Job satisfaction: consistency, elegance, and inspiring inner logic

Scientists are much happier with their work and circumstances if they find the content of their research beautiful and like it. This was the result of an international survey conducted by researchers at the Catholic University of America in Washington. The journal “Nature” published the first report on the international survey.

75% of participants stated that they see beauty in the phenomena they seek. 61 percent answered that they saw beauty in scientific theories and 54 percent also saw beauty in teaching. Respondents found the symmetry, elegance, patterns or subtle structures, and internal logic of the systems beautiful. For 62 percent, beauty was one of the factors that led them to pursue a scientific career. Half of the respondents said that beauty helps them keep going when they face setbacks or defeats. 57 percent stated that aesthetics helps them with scientific understanding. When researchers have insight, it activates the same areas in that person’s brain that can be stimulated by liking other art forms, says lead author Dr. Brandon Vaidianatan explained.

In everyday scientific life, bureaucratic tasks or time pressure often prevent applications or papers from experiencing aesthetic beauty. However, the proportion of researchers who reported being completely satisfied or satisfied with their work of 72 percent was relatively high.

Between May and September 2021, more than 3,400 people were surveyed from India, Italy, the UK and the USA, working mainly in the fields of biology and physics. They provided information about their satisfaction with workplace and work culture, their experiences in the pandemic and the role of aesthetics in science. The summary of the results is Available online.

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