Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray

The premise of this book can be summed up in an early quote from the book—

In our search for new ideas, beauty plays many roles. It’s a guide, a reward, a motivation. It is also a systematic bias.

Sabine Hossenfelder argues effectively that science is overly biased towards arbitrary visions of human beauty and that these numerous biases in the scientific community prevent the field from efficiently exploring the true nature of the universe.

It’s a solid idea and well worth writing about, but the implementation in this book was hit or miss.

On the positive side, I valued the historical context paired with modern day examples of the search for beauty. Seeing discredited ideas that were overly focused on beauty in the same breath as modern examples of ideas that are centered on their prettiness is effective in making the reader question certain theories and methodologies.

On the other hand, the conversational format of many of the latter chapters did not appeal to me and felt less information-dense.

Overall, readable and a valuable perspective that I’m glad I read.

Book cover for Lost in Math
Lost in Math
How Beauty Leads Physics Astray
Sabine Hossenfelder