ABSTRACT Scientific understanding of natural phenomena should be a legitimate part of aesthetic theory, as this understanding involves the beauty of insight into the inner workings of nature. This insight is not always easy to communicate. Despite the huge progress made during the 20th century, fundamental physics now faces puzzles and paradoxes involving the infinitely small (the frontier of high energies) and the infinitely large (the overall structure of the observed universe). Working in basic science is fascinating but difficult. Discoveries happen not in a linear manner but just as they do in the creation of a work of art.