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Artisits And Scientists Essay, Research Paper

Popular stereotypes frequently present the scientist and the

artist as extreme opposites in theirpursuit of understanding- the scientist as

being objective, disciplined and rational, and artist as being subjective,

impulsive and imaginative. Yet are they really so different in the ways they

look at the world? To what extent do you consider these stereotypes accurate,

and to what extent do you consider them distortions of the ways in which the

sciences and the arts give us their knowledge?

Living in this world, we have many opportunities to appreciate both fields of

science andart. This includes various activities like exhibitions or, in

science, we are also notice its usefulness from the fact that many synthesized

fibres are made into our clothes and so on. Further, we are clearly aware that

within these fields there are experts; scientists and artists. In an effort to

know what they both work on and what they are we have created stereotypes, which

remain persistentlyon our mind and sometimes are extremely useful for us to

categorize things . On the other hand, it could create problems since it

has the potential of conjuring up some wrong ideas on them and thus, prevent us

from seeing what they truly are. And within the stereotype, the scientists and

artists aredescribed as polar opposites. Stereotype, though, really depends on

how you define the word and how it is categorized. Then, to what extent does

this stereotype work and what is wrong about it?

Science is a field of knowledge, which tries to explain the natural phenomena

occurring on the earth, and look for the laws of nature. Scientists can carry

out investigations (what is called the empirical method) in order to broaden the

area and explore for better reasons to explain. From this definition, it is

convincing that scientists should be objective, disciplined and rational. What

they are doing does not need their values as human beings (necessarily), but

their intellects to execute the task. In fact, in experimental science, when a

scientist finds himself with a set of results, he must be so. Being rational and

disciplined helps him to find out the laws by making him think in an ordered

manner, in a logical way, and when needed, this rationality is vital for him to

link the new data together with his obtained knowledge to establish a new theory

or to decode what is implied in the data. Objectivity also is an indispensable

point. It is essential to find bias-free theories and to carefully observe the

truth, which is out there . So, we assume that well-known

facts which we learn in school were all found by rational and objective

scientists, but it often happens that it is not the case.

First of all, what is scientific objectivity? Does such a thing really exist?

Let s have a look at an example. In physics, we firstly learn that light behaves

as a wave. When we imagine it, we tend to have an image of transverse wave of

short wavelength emitted on us from the light on the ceiling. But, later, when

we learn that light also behaves as particle, we say Hang on. How can it

be both a wave and a particle? But that is it; in 1905, Albert Einstein

proposed that light could also exist in the form of a particle, a small piece of

electron called a photon. Until then, for over two hundred years light had been

experimentally proven to be a wave. When Bohr boldly stated in his 1926 theory

of complementarity that light could be both a wave and a particle. Knowledge of

both these very different aspects was necessary for a complete description of

light; choosing one without the other was inadequate. From then,

scientific subjectivity was introduced. Whenever a scientist set up

an experiment to measure the wavelike aspect of light, the subjective act of

deciding whichmeasuring device to use in some mysterious way affected the

outcome, and light responded by acting as a wave and vice versa.

An other situation when scientists are not really being objective is when

they are so certain of their theory that they try to make the obtained results

fit to their theory. When this happens we can see that scientists are not trying

to discover the laws of nature from the data as we think. The opposite way

around. A good example might be Mendel s green pea experiment. In this effort,

he looked for seven different alleles and observed it for 15 years (!). After

this long period of time, he successfully found the famous laws on

genetics including the principle of segregation and so on. But biological

experiments often have more difficulties than physics or chemistry also due to

the fact that the object being tested are alive and it cannot be in a universal

way during all the investigation continues. They are less mechanical than

chemicals, which we use in chemistry, or electrical circuits in physics. We know

that biology experiment do not always work. Variables cannot be controlled and

the modern biologists expect a percentage of exceptions . Therefore, he

must have selected relevant data only to show that his theory works universally.

This, too, cannot be said as being objective- rather, he sort of knew what

should happen and manipulated the results to have the exact number as in the

ratios, which are stated in his laws.

But both revolutionary art and visionary physics are investigations into the

nature of reality, both experts sharing the desire to investigate the ways in

the interlocking pieces of reality fit together. In fact, great scientists have

always relied on intuition and imagination. That is why new ideas sprung from

looking at old facts in a new way. This means that there is no way to look at

facts objectively- in a new way- because there is only one objective way .

Total objectivity must be something sterile and uncreative (thus not

stimulating!). We saw that science was not absolutelyobjective as we thought.

Then can the same thing be referred to stereotype of artist as well? What

exactly makes us to have the impression of artists as impulsive, imaginative and


Yet, scientists are concerned with the external world whereas the artists are

not only concerned with external reality but with inner realm of emotions,

myths, dreams and the spirit as well. There they need to be imaginative and

subjective. Still, within their work of art, artists coincidentally or not

conjure up images and metaphors that are strikingly appropriate when

superimposed upon the conceptual framework of the physicists later

revisions of our ideas about physical reality. So, not only artists need

imagination but scientists, too! Objective world exists untouched,

but we can see it only through the filter of each person s temperament-

perception. Then we are using our imagination continually to understand

everything in this world. So, then, even if we talk about such a thing as

objectivity it cannot exist.

In researching this question I came across the work of ____who tries to show

how both artists and physicists are similar in the ways of discovering the new

facts and thinking the world. I found this line of argument very convincing.

Within the conventions of any period, artists can choose both their subject and

the manner in which they depict their subject; their particular interpretations

embrace the ways they see the world. Many art historians mark the point where

Manet exhibited his large composition Luncheon on the grass in 1863

as the beginning of modern art. This painting had no logical consistency. This

was only the beginning of everything, though. He went onintroducing his own

techniques as if he were challenging the old tradition. Yet, the most important

work that he did and to be introduced here is the fact that he was the first

artist in Western history to curve the hallowed horizon line. The horizon we see

appears straight but in fact, we know that it is curved (since the earth is not

only a flat surface). Each visible straight segment is an exceedingly small arc

of a circle twenty-four thousand miles in circumference. Manet knew that the

flat space of Euclidean appearance had to be reviewed. At that time,

mathematicians felt, too, that it was the time to review Euclidean mathematics

because non-Euclidean mathematics is more of an importance to us as we live in

the three-dimension world. Then, there came Monet. In 1891 he began to paint the

same scene repeatedly viewed from the identical position in space, but at

different times of day.He drew the entrance of the cathedral in Rouen in forty

separate works because he had seized upon a great truth about time that an

object must have duration besides three extensions in space; thus

theintroduction of four-dimensions in art. Clearly, any real thing must have

extension in four directions: length, breadth, thickness and duration. Later, in

his water lilies painting series, he has blurred all the possible lines

and made the distinction between things (e.g. between water lilies and water,

and the reflection in itself) difficult. In fact, it is so diffuse that it could

accidentally be hung upside down. This was the challenge to the veracity of

Euclid s vectors which consisted of plain words like top , bottom

, right and left . Monet s concern for the fourth dimension

was somewhat similar to those investigated by physicists and mathematicians of

later times. Paul C?zanne, instead, wanted to investigate the relationship of

space, light and matter. So, this time, he made an opposite approachfrom that of

Monet, finding it by eliminating the variable of time. (It sounds like a

scientific experiment where we keep variables and change one at a time!) In

previous times, when expressing light, artists always had it travelling in the

straightest lines. Instead, his form exists in a universal light in the sense of

directed rays from a single source. Light which is uniform and enduring, steady,

strong and clear. Cezanne challenged Western culture s assumptions regarding the

nature of light by eliminating the angle of declination that had prevailed in

previous arts. In doing so, he also called into question the assumptions about

the other two constructs, space and time. This idea, indeed, fitin exactly with

the new conceptions of space, time and light that were to be elaborated by a

physicist in the early years of the twentieth century.

Looking through these facts, the surprising thing is that in order to have

new knowledge, we should look at the world in different way than before and to

do this, both artists and scientists actually need to be imaginative. That is

why revolutionary artists like the three mentioned above and revolutionary

physicists managed to investigate so far as we know. Further, the fact that

revolutionary artists had these ideas before anyone else tells us that if

anything new is to be discovered, then it could be no one but them. Therefore,

we see that the widely prevailing stereotypes prevent us from seeing what

exactly scientists and artists are like. Although to some extent the stereotype

may be even helpful to categorize them and especially living through our daily

life, it could also provide us the danger of not seeing the true aspects of

these two types of people.

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