Skip to main content


We often find PRI's (Public Radio International) Science Friday®, with host Ira Flatow right there. Making sense of it all.

This last Friday, Ira had a thought-provoking segment -- discussing this intersection of the Arts and the Sciences.

Turns out, historically, it is a very special place.


Why Science and the Humanities Are Better Together

Science Friday, PRI, sciencefriday.com -- May 23, 2014

Last week, biographer and journalist Walter Isaacson delivered the 43rd annual Jefferson Lecture -- the government’s highest honor for people working in the humanities. But Isaacson’s message wasn’t just for humanists. He argued that the future belongs to those who can appreciate both the arts and the sciences. Isaacson joins Ira to explain how thinkers from Einstein to Steve Jobs drew on both spheres to make their breakthroughs, and why mixing the two is more important than ever in the digital age.

Produced by Annie Minoff, SciArts Producer

Guests
    Walter Isaacson
    Biographer and Journalist
    President and CEO, The Aspen Institute
    Washington, D.C.


Podcast -- then click Listen.



Walter Isaacson Lecture: "The Intersection of the Humanities and the Sciences"

Awards & Honors:  2014 Jefferson Lecturer -- neh.gov

[...]
That’s what I want to talk about today. The creativity that comes when the humanities and science interact is something that has fascinated me my whole life.

When I first started working on a biography of Steve Jobs, he told me: “I always thought of myself as a humanities person as a kid, but I liked electronics. Then I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of humanities and sciences, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do.”[iii]
[...]

It used to be common for creative people to stand at this intersection. Leonardo da Vinci was the exemplar, and his famous drawing of the Vitruvian Man became the symbol, of the connection between the humanities and the sciences. “Leonardo was both artist and scientist, because in his day there was no distinction,” writes science historian Arthur I. Miller in his forthcoming book, Colliding Worlds.  

[...]
Part of his talent as both a scientist and humanist [Benjamin Franklin] was his facility as a clear writer, and he crafted the words we still use for electrical flow: positive and negative charges, battery, condenser, conductor.

Because he was a humanist, he looked for ways that his science could benefit society. He lamented to a friend that he was “chagrined” that the electricity experiments “have hitherto been able to discover nothing in the way of use to mankind.” [...]


Wouldn't Ben have been surprised, if he could have seen the world that surrounds us today ... the one powered by Electricity and the machines that help us think, learn, and organize ... survive.




Vitruvian Man -- from Wikipedia

[...]
This image exemplifies the blend of art and science during the Renaissance and provides the perfect example of Leonardo's deep understanding of proportion. In addition, this picture represents a cornerstone of Leonardo's attempts to relate man to nature. Encyclopaedia Britannica online states, "Leonardo envisaged the great picture chart of the human body he had produced through his anatomical drawings and Vitruvian Man as a cosmografia del minor mondo (cosmography of the microcosm). He believed the workings of the human body to be an analogy for the workings of the universe."
[...]

The drawing itself is often used as an implied symbol of the essential symmetry of the human body, and by extension, of the universe as a whole.[6]




           Vitruvian Man

           

Artist           Leonardo da Vinci
Year             c. 1490
Type            Pen and ink with wash over metalpoint on paper




At the intersection of the Arts and Sciences ... we will find Invention, Creativity, and the solutions to so many human problems.

Science without Art is sterile.
Creativity without Science is futile.

Must be why we have two different halves to our brains ... wonder what lives there, between them ... at the intersection of those untapped domains?


Perhaps ... Inspiration, hope, and opportunity?




EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site