The science behind why we love beautiful things

Baptiste Alchourroun

There was a great opinion piece in the New York Times last week from Lance Hosey who wrote about the science behind why we love beautiful things. A lot of the things he wrote about I’ve heard before but he does a great job of speaking to so many interesting aspects of science influencing beauty. Certainly worth a read.

Certain patterns also have universal appeal. Natural fractals — irregular, self-similar geometry — occur virtually everywhere in nature: in coastlines and riverways, in snowflakes and leaf veins, even in our own lungs. In recent years, physicists have found that people invariably prefer a certain mathematical density of fractals — not too thick, not too sparse. The theory is that this particular pattern echoes the shapes of trees, specifically the acacia, on the African savanna, the place stored in our genetic memory from the cradle of the human race. To paraphrase one biologist, beauty is in the genes of the beholder — home is where the genome is.

February 26, 2013 / By