Artists and Scientists

I earned a graduate degree from an art school, seemingly a far cry from the College of Ag Sciences.  But there are similarities at a fundamental level.  Those similarities occurred to me when I saw this lab door in the Entomology Department --- a picture of a woman with an insect in her mouth.  And all those Far Side cartoons by Gary Larson that seem to be stuck up in every lab on campus.  It can't be a coincidence can it?  Far Side comics are so endemic that they affect the scientific community as they did with the naming of the Thagomizer.

If you've wandered the halls, labs, and offices in the college as long as I have you see patterns, one of which is the recurring appearance of posters, cartoons, and comics that wrestle with humorous or absurd ideas relating to science and scientists.  In art school I saw the same patterns in the offices and studios of faculty and graduate students alike.  And I believe those similarities are rooted in some common personality traits.  Curiosity, inquisitiveness, obsession, passion, a desire to know the truth being a few.  Artists and scientists engage in similar actions albeit in much different environments and with very different intent.  But they both are stubborn pursuers of their own interests -- art or science.

I spoke with a retired scientist on Friday at an art opening.  She had paintings on display and when I asked her about it she told me she had an accident that had a profound effect on her brain, the left side, the analytical side.  She was no longer able to perform the calculations necessary to embrace a pursuit of science.  But that fundamental curiosity would not stop and the right side of the brain embraced a different creative path.  Anyone with a creative spirit interested in science might want to look at opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate level in Ag Sciences.

Maybe artists and scientists are more kindred than either care to admit.  Either way they both engage creative spirit to accomplish their goals.


irondad said…
An art degree? I never knew, but it's obvious now that I look back on your photos!

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