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Richard Feynman - Ode on a Flower

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Uploaded on Oct 2, 2006

More clips from the Interview @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/progr...
Richard Feynman on the appreciation of nature. Video is from 1981 BBC Interview. The interview is also the subject of Feynman's book The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.

I have a friend who's an artist and he's some times taken a view which I don't agree with very well. He'll hold up a flower and say, "look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree, I think. And he says, "you see, I as an artist can see how beautiful this is, but you as a scientist, oh, take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing." And I think he's kind of nutty.

First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me, too, I believe, although I might not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is. But I can appreciate the beauty of a flower.

At the same time, I see much more about the flower that he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside which also have a beauty. I mean, it's not just beauty at this dimension of one centimeter: there is also beauty at a smaller dimension, the inner structure...also the processes.

The fact that the colors in the flower are evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting -- it means that insects can see the color.

It adds a question -- does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms that are...why is it aesthetic, all kinds of interesting questions which a science knowledge only adds to the excitement and mystery and the awe of a flower.

It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts.

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