What’s in a title?

Mathematics without Apologies was just reviewed in Nature, along with Cédric Villani’s book Birth of a Theorem, in a short article by Amir Alexander entitled Groping in the Dark for Glimpses of Beauty.  No doubt the editor chose the title; Alexander had written “glimpses of beauty and coherence” (and had avoided the mixed metaphor).   What does it mean when Nature, at the pinnacle of scientific taste and influence, chooses beauty over coherence?  (Either word would have fit on the line.)  Probably not much.  Maybe all scientists are assumed to be groping for glimpses of coherence, and the editor is following some unspoken tradition in awarding mathematicians the privilege of glimpsing beauty.

Coincidentally, Alexander was just mentioned in this post.


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