Hist. Ideas 51, 659 (1990).Google Scholar
  65. [65]
    Y. Hadzigeorgiou and R. Schulz, Sci. & Educ. 23, 1963 (2014).ADSGoogle Scholar
  66. [66]
    H. Jho, J. Sci. Educ. 41, 402 (2017).Google Scholar
  67. [67]
    K. Young, Narr. 19, 149 (2011).Google Scholar
  68. [68]
    W. H. Brock, The history of chemistry: a very short introduction (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016).Google Scholar
  69. [69]
    B. Kouznetsov, Diogenes 29, 81 (1981).Google Scholar
  70. [70]
    M. Livio, The accelerating universe: infinite expansion, the cosmological constant, and the beauty of the cosmos (John Wiley, New York, 2000).Google Scholar
  71. [71]
    C. S. Todd, Int. Stud. Phil. Sci. 22, 61 (2008).Google Scholar
  72. [72]
    J. Allday, Quantum reality: theory and philosophy (CRC Press, New York, 2009).Google Scholar
  73. [73]
    E. Schrödinger, Ann. Phys. (Berl.) 384, 361 (1926).ADSGoogle Scholar
  74. [74]
    E. Schrödinger, Ann. Phys. (Berl.) 384, 489 (1926).ADSGoogle Scholar
  75. [75]
    E. Schrödinger, Ann. Phys. (Berl.) 384, 734 (1926).ADSGoogle Scholar
  76. [76]
    E. Schrödinger, Ann. Phys. (Berl.) 386, 109 (1926).ADSGoogle Scholar
  77. [77]
    P. Slattery and N. Langerock, Curr. Inq. 32, 349 (2002).Google Scholar
  78. [78]
    P. Feyerabend, Against method: outline of an anarchist theory of knowledge (Verso, London, 1975).Google Scholar
  79. [79]
    P. A. M. Dirac, Proc. R. Soc. Edin. 59, 122 (1939).Google Scholar
  80. [80]
    Encyclopedia Britannica, Mathematical formalism, (Accessed April 4, 2018).
  81. [81]
    Oxford Dictionaries, Elegance, (Accessed April 8, 2018).
  82. [82]
    D. B. Wallace and H. E. Gruber, Creative people at work: twelve cognitive case studies (Oxford University Press, New York, 1989), Chap. 12.Google Scholar
  83. [83]
    J. W. McAllister, Int. Stud. Phil. Sci. 16, 7 (2002).Google Scholar
  84. [84]
    J. Perell’o and Altaió, Leonardo 41, 232 (2008).Google Scholar
  85. [85]
    A. Johnson, Biodiversity Conserv. 4, 758 (1995).Google Scholar
  86. [86]
    J. Brooke and G. Cantor, Reconstructing nature: the engagement of science and religion (Oxford University Press, New York, 1998), p. 209.Google Scholar
  87. [87]
    R. S. Root-Bernstein, Int. Stud. Phil. Sci. 16, 61 (2002).Google Scholar
  88. [88]
    N. Barker and C. Iacobuzio-Donahue, Hidden beauty: exploring the aesthetics of medical science (Schiffer, Atlgen, 2013).Google Scholar
  89. [89]
    B. Greene, Elegant universe: superstrings, hidden dimensions, and the quest for the ultimate theory (W. W. Norton, New York, 1999).zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  90. [90]
    K. C. Cole, The universe and the teacup: the mathematics of truth and beauty (Harcourt Brace & Company, New York, 1997).Google Scholar
  91. [91]
    M. Girod, Stud. Sci. Educ. 43, 38 (2007).Google Scholar
  92. [92]
    S. Chandrasekhar, Truth and beauty: aesthetics and motivations in science (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1987), p. 45.Google Scholar
  93. [93]
    T. X. Thuan, Chaos and harmony: perspectives on scientific revolutions of the twentieth century (Oxford University Press, New York, 2001).zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  94. [94]
    H. Jho, J. Res. Curr. Instr. 21, 132 (2017).Google Scholar
  95. [95]
    R. N. Giere, Understanding scientific reasoning (Harcourt, Brace and Company, Fort Worth, 1997).Google Scholar
  96. [96]
    R. N. Giere, Science without laws (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1999).Google Scholar
  97. [97]
    R. N. Giere, Scientific perspectivism (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2006).Google Scholar
  98. [98]
    A. Rueger, Int. Stud. Phil. Sci. 16, 49 (2002).Google Scholar
  99. [99]
    D. Davies, Int. Stud. Phil. Sci. 12, 25 (1998).Google Scholar
  100. [100]
    P. M. Harman, The natural philosophy of James Clerk Maxwell (Cambridge University Press, New York, 1998).zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  101. [101]
    B. Mahon, The man who changed everything: the life of James Clerk Maxwell (Wiley, Chichester, 2003).zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  102. [102]
    M. R. Matthews, Science, worldviews and education (Springer, Dordrecht, 2009), Chap. 12.Google Scholar
  103. [103]
    R. F. Carlson, Science & Christianity: four views (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, 2000).Google Scholar
  104. [104]
    J. W. McAllister, Br. J. Aesthet. 31, 332 (1991).Google Scholar
  105. [105]
    A. T. Winterbourne, Br. J. Aesthet. 21, 253 (1981).Google Scholar
  106. [106]
    I. A. Richards, C. K. Ogden and J. Wood, The foundations of aesthetics (International Publishers, New York, 1925), p. 7.Google Scholar
  107. [107]
    A. I. Tauber, The elusive synthesis: aesthetics and science (Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 1997), Chap. 3.Google Scholar
  108. [108]
    R. Feynman, Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman! (Norton, New York, 1985), p. 85.Google Scholar
  109. [109]
    H. Jho, New Phys.: Sae Mulli 64, 550 (2014).Google Scholar
  110. [110]
    P. Geimer, Sci. Context 17, 467 (2004).Google Scholar
  111. [111]
    G. Poggi, Inventing futurism: the art and politics of artificial optimism (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2008).Google Scholar
  112. [112]
    J. van der Veen, Am. Educ. Res. J. 49, 356 (2012).Google Scholar
  113. [113]
  114. [114]
  115. [115]
    J. van der Veen, Am. Educ. Res. J. 49, 356 (2012).Google Scholar
  116. [116]
    H. Lin, Z-R. Hong, C-C. Chen and C-H. Chou, Int. J. Sci. Educ. 33, 1199 (2011).Google Scholar
  117. [117]
    X. Arapaki and D. Koliopoulos, Sci. & Educ. 20, 797 (2011).ADSGoogle Scholar
  118. [118]
    M. Izquierdo-Aumerich and A. Aduriz-Bravo, Sci. & Educ. 12, 27 (2003).ADSGoogle Scholar
  119. [119]
    I. Galili and B. Zinn, Sci. & Educ. 16, 441 (2007).ADSGoogle Scholar
  120. [120]
    I. Galili, Sci. & Educ. 22, 1911 (2013).ADSGoogle Scholar
  121. [121]
    M. C. Flannery, Sci. Educ. 75, 577 (1991).Google Scholar
  122. [122]
    B. Goertzel, From complexity to creativity: explorations in evolutionary, autopoietic, and cognitive dynamics (Springer, New York, 1997). Chap. 14.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  123. [123]
    M. W. Wartofsky, Phil. Ex. 24/25, 5 (1994).Google Scholar
  124. [124]
    J. Stolnitz, J. Aesthet. Art Crit. 20, 131 (1961).Google Scholar
  125. [125]
    J. W. McAllister, Am. Sci. 86, 174 (1998).ADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Korean Physical Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General EducationDankook UniversityCheonanKorea

Personalised recommendations