The Art of Science: “Science is an inherent contradiction — systematic wonder — applied to the natural world.

The Art of Science: “Science is an inherent contradiction — systematic wonder — applied to the natural world. In its mundane form, the methodical instinct prevails and the result, an orderly procession of papers, advances the perimeter of knowledge, step by laborious step. Great scientific minds partake of that daily discipline and can also suspend it, yielding to the sheer love of allowing the mental engine to spin free. And then Einstein imagines himself riding a light beam, Kekule formulates the structure of benzene in a dream, and Fleming’s eye travels past the annoying mold on his glassware to the clear ring surrounding it — a lucid halo in a dish otherwise opaque with bacteria — and penicillin is born . Who knows how many scientific revolutions have been missed because their potential inaugurators disregarded the whimsical, the incidental, the inconvenient inside the laboratory?”

Excerpt: A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon.


Do You want to Live in the Overlap?

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72 Responses to The Art of Science: “Science is an inherent contradiction — systematic wonder — applied to the natural world.

  1. Very interesting Rajini Rao

  2. The overlap is the place to be! 🙂

  3. Rajini Rao says:

    I agree! Art enhances science, and science can give art direction 🙂

  4. Liz Krane says:

    Every discipline has a bit of both. ^_^

  5. The term most often spoken upon discovery is not an exclamation of “eureka” but rather “that’s funny…”

  6. Dave Whipp says:

    For those who would live in the overlap, may I suggest … engineering!

  7. Buddhism is a perfect way to live in the overlap! 🙂

  8. Rajini Rao says:

    Engineering = Art + Technology, thank you for the thought, Dave Whipp !

  9. Sabin Iacob says:

    … if you can bridge the gap between theoreticians and engineers, that is

    P.S. the overlap would be art + science, technology is the output of engineering in the first place 😉

  10. Everyone should read Lewis Thomas – he is the scientist-poet and always inspires me.

  11. Rajini Rao says:

    “It is the very strangeness of nature that makes science engrossing. That ought to be at the center of science teaching. There are more than seven-times-seven types of ambiguity in science, awaiting analysis. The poetry of Wallace Stevens is crystal-clear alongside the genetic code.”

    — Lewis Thomas

    In Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony(1984), 209.

  12. Chad Haney says:

    Where are the engineers and mathematicians? The Union is where it’s at! If I remember right, the coffee shop and pizza place back in college was in a place called The Union.

  13. linda colman says:

    In the overlap: Blaise Pascal (mathematics), Mikhail Lomonosov (scientist, poet) Wolfgang von Goethe (color theory), Anton Chekhov (medicine), Abraham Verghese (medicine) – all writers. In the visual art overlap: Escher, of course.

  14. Be like still water , and soon – you will see it is all full of wonder.

  15. Rajini Rao says:

    Feisal Kamil , I might make the list for attitude but not quite in accomplishment..but thank you! 🙂

  16. RJ Matlock says:

    It used be called the medical arts, health care now is about “plans” and choosing some random M.D….most of which have very little time or energy for “bedside manner”!!

  17. Rajini Rao says:

    RJ Matlock , my medical school still has the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine. It is over 100 years old and trains Master’s students in medical illustration. These students take anatomy lessons and work closely with medical and research scientists to promote visual communication of science. It is quite an unusual program!

  18. Chad Haney says:

    Rajini Rao one of the paleontologist that I sometimes do some imaging for has a paleoartist. She teaches her art as well.

  19. Tom Lee says:

    Overlapping between research and teaching disciplines is a necessity. Stanford University and its current university president are moving towards actively promoting interdiscipline between university departments. For instance, school of medicine, engineering, computer science… are working together to improve their overall value and results to their researches. I think this direction would be a good model for all higher learning institutions.

  20. You know, you are truly the best thing on Google Plus. Thank you ma’am

  21. Deeksha Tare says:

    A beautiful post indeed Rajini Rao

  22. NIce illustration and interesting ideas.

    What do you think about this one Rajini Rao : Art Market = Art + Curves 😉

  23. Rajini Rao says:

    Sales curves, Benoit Spacher ? What sort of curves are associated with Markets 🙂 Unless you mean female curves, lol.

  24. Art to become a legitimate art category requires results (sales). Without this legitimity, it remains a collectible and not an art. Mathematic science offers models to estimate art potential and according to this post illustration, art market is a wonder.

  25. Rajini Rao says:

    A very neat little insight into the world of art markets, thanks, Benoit Spacher !

  26. Rajini Rao says:

    Banksy’s art is where everyone can see it. Would that be an exception?

  27. Rajini Rao says:

    Feisal Kamil The illegitimacy increases the (street) value, no doubt 🙂

  28. Chad Haney says:

    Did you guys read about David Choe, the graffiti artist that did a mural for Facebook? He took some stock instead of cash and is now a millionaire. He said he wishes all the attention would go away and wishes he would have taken all cash.

  29. Chad Haney says:

    I think so but certainly not the ~$2mil he has now.

  30. Feisal Kamil nice idea development, but Street Art is since 1990 part of premium auctions. I had once the pleasure to see Anime Art for some of my mandatories attached with Street Art in the same catalog and there are lots of similar points. Fact is that both art started with a mass audience media, giving the opinion that such art is free, but, fact is that premium auction houses bringed to such art streams their legitimity. About illegitimacy, Rajini Rao is fully right, there are artists that remain creative without focusing on income and some other that turn to commercial, this commercial aspect for Street Art long term is a programmed suicide of the artist quotation. Chad Haney gives another good point about actual value, back to the science itself, this is acrylic paint drops on concrete, worth less than $100. What makes it art, maybe the fact that from the very beginning of humanity, painting on wall echoes with caves paintings masterpieces.

  31. I do not see any formulae venturing inside where ‘wonder’is prevailing!

  32. Rajini Rao says:

    R Prakash Prakash , neither the arty patterns nor science formulae are within the looks like an image of a galaxy, which indeed represents both the science of astrophysics and the art of rendering the spectral data into a visual image.

  33. I intend to highlight only two terms in my comment. Formulae and wonder. I meant to state the science need to consider areas to be wondered before trying to measure them with formulae. There is a challange if you see.

  34. Rajini Rao says:

    I took your comment literally. I see that you are being philosophical. Why do you think that science does not consider areas of wonder first? That is after all, the rationale why a scientist begins to experiment in the first place. If there was no wonder, why would we seek to study the stars or the brain? Can you explain this challenge, I’m trying to understand.

  35. Shyam Dhuri says:

    science+arts= wonder

  36. Rajini Rao Maam. I was suffering from malarial fever for 15days with medicine being given. Obviously doctor didn’t have much to help except kind words. It was in late eighties and i was in vizag. That afternoon I was alone in my room with fever. If i closed my eyes i saw faces of demons. I was physically waving my hands to fight them away. I suddenly realized what was happening to me. Now I will keep to myself what happened in a few minutes. I was suddenly relieved of pain and fever. I stood up and looked at my face in the mirror. I knew I was cured. There was nobody in the room. So no one can claim credit. That evening I went to the doctor. The nurse who had given me ice packing was all smiles to announce that the temperature was normal. Doctor couldn’t say anything. But the question remains with me. Can you Pl tell me what could have happened? I kept this incident to myself for the fear of people getting mislead to some dogma or other. But fortunately with G+ I have liberal thinking people like you, who can analyse in actual terms and give some information.

  37. Rajini Rao says:

    J Huntemann , superb, thanks! These deserve a post of their own, don’t you think? 🙂

  38. Rajini Rao says:

    I’m struggling to curate just a mere handful right now, lol!

  39. Rajini Rao says:

    Should be out in a few minutes 🙂 Then, heaven willing, I can get some work done 😛

  40. Rajini Rao Feisal Kamil Do you consider or not?

  41. J Huntemann says:

    Rajini Rao

    Life is an experiment. Experiments are my life.

    “superb, thanks! These deserve a post of their own, don’t you think? :)”

    You are better qualified you post….


  42. Rajini Rao says:

    Just did, J Huntemann ! Many, many thanks for spreading the wonder of math and art. I could not tag you properly on my post, the link refused to come up by autofill (so it is not clickable). Anyone know how I can call a name up on a tag using the G+ ID or something?

  43. J Huntemann says:

    That is OK about the tag. Enjoy

  44. Chad Haney says:

    Rajini Rao I had that happen the other day. I could tag one person in the thread but not another. The weird thing is that the person I couldn’t tag, I had already tagged in a previous comment in the thread.

  45. How many scientists are here?

  46. Rajini Rao says:

    Chad Haney , I can tag a person easily if they’ve appeared in the same comment stream, but on a different post, it may just not work. There must be an alternative way other than that autofill feature.

  47. Rajini Rao says:

    R Prakash Prakash , check out Fraser Cain ‘s science circle if you are interested.

  48. Chad Haney says:

    Rajini Rao that’s what was so weird and frustrating, in my case it was all in the same thread.

  49. John Kellden says:

    Excellent post Rajini Rao . There can never be too many Venn Diagrams.

  50. DaFreak says:

    Damn right I want to live there! Reminds me a bit of the imaginary foundation and Silva’s work; |

    For anyone interested, the overlap is a shot of a part of the Carina Nebula,

    Which happens to be, imo, one of the most beautiful pieces of space we have so far encountered… right after my all time favorite, the Eagle Nebula… Thanks for the inspiration for my next post. 😉

  51. you, are so correct. they, are actually very closely related. 

  52. Rajini Rao This post has been alive for almost 4 remarkable years!!! Congratulations. And I think I have a sort of answer to my question that pestered me – 

  53. Rajini Rao says:

    A nice surprise R Prakash Prakash! I’m checking notifications while at a conference in LA and will check out your link soon. Cheers!

  54. Deeksha Tare says:

    We have a small blog on Quora on similar lines.

  55. Deeksha Tare I absolutely loved your poetry. Simply superb!! I am going to copy paste it in my stream for my friends, tagging you. Hope you won’t mind.

  56. Deeksha Tare says:

    Thank you. I don’t mind as long as you link to the original blog. 🙂

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