From Astrology to Astronomy: From the "Music of the Spheres" to the Big Bang’s Whisper
“If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing." (Poincaré)
How did the mathematical beauty of astronomy emerge from astrology? The ancient Greeks explained the rising and setting of the sun by having their sun God Helios drive his chariot, pulled by four beautiful winged horses, across the sky. Pythagoras, 590 BC believed that the planets rotating about the earth made the beautiful "music of the spheres," because the planetary radii had the same intervals as the musical scale. In 1543 Copernicus proposed his new cosmology of "the sun at the center of the most beautiful temple." In the 17th century, Newton discovered the laws of gravity and dynamics of "the beautiful system of the sun and planets." Today, the mathematical beauty of Einstein's general relativity frames the whispering cosmos, the "cool" remnant radiation from the hot big bang. Modern cosmology tells us how the hydrogen in the early universe evolved into people. Even though our concepts of the universe have changed, we perceive it as awesome and beautiful. Beauty is an eternal object according to philosopher A. N. Whitehead. This PowerPoint talk is based on the Chapter "From the 'Music of the Spheres' to the Big Bang's Whisper" in Dr. Carr's book Beauty in Science and Spirit.