PRESENTATIONS & WORKSHOPS

Photos of Paul H. Carr by Keith Spiro, www.keithspirophotography.com

Thoreau's Creative Example Inspired Wyeth's Art Thoreau Society Annual Gathering Talk 7/10/2014

Why Does CO2 Affect Our Climate? American Vacuum Society, June 16, 2014

IEEE DEBATE: Anthropogenic Global Warming? Humans Influence our Climate, April 9, 2014

Are NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES “Proof of Heaven?”

THE HIGGS BOSON: The 48 Year Quest for the “God Particle.”

CRASH IN THE WORLD'S FOOD PRODUCTON: Can New Technologies Save Us?

THOREAU: From MYSTICAL to MATHEMATICAL BEAUTY. Thoreau Society Annual Gathering Talk 7/11/2013

SAVING OUR BEAUTIFUL PLANET New technologies can help. However, if spirituality does not engender reverence for nature’s beauty, it becomes an object that may be ravaged.


INCREASING HURRICANES, DRAUGHTS, WILDFIRES

CAN TECHNOLGIES SAVE US IN TIME? Resource Depletion, Population Explosion, & Climate Change

MIT'S ENERGY INNOVATIONS: Free Energy Forever

GLOBAL WARMING DEBATE at American Physical Society Meeting

Earthlike Planet with Intelligent Life? Why 400 years?

 Liberty without Law: Financial Chaos

Is Religion Irreleant? Paul Tillich's Answering Theology

From ASTROLOGY to ASTRONOMY

FREE ENERGY FOREVER: BALANCING ECOLOGY with ECONOMICS

DARWINIAN EVOLUTION & FRACTALS

To request a talk and for more information, send Paul an e-mail at  paulcarr@alum.mit.

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 OVERVIEW of BEAUTY IN SCIENCE & SPIRIT

Science without spirit can result in the exploitation of the environment’s intrinsic beauty. Conversely, spirituality without scientific validation can overlook the beautiful order of the universe.  Explore music and the fractal geometry of nature with Professor Carr to see how spirit’s “why” beautifully complements science’s “how.”  And discover how his insights can not only help us view the world in a refreshingly different light but also help heal some of the world’s ills, from terrorism and to excessive materialism. More Detailed Summary

<>7 October 2008, 10:00 – 11:30 AM,  Green Mountain Center for Lifelong Learning, Manchester, VT, http://www.gmall.org/classes.html
6 May 2009, 2:30 to 4:30 PM, Institute of Lifelong Education at Dartmouth, D. O. C. House, Hanover, NH





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BEAUTY & CREATIVITY in SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

 

"Beautiful Machines” was the theme of the MIT Technology Review in May/June 2007, raising the questions: "What is beauty?" and "How can creativity be nurtured?" 

If everyone were cast in the same mold, there would be no such thing as beauty,” according to Charles Darwin. This contrasts with mathematician-philosopher A. N. Whitehead's: "Beauty is the harmony of contrasts." Physicist Steven Weinberg believes that beauty is more than a personal experience of aesthetic beauty. Scientific beauty is much closer to a horse trainer's enthusiasm for a beautiful racehorse. Such beauty can be measured. Can it win a race?  Beauty thus resides in the interplay between the structure of its body (form) and its ability to run (function.) (1)

 

 Physicist Murray Gell-Mann observed that the creative process has three steps:

  -- immersion and total involvement in a problem,

  -- incubation logical impasse, in which conscious thought is useless, &

  -illumination, "aha," "eureka," when we are relaxed, contemplating the beautiful.         MIT physics Professor Victor Weisskopf expressed this in his book "The Joy of Insight." Nobel laureate Karl A. Muller had the idea leading to the discovery of the cuprate high temperature superconductors while contemplating a mandala, which is a symmetrical visual symbol of the universe. "Positive emotions are critical to learning, curiosity, and creative thinking," according to Don Newman, former VP of Apple (2).

     Hopefully our present information overload can lead to a new age of creativity and beauty, which integrates and harmonizes diverse cultures and ideas. The scientific story transcends national and cultural differences. In our global economy, we must innovate or evaporate.

  

References:

(1) Paul H. Carr, 2006, Beauty in Science and Spirit , www.BeechRiverBooks.com/id08, Center Ossipee, NH

(2) Don Norman, 2005, Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things , Basic Books.


Presented:
17 October 2007, 4:00 PM,  IEEE Life Members & Sigma Xi, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA

 



CONSECRATION &  CONSERVATION: THOREAU'S WALDEN POND AS A SACRED SITE

 

 ice melting on walden pond

"Water indeed reflects heaven." (Thoreau)

Plate 15 from Beauty in Science and Spirit

 

       Thoreau is the pivotal figure in Chapter 4, "Beauty: From Theology to Fractals," which traces the transition from mystical to mathematical beauty in American thought. This is from theologian Jonathan Edwards in the eighteenth century, through Thoreau in the 19th, to mathematician Mandelbrot in the 20th. Thoreau is cited 7 times in Beauty in Science and Spirit

 

     Thoreau's first books, Walden & The River, were mainly philosophical and his final journals, recently published as Faith in a Seed & Wild Fruits, scientific. Carr shows how Thoreau's career can be thought of as a metaphor for the transition from a mystical view of nature to the mathematical beauty recently discovered by Mandelbrot in his Fractal Geometry of Nature.  Thoreau himself said: 'The most distinct and beautiful statement of any truth must take at last the mathematical form.”  “Consecration and conservation: Walden Pond as a sacred site," Chapter 9, page 109, shows how Thoreau was a pioneer of the environmental movement.  Thoreau demarcated Walden  as a sacred place  scientifically,  narratively,  physically, and  ritually.



3 May 2008, 1: 30 PM. The Thoreau Society Shop on Walden Pond, Concord, MA.

 


BEAUTY: FROM ART TO SCIENCE TO ART

 
      His presentation will be both personal and historical.  Paul was raised in an artistic, musical home, earned his Ph.D. in physics and led a group at the AF Research Laboratory. Retired, he has returned to artistic nature photography. 

 

      Broadly speaking historically, the mathematical beauty of modern science emerged from the mystical beauty of the 30,000 BCE cave art in southern France. Mathematical astronomy emerged from mystical, artistic astrology. Today, computer programs generate landscape art.

 

     Paul grew up in Cabot and Richford, VT, where his mother was a music teacher and his father a minister, who later pastored churches in Ipswich and Woburn, MA. Paul remembers their painting "The school days of the boy Jesus," a wedding present from the American illustrator, N. Converse Wyeth, his mother's cousin.

 

      Paul, after earning his B.S. at MIT and Ph.D. in physics at Brandeis University, became the leader of a research and development group at the AF Research Laboratory, Bedford, MA. This research has contributed to compact, low cost components used in radar, cell phones, and TV.  For Paul's 30-minute briefings at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, he learned the vital importance of good artwork in communicating his group's scientific and technical accomplishments.

   

     Paul took an early retirement in order to have time to pursue his lifelong interest in nature photography. He was juried into the Marblehead Arts Association in 1999. He did his own exhibit in 2002, "Mirror Of Nature," which featured nature photographs with reflections, summarized on his web page www.MirrorOfNature.org.  This title is taken from "The purpose of playing is to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature."  (Hamlet, iii.2. 24)

  Thus, his personal life has progressed "from art to science and back to art."

 

    The historical thread of his presentation will start in 30,000 BCE with the amazingly colorful and dynamic art from the caves in Southern France. Paul will show how art became more mathematical, as when Pythagoras in 590 B. C. E. discovered the divine proportion (or golden ratio,) phi 1.618, in the pentagram, which contains the five-point star. The divine proportion can be seen in nature, from the proportions of the human body, to snails, the chambered nautilus, hurricanes, and galaxies. In 1543, Copernicus, developed mathematical models for predicting the motions of the planets with "the sun at the center of the most beautiful temple."  Today computers, using Newton's laws of gravitation and motion, predict and guide the paths of spacecraft throughout our solar system.

 

<>     The conclusion of the talk, "from science to art" will illustrate the impact of science on art, particularly in Escher's drawings. Several decades ago, mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot discovered that fractal geometry permeates nature's beauty, from snowflakes to the branching of plants and lungs. Fractal programs can now generate artistic landscapes that look so natural that people can not tell that it was generated on a computer. Science emerged from art and can now create art.

 


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