Week 1: Mixing Science and Art; Jasmine Huynh

Let me start out by saying that I am not really an art person. Sure, I like to look at art from time to time, but I think traditional art’s true beauty is lost on me. I am a biology major, and the majority of my time is spent either calculating physics problems, memorizing biological terms or drawing out reaction mechanisms for chemistry. I don’t like the uncertainty of art; it annoys me how one piece can be interpreted in so many ways. I like having one definite “right” answer, and often grow frustrated in non-science classes because one question seems to have a million answers. This is one of the reasons why I decided to enroll for Desma9: the class description of how science and art could be linked simply intrigued me. I have always held the two as completely separate entities. One can either be involved in science or one can be involved in both. Mixing the two is a completely foregin concept to me.

I really enjoyed Snow’s article entitled “The Two Cultures.” I strongly agree that there is a divide between the scientific and artistic cultures; in fact, I am living proof that such opinions do exist. In discussing the two cultures, Snow accurately states, “Between the two a gulf of mutual incomprehension–sometimes (particularly among the young) hostility and dislike, but most of all a lack of understanding.”  There is great evidence for this right here on the UCLA campus. Being a South Campus major myself, I must admit that I don’t truly understand North Campus students. I view them as lucky students who only have one round of midterms per quarter and have copious amounts of free time. However, there’s no doubt that my view is just a stereotype because I don’t really know what North Campus students face. Just because they don’t have to spend hours upon hours in a Life Science lab doesn’t mean that they don’t share the same desire to make a new discovery or perfect a new skill. I think the biggest cause for the division between art and science is exactly what Snow mentioned:  the unknown. Because we are unaware of what occurs in the other realm, we are quick to make judgements and conclude that there is no chance for a connection.

The readings for the first week really helped to open my eyes to a new type of thinking. It helped me to understand that a connection between these two cultures, the artistic and scientific, really does exist. As I was reading the articles, a great example that shows a fusion between the two cultures came to mind. Apple computers has made a fortune with their innovative products, ranging from the iPod to the Macbook. These products are beautiful to both artists and scientists alike. Take the iPhone for example. Artists can rave about the aestethics of the product: the sleek finish, the thinness of the phone, and the simplicity. Scientists are fascinated by aspects such as its capacity for data storage and the mechanisms that allow it to function as a touch screen phone. The Apple iPhone is proof that a happy medium really can exist between the two cultures.


(above: the Apple iPhone)

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