In ending this class, Michael Century attended our final lecture as he provided his insight on art, science, technology, and how the world has combined and segregated them. I felt as if his lecture ended the class on a similar note to the one that began the class ten weeks ago. He discussed the combining of art, science, and technology over the years, pointing out periods of time in which they were greatly used simultaneously to achieve great things. Additionally, Century talked about the times when the aforementioned fields were used separately, which corresponds to times in history that were not so successful. Thus came his most fascinating point, in my opinion: economist Joseph Schumpeter’s wave acceleration.

Schumpeters Wave Acceleration Graph.

Schumpeter's Wave Acceleration Graph.


I found it interesting that a wave function, which is used to describe the ups and downs of a capitalistic economy, can also be used to represent the pace of innovation over time. Beginning in 1785 with water works, textiles, and iron, Schumpeter has created this wave function that includes five peaks and five valleys between then and ending in 2020. Each peak corresponds to a time of rapid innovation while each valley translates into a period of slow innovation. As he analyzed the graph, Century pointed out that the peaks of the wave function occur during times in which art and science come together to further our innovations, which many times includes technology. Through this, it can be seen that, as a human society, we are far more productive when we refuse to segregate art and science into two completely separate fields of study but instead mesh the two in order to create a masterfully innovative world. This also means that the unwritten “Law of Moderation,” also holds true in the case of art and science. That is to say, we are far more productive when we have some art and some science as opposed to separating the two into two different worlds, each of which contains only an abundance of art or an abundance of science, not both.

An example of the Law of Moderation in terms of food.

An example of the "Law of Moderation" in terms of food.


Overall, I think that this lecture was very informative in regards to summing up the intent of this class. This class was especially relevant to us here at UCLA as was commented in Week 1 by Professor Vesna. Michael Century articulated the point about how art and science never interacted but over time, people began to utilize the two together in order to accomplish common goals. He labeled the future as a question mark since we will have to wait and see whether or not humans will once again segregate art and science, such as in the case of UCLA’s north and south campuses. All in all, Century’s lecture and this class opened my eyes a little to see how we cannot separate art and science while still expecting to progress forward with our innovations. The two areas work too well together to separate them; whether society wants to admit it or not, art needs science, and science needs art. It is just another rule of nature that ultimately cannot be broken.

- Travis Johnson

Comments are closed.