Book Summary: A Beautiful Question

Title: A Beautiful Question
Author: Frank Wilczek
Release Date: 2015


Why did you choose to read this particular book?

What peaks your interest? What is the book about? What does it promise to deliver?

I believe there is a God and one of his signs is in the beauty and majesty in creation. So I was keen to learn more about these beautiful designs of nature a Nobel prize winner has discovered.

Summary of book

Wilczek explores natures design from all avenues, starting off historically then atomicly and quantumly.

For example, he starts with Pythagoras. Everything is based on number.. Maths. thus the Pythagros therom – a perfect mathematical equation.

Then musical consonance, harmony between number and length. An example given of guitar chords and music.

Then number and weight. Pulling on the strings to tighten or loosen affects the music too.

So we understand the theory. But why is it that particular sound combination is beauty to us?

This is an example of natures beauty.

Then Wilczek goes on giving more examples from nature. After Chapter 10, the book got very technical and unless one has a good idea of physics and quantum, it is difficult to digest or even grasp the beauty.

The chapters are as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Pythagoras: Thought and Object
  • Chapter 2: Pythagoras: Number and Harmony
  • Chapter 3: Plato: Platonic Solids
  • Chapter 4: Plato: Escaping the Cave
  • Chapter 5: Newton: Method and Madness
  • Chapter 6: Newton: Colour
  • Chapter 7: Newton: Dynamic Beauty
  • Chapter 8: Maxwell: God’s Estheics
  • Chapter 9: Maxwell: The Doors of Perception
  • Chapter 10: Preclude to Symmetry
  • Chapter 11: Quantum Beauty: Music of the Spheres
  • Chapter 12: Einstein: Symmetry
  • Chapter 13: Quantum Beauty: Exuberance
  • Chapter 14: Local Colour
  • Chapter 15: Quantum Beauty: Beauty at the core of nature
  • Chapter 16: Time, Energy and Sanity
  • Chapter 17: In Beauty we Trust
  • Conclusion: A Beautiful Answer?

What stood out for you

Beautifully and simply broken down for the novice reader. It links in many of the concepts it speaks about and highlights the beauty behind it.

His style of writing is excellent, and the book is graced with plenty of engrossing diagrams and color illustrations.

What you dislike

Some of the chapters/concepts very difficult to understand/digest but I think this is due to my lack of knowledge on the sub category. Once I learn about it, I will definitely return to see what Frank has to say.


Many useful illustrations

Has the book met its objective?


What type of reader would enjoy this book

Anyone wanting to learn more about natures beautiful design from a renowned physicist. You would however need to have some background knowledge of physics and many of its concepts., like light, sound, quantum.

Would you recommend this book


Final Verdict:

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