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Science and Art

This past weekend I had the opportunity of spending the day with a room full of authors and illustrators. It felt a little strange because I was the only scientist in the room but as I listened to what they were saying I realized that we aren’t really so different. I know that people see the differences between science and art as diametrically opposed but after this experience, I am not so certain.


I found that our foundation for the love of our fields was just as passionate and emotional. We all look to the world around us for the greater beauty and wonder that may not be visible to others. A mathematician looks at an equation and sees beauty. An artist sees beauty in the purely visual. Each scientist may find beauty in the material being studied.


creative brain

According to an article published in Scientific American written by Clara Moskowitz, “The scientists hypothesized that while people with no musical or artistic training can still appreciate Beethoven’s and Michelangelo’s works, only those who understand the meaning behind certain mathematical formulas would find them beautiful.”

In 2012 an article was published by Smithsonian Magazine written by Abigail Tucker that discussed how scientists discovered activity in certain parts of the brain when the viewer was shown an image that was defined to be art. This research was done by observing the brain connections and activity under an MRI.

whole brain creativity

So far, I am seeing that there is no correlation with this information and what has been defined as right brain or left brain personality. What is great is that in 2013 Scientific American blogger Scott Barry Kaufman did some research on this matter as well. He found that cognitive neuroscientists have turned the notions surrounding the neuroscience of creativity upside down. The neuroscientists found that both regions of the brain are being used throughout the creative process. In fact it has been discovered that “many of the brain regions work as a team to get the job done, and many recruit structures from both the left and right side of the brain.”



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