I recently stopped in to the Art Dept at NHS to distribute some informed consent sheets for one of my colleague’s dissertation. I had the chance to talk with Carol and we discussed the similarities between art and science. I quickly retold the story of a recent interview I conducted. Here is the excerpt from the transcript:
Me: How are scientists different/similar from artists/musicians?
Student: I think that the only difference is the medium from which they work. You know, a musician is working with an instrument – a musical instrument which is going to produce music. An artist works with paintbrushes. That’s their instrument that produces artwork. A scientist is working with a microscope, a telescope – and that’s producing the art of science. It’s just the medium for which they conduct their artwork.
Me: How are scientists different/similar from Journalists?
Student: Well journalists report on various things, and so do scientists. They report on their various findings and their data. I see scientists being closer to artists, though, and not as close to journalists.
Then our conversation continued. I, the scientist, talked about the creativity in art and science. She, the artist, talked about problem solving in art and science.
Wow! Most people take [>>science = problem solving<<] and [>>art = creativity<<] at face value. I, as a science educator, want to inform others of the creative processes necessary to conduct authentic research. She, as the art educator, wants to inform others of the problem finding processes necessary to produce art.
I find it interesting that we both were trying to demonstrate that our domains take into consideration the others “apparent” strength. We didn’t need to convince each other – but it is clear that we thing others need convincing.