The first thing that this documentary makes us grateful for is that Matt Collings, its host, is just as unknowledgeable as most of us when it comes to high mathematics. This has turned out to be his most effective and charming instrument, since it leads to simple and friendly explanations, easily digested by his viewers. Collings is an English artist and critic who finds the world of equations astonishing and enigmatic, so he sets out to know it better.

Beautiful Equations is directed towards a particular purpose: finding beauty in equations. He decided to approach this “alternate world” with an artistic angle, observing the most important equations of all time as if they were works of art; works that explain the world and the universe we live in. Collings explores subjects such as beauty, elegance and simplicity which have been applied by scientists since Newton, Einstein and Dirac to Hawking, in order to delve into his work.

One of the equations the program presents is Dirac’s equation, which predicts the existence of antimatter. Dr. Glen Cowan, from England’s Physics Department, shows the presenter a fog chamber which makes antimatter tails visible. A truly fascinating occurrence, even if the quantum concept of antiparticle is hard to understand.

Paul Dirac, generally unknown to the general public, was a strong defendant for the beauty of science. It was he who elevated beauty to a principle in and of itself: “the principle of mathematical beauty”. According to him, the more a theory approaches nature, the more beautiful it becomes. More real. Or, as Keats used to say: “Beauty is truth and truth is beauty.”

The documentary is able to inspire in the viewer a type of enchantment with the metaphorical and encrypted world of the equations. When we see things in this way, we understand something: that, thanks to a few scientists, there is a language that predicts the future. That in mechanic terms it can anticipate and describe the fundamental behavior of all the objects of the world (as well as non-objects, in Dirac’s case). The process of understanding, even if this is clumsily, one of the equations, is a combination of pain and pleasure which, as Hawking describes in the final hour, is not comparable to sex, but it does last longer. Theoreticians are the painters of the world of science. And, undoubtedly, there is plenty of magic there.

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The first thing that this documentary makes us grateful for is that Matt Collings, its host, is just as unknowledgeable as most of us when it comes to high mathematics. This has turned out to be his most effective and charming instrument, since it leads to simple and friendly explanations, easily digested by his viewers. Collings is an English artist and critic who finds the world of equations astonishing and enigmatic, so he sets out to know it better.

Beautiful Equations is directed towards a particular purpose: finding beauty in equations. He decided to approach this “alternate world” with an artistic angle, observing the most important equations of all time as if they were works of art; works that explain the world and the universe we live in. Collings explores subjects such as beauty, elegance and simplicity which have been applied by scientists since Newton, Einstein and Dirac to Hawking, in order to delve into his work.

One of the equations the program presents is Dirac’s equation, which predicts the existence of antimatter. Dr. Glen Cowan, from England’s Physics Department, shows the presenter a fog chamber which makes antimatter tails visible. A truly fascinating occurrence, even if the quantum concept of antiparticle is hard to understand.

Paul Dirac, generally unknown to the general public, was a strong defendant for the beauty of science. It was he who elevated beauty to a principle in and of itself: “the principle of mathematical beauty”. According to him, the more a theory approaches nature, the more beautiful it becomes. More real. Or, as Keats used to say: “Beauty is truth and truth is beauty.”

The documentary is able to inspire in the viewer a type of enchantment with the metaphorical and encrypted world of the equations. When we see things in this way, we understand something: that, thanks to a few scientists, there is a language that predicts the future. That in mechanic terms it can anticipate and describe the fundamental behavior of all the objects of the world (as well as non-objects, in Dirac’s case). The process of understanding, even if this is clumsily, one of the equations, is a combination of pain and pleasure which, as Hawking describes in the final hour, is not comparable to sex, but it does last longer. Theoreticians are the painters of the world of science. And, undoubtedly, there is plenty of magic there.

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