As an adult artist, I recognise that art and science are part of the same spectrum. Sometimes art is categorised as ‘creative,’ while science is categorised as ‘analytical,’ but in reality scientists and artists both need a combination of creative and analytical thinking. Both subjects require that we find/create/discover new possibilities, that we look beyond what we already (think we) know. Artists and scientists do their best to address the big questions, to push us forward as a species, to make us more humane and understanding.
When I was in art school, I felt something was missing, and I started watching science documentaries. In the scientists featured, I heard the same passion I often hear when artists talk about ideas. With the concise summation of years of work over an hour-long program, I saw the magic of proving new theories that help describe our world. My perception of science and scientists switched from boring / irrelevant to enlivening / necessary.
While I doubt that any scientist would be awarded their grant if they used the word “magic” to describe their scientific process, I think we should recognise the creativity needed to make discoveries in science. We should always seek to be a society that encourages new scientists and artists alike. Certainly it's worth it to support people who offer us new ideas, which can have an amazing and transformative power. Historically, some of our greatest scientific leaps forward have happened in laboratories that would not meet today’s rigorous standards, but where creativity, mistakes / accidents, and a variety of seemingly unrelated topics were pursued.
I feel that much of my work as an artist is inspired by scientific discovery. Additionally, some of my favourite science is communicated using art. I have to mention Oliver Sacks here. His writing is fascinating, and he helped humanise many poorly-understood human experiences. I recommend all of his books, the first of which I read was “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat,” in 2003.
I also want to share a visual art example I found several months ago. This is a beautiful example of what can happen when art and science are used together. Enjoy! https://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_wertheim_crochets_the_coral_reef