• Kendra Oliver

Journal Club: Art and science- Intersections of art and science through time and paths forward

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

This article explores, from a historical perspective, where the arts and sciences divided. Before this point, which they cite at the 19th century, the arts and the sciences were indistinguishable. Why were they indistinguishable? Perhaps it is the the people who were would term "scientists" today, used art extensively to further their studies. Perhaps it is because both were seen a methods for observation, insight , and discovery. In either case, our institutions have branded the arts and sciences as two distinct beasts that sit opposed to one another. Although there is the faint remnants of it early origins under the "college of arts and sciences.

Without dwelling too much in the past, both interest and action are demonstrating a resurgence in a combined art-science approach. Cross-disciplinary, non- disciplinary, and integrated degrees are popping up all over the place. The practical matters of these collaborations remain to be defined. However, this article begins to find the path forward in promoting collaboration and opening conversations for the mutual benefits of humanizing exploration.

For more on the intersection between art, science, and science communication:

  • Kemp M (2006) Seen/unseen: art, science, and intuition from Leonardo to the Hubble telescope. Oxford University Press

  • Kemp M (2011) Leonardo. Oxford University Press

  • Alda A (2017) If I understood you, would I have this look on my face?: my adventures in the art and science of relating and communicating

  • Entire issue: Abbott A, Rutherford A (2005) Artists on Science: Scientists on Art (Ed.). Nature 434: 293–293

  • Bullot NJ, Seeley WP, Davies S (2017) Art and science: a philosophical sketch of their historical complexity and codependence. J Aesthet Art Crit 75: 453–463

For extended reading on examples covered in the main text including Fibonacci series, Albrecht Dürer, David Goodsell, and D'Arcy Thompson:

  • Ricketts RM (1982) The biologic significance of the divine proportion and Fibonacci series. Am J Orthod 81: 351–370

  • Bartrum G, Grass G, Koerner JL, Kuhlemann U (2002) Albrecht Dürer and his legacy : the graphic work of a Renaissance artist. British Museum

  • Thompson DW (1942) On growth and form

  • Goodsell DS (2016) Atomic evidence: seeing the molecular basis of life

Further literature on digital and AI‐based art:

  • Wands B (2006) Art of the digital age. Thames & Hudson

  • Johnson GT, Autin L, Al‐Alusi M, Goodsell DS, Sanner MF, Olson AJ (2015) cellPACK: a virtual mesoscope to model and visualize structural systems biology. Nat Methods 12: 85–91

  • Coeckelbergh M (2017) Can machines create art? Philos Technol 30: 285–303

More literature on data visualization techniques:

  • Tufte ER (1990) Envisioning information. Graphics Press

  • Tufte ER (1997) Visual explanations: images and quantities, evidence and narrative. Graphics Press

  • Zastrow M (2015) Data visualization: Science on the map. Nature 519: 119–120

  • Frankel F, DePace AH (2012) Visual strategies: a practical guide to graphics for scientists and engineers. Yale University Press

More examples on incorporating art training in medicine:

  • Gurwin J, Revere KE, Niepold S, Bassett B, Mitchell R, Davidson S, DeLisser H, Binenbaum G (2018) A randomized controlled study of art observation training to improve medical student ophthalmology skills. Ophthalmology 125: 8–14

  • Scott PA (2000) The relationship between the arts and medicine. Med Humanit 26: 3–8

  • Stuckey HL, Nobel J (2010) The connection between art, healing, and public health: a review of current literature. Am J Public Health 100: 254–263


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