Week 1 \ two cultures \ Yu Hsiao

The idea that science and art is inseparable has always been with us all along. But even in UCLA today, the students and faculty members separate each other by north and south campus, where the north campus focuses on humanities and art studies while south campus focuses in the sciences. It is wrong to discern the two cultures because it is a duality where science and art coexist to make the world we know today. Nowadays, it’s obviously known to us why science is important. Without science, our knowledge of how things work cannot exist. Without functionality, our world simply can’t function. But people would ask the question, why is art important than? Why does beauty matter?
That’s a tough question to answer. It is human nature that makes us attracted to aesthetic things, and things of beauty. It is in our dispositions that we value gracefulness, and aesthetics. In modern day we can observe this phenomena in the media. Many pop singers are said to be known for their looks than their talent with singing. Those singer’s purpose from a scientific point of view, is to make music, and pleasing sounds through performing. But we see more emphasis on beauty, sex appeal, and etc. There are for sure, many well known Soprano singers in opera and choirs. They are known for their skillfulness in singing. But probably only a few of them will be signed to a contract with the record company, because the rest are too “ugly” to be promoted. It might seem unreasonable from a solely functional point of view, where if the singers fulfills his/her role at making a song graceful, then the singer has done her job. But in contemporary times, the emphasis of being beautiful physically has taken its place and now we can see the coexistence of the two in modern media.
This idea reminded me of the bicycle company, Trek. They are known for helping Lance Armstrong win seven Tour de France with their light weight, and aerodynamic carbon fiber bike.In an interview, the production liaison Scott Daubert emphasized that they look for stiffness, lightweight, aerodynamics, and lastly aesthetics in a bike. Normally, we would think that the bike only serves one purpose, that is to get Lance across the finish line first. To do that, the bike only has to satisfy the technical features such as weight, aerodynamics, and stiffness as mentioned above. But the liaison specifically said aesthetics was also a feature that they focus on. This shows that beauty matters, even on a bike. It is said to be a good intimidation factor. If the bike looks good, aggressive, and fast, then the opponents might think of that already before the race even starts.
Both science and art is important in this world. There is a duality, where you can’t have beauty without functionality, and you can’t have functionality without beauty. It’s the combination of both that makes a singer, a bike, a camera, a car, or anything, physically functional, and aesthetically pleasing.

http://www.artsjournal.com/aboutlastnight/2008/09/tt_does_beauty_matter.html

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