Week1_TwoCultures by Nikola Kondov

Ever since I was aware of the world around me, there was always a separation between arts and sciences. It seemed to me that it was hardly possible to combine the two as one. That, of course, couldn’t be more wrong. But, society has implied that the two matters are completely distinct from each other. For example, in my high school, my class was separated into two parts: one that studies arts extensively, and one that gives more accent to the sciences. It is no surprise then, that people from the first part of the class couldn’t even do basic math, whereas, I, who was in the other part, can’t even draw a circle. Then, I go to college, and the separation between the two seems even more obvious. Even the way people look differs. One could easily distinguish the South Campus majors from the North Campus ones.¬† And, like it was mentioned in Thursday’s lecture, hardly any accent is given to the “opposite” type of classes. So it is no surprise that the line is drawn between the arts and sciences. Yet again, there is always¬† science in the art, and there is always art in the science, although the latter is harder to notice. Think about the paint used in the paintings. Paint is consisted of various chemical compounds with different pigments. (I apologize if that statement isn’t exactly correct, but I have taken only one quarter of chemistry so far, and barely passed it with a C- =) ) So… it takes chemistry to create the colors you put into a work of art. “Well.. I don’t make the paint..”, one would say. And he or she may be right today. But, that was not always the case. Think about the pre-historic artists. Did they just get their paint from nature? Yes and no. Of course, they didn’t use the scientific methods that chemists use today to make the paint artists use. But they had to do something with the materials they get from nature. They used “red and yellow ochre, hematite, manganese oxide, and charcoal” (cited from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_painting). But, it’d be harder to stumble across manganese oxide that you could readily use as you walk around in the woods for example. So, the prehistoric artists had to derive these compounds from something else in order to have material with which he could draw. So, the prehistoric artist was also a prehistoric chemist. He had to know exactly what to do in order to have the materials needed. He had to know exactly what happens when he puts the raw material into the fire. That may not sound like science, but it is. Maybe a raw science, but still science. 800px-rock-painting-turtle

A cave painting of a turtle.

And there is the art in the science. While harder to notice, it is still in front of our eyes. Who hasn’t admired the beauty in the way some birds and insects look? Isn’t their coloration¬† a piece of art created by nature? Of course, this has more practical functions, but still it amazes me. Or the diatoms (small microscopical protists that have a cell wall made of glass).


A flatworm.


Diatoms (not looking like living organisms, but they are, and are keeping the whole ecosystem alive.. :) )

Volvox globator (obviously pregnant) from Youtube. ( cool video of another microorganism, people actually combined videos of it with music, but, I don’t know whether I should upload them here, but feel free to check it out).

So, as we can see, arts and science are one, we just have to look for the art in the science and the science in art.

by Nikola Kondov

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