Beyond simply science or art

Kristin: In our work on science education and public communication we are often struck by the need to go beyond a purely scientific rational approach to describing or experiencing something new. One of the ways we do this is to embrace arts and science whether through sponsorship of arts masterclasses or introduction of arts activities in the nanotechnology curriculum we’re working on.

It was great to read the article in the New York Times (‘Curriculum Designed to Unite Art and Science’) about a program at Binghamton University in New York called the ‘New Humanities Initiatives’. The article quotes one of the program designers, Dr David Wilson, who sums up the essence of merging art and science where neither becomes the primary source of truth or meaning – “You can study music, dance, narrative storytelling and artmaking scientifically, and you can conclude that yes, they’re deeply biologically driven, they’re essential to our species, but there would still be something missing,” he said, “and that thing is an appreciation for the work itself, a true understanding of its meaning in its culture and context.”

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