The Science of Beauty


About the author

Ulrich Renz was born in Stuttgart in 1960. He has been working as a medical doctor and a publisher of medical and scientific literature. He is now a freelance writer. In 2001 he published Die Kunst, weniger zu arbeiten, in 2003 Was ich mir wünsche, ist ein Clown, and in 2005 and 2008 the thrillers for children Auf der Spur der Erpresser and Auf der Jagd nach Giant Blue.

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Beauty is a scandal. The beautiful baby is given more attention than a less attractive one, the pretty waitress earns a higher tip than her more homely colleague, the more attractive candidate gets a higher salary offer, the better looking politician more votes.

Why does beauty have so much power over us? How comes that beauty takes centre stage in our dreams, longings and fantasies? The world’s biggest cosmetics company is worth three times as much as the world’s biggest car manufacturer, General Motors. The media, movie and publishing industry make a living on nothing else than providing us with pictures of beautiful faces and bodies around the clock.

But: What is it that makes someone „beautiful“? Where in a face is that magic that attracts our gazes? Our gazes? Isn´t beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Ulrich Renz takes us on an expedition into the world of attractiveness research. He makes us acquainted with evolutionary biologists performing glue-and-scissors-operations on the plumage of tropical birds, and neuroscientists peeping into the depth of the human brain in order to uncover the traces that a pretty face leaves in the brains of our fellow human beings.

The Science of Beauty is not only a fascinating report about one of the most challenging fields in modern science. It also takes issue with the compulsive fixation of our society on beauty and makes some suggestions for a more composed and self conscious way of dealing with beauty.

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