Extra Credit: Michael Century presentation, by Erick Romero

 

We closed our lectures series for this class with a session at the very modern and new California NanoSystem Institute Auditorium.  We started with some of the best Final Student Projects that didn’t get to present at our Tuesday lecture.  I was impressed by some of the projects presented at Tuesday and Thursday’s lectures.  I really liked the one that uses dance to explain some of the research and potential of stem cell research.  Forgive me, I forgot the girl’s name, it’s kind of late, but I really liked her dance movements and the idea behind it, it was very artistic.

After a short break we had a guest lecturer come over.  Michael Century gave a presentation on the history of interactions between science and art, what he called “Interdisciplinarity”, and how it has influenced and acted thought different phases of society.  One fact I found very interesting was the story about Galileo and his apprentice, who was focused on Art and not science as Galileo was.  I thought it was very odd that Galileo would have an apprentice who was an artist.  But this is what the point of this class has been, and one of Century’s main points: “interdisciplinarity”.  Science and Art have influenced each other for the longest time, and it is when they work together that some of the best discoveries and inventions come out.  Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the many examples of it, followed by many others.

Another interesting thing about Century’s lecture was the fact that periods of great discoveries and innovations come in ‘wave’ cycles.  These waves have a peak period, when the best inventions and discoveries have been made, and then a down period, when no major events happen, and sometimes these down periods have matched with depressions, economic difficulty, wars, and others.  As time has progressed and our technology gets better, the lapse between each wave has gotten shorter.  It looks like we are currently in a down period, due to the economy and terrorism worldwide, but these times are probably when someone is cooking up the next best invention, which might mean it’s not such a bad thing after all.

 

Wave Cycles of Innovation

Wave Cycles of Innovation

 

Century’s presentation served well as an ending act for the class.  He touched on topics that we had discussed during lectures.  The importance of collaboration between art and science is today more necessary than ever.  They complement each other, and inspire the other when necessary.  There is no really dominant party, although I have to admit I used to think Science dominated art.  But there are times when an artist will come with the driving idea of something new, and the scientists comes to make it happen.  And there are other times when an artist will inspire from a technological or scientific breakthrough, and use it to create art or make something esthetically better.  But the constant collaboration between them will always be better than if just one of them worked on something.

After Century’s presentation we went to have some refreshments on the fifth floor.  I have to say that this class opened my eyes to many ideas and concepts I wouldn’t have known other way.  Being an engineering major, we don’t really have much exposure to art and philosophical concepts, so I was glad that I decided to take this class.  I really enjoyed it, and learned more than I thought.

By Erick Romero.

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