Nature News from GYE #36

April 7, 2022

Mammoth Terraces

“There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart. The first of these is science, and the second is art. Neither is independent of the other or more important than the other. Without art science would be as useless as a pair of high forceps in the hands of a plumber. Without science art would become a crude mess of folklore and emotional quackery. The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous.”

Raymond Chandler from:
The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler (Great Thought, February 19, 1938)”

Mineralized bacterial mats near a Yellowstone Hot Spring
Lodgepole pine cone

These words are powerful when we look around us and see so much beauty in the Natural World which calms our spirits. So often, this beauty takes the form of patterns, repeated over and over again. This can be exlpained, no doubt, through physics and math, but many of us don’t go to that place when we are taking in the natural world. These first photos are from Yellowstone where we see this kind of symetry everywhere. Looking at ice or snowflakes in the winter months such as the photo below, looking into a pine cone at the way the scales form we see these repetive patterns. Even looking at mineral and biological deposits that form as hotspring water surfaces this symetry is evident.

hoar frost crystals near geyser basin

Think about times you’ve become keenly aware of patterns like these in your daily life, like watching rain or snow fall,or watching waves crash on a body of water, or perhaps on some of your travels. When I think of these moments these images come to mind:

2 zebras in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania by Tom Nicholls
Agave near Tucson Arizona

Many of these patterns can be explained through mathematics and laws of physics, (which are not my forte to explain!) Humans have different ways of understanding the world around us. Some see it through scientific eyes and some see it though artisitc eyes. Many see it in both ways.

I think about people who were artists as well as scientists. Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical sketches are artistic masterpieces but also scientific attempts to understand the human form. Galileo studied art in order to depict what he saw through his telescope. Einstein, thinking like an artist, wrangled with equations of physics to reflect the beauty and symmetries he saw in nature. In this way, he discovered relativity theory, and symmetry became a guide for physics research. He said “Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

That’s my thought for the day as I watch rain fall as it hits my deck in concentric circles outside my window!

Be a Kid for the Wild ..painting by Walkin Jim Stoltz

One last bit of news is the announcement of the Kid for the Wild Scholarship recipients for this year. Take a look at the link at the bottom of the page

Thank you again, to all the donors who have contributed to this scholarship fund through the years.


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