Beauty and Religiosity in Science

Brandon Vaidyanathan

Catholic University of America

What role does beauty play in science? To address this question, this lecture draws on data from the world’s first empirical study of the role of beauty in science, conducted in the UK, US, Italy, and India. After analyzing surveys of more than 3000 physicists and biologists and in-depth interviews with more than 200 of them, we identify ways in which scientists’ aesthetic experiences shape the practice of science and the well-being of scientists. The presentation will also assess the relationship between scientists’ aesthetic experiences and their religious / spiritual commitments.

Dr. Brandon Vaidyanathan is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at The Catholic University of America. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Business Administration from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and HEC Montreal respectively, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame.

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