Final Draft Significant Writing Paper

Carla Champagne

February 2018

Professor Emerson

English 110

Arts role in the sciences

I believe it is important to keep arts and sciences independent in their fields but combine them in an educational aspect. The sciences are revolved around the scientific process and facts. The scientific process is strict and well-accepted in the scientific community since it is the primary form of testing hypothesis and reaching conclusions. Art is reliant on the interpretation of creativity and expression. It is about what one person sees compared to what another person perceives. Science does not need nor would it benefit from the messiness of art and expression in the scientific process. However, arts should be used in an educational background aspect. I believe this would benefit both the arts and sciences by initiating creativity into a rather unimagative field. Scientific conclusions can be thought of the same way for each person, since they are facts rather than opinions. Arts however, brings in the idea that each person can interpret an art piece differently, the conclusions from art can be changed or perceived differently. With this being said, the arts and sciences are extreme opposites, and therefore they only benefit from each other in small portions. I believe these small portions include educating students of arts to provide them with creativity and new ways of thinking. This can be done by including arts into the STEM curriculum. An education in arts is beneficial to sciences because it helps invoke creativity. However, I do not believe this is not a strong enough reason to intermix the two opposites within the scientific process or to conclude that the sciences need the arts.

Initiating creativity is hard to do within the sciences. This is where providing a background of arts could be beneficial. It could give scientists and researchers ideas for new hypothesis and experiments. Therefore I believe that STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) instead of STEM, is a good idea for education to include. Arts could provide students with creativity and empathetic reasoning. As Yo-Yo Ma said in his essay “Necessary Edges: Arts, Empathy, and Education,”, “As important as that is [STEM], it is short-sighted. We need to add the empathetic reasoning of the arts to the mix”(258).  By providing students with a background in arts, it can influence them to maintain their creativity throughout higher education and hopefully later on in life. The sciences often lack creativity and could benefit from some new ideas. I believe some of these ideas could come from the arts.

Furthermore, the educational goal of STEAM instead of STEM may help provide students with a way to escape the intense atmosphere of the normal schooling environment. As Yo-Yo Ma said “Kids will go to school because it is a passion and a privilege, not a requirement” (259). I believe that arts can be beneficial in this way because it influences students to continue education and keep and open mind. I strongly believe that you can never have too much knowledge, therefore learning about arts will not hinder a students’ education in any way. Just give them skills for the future. This is important in an educational aspect because the goal of education is to create a path to the future. By teaching students about art from a young age, we can ingrain creativity into their thought processes and future careers.

By making students take a variety of courses, we can provide students with a wholesum view of their curriculum. In Jonah Lehrer’s essay, “The Future of Science… Is Art?,”, he describes this as a holistic perspective. He states, “Until science sees the brain from a more holistic perspective… our scientific theories will be detached from the way we see ourselves” (3). I think holistic perspective includes all topics of discussion, including arts. The messiness and flexible ideas that are included in art could benefit a student. By learning about the different perspectives art provides, they can see issues and ideas from a different perspective. This is why the liberal arts model for colleges are popular. Not only does it expose students to all different fields of study, it initiates innovation based on topics other than their major. For example, by taking courses on psychology and sociology, a student can better understand and comprehend the complexities of neuroscience. By introducing new ideas from other topics into students within science majors, they can tie these ideas back into the things they learn in science and bring new ideas into their minds.

Arts should be used in education by providing students with different and unique ways of learning. Since every student learns through different processes, arts can be used to better represent concepts. For example, many scientific conclusions are explained in a simpler fashion through diagrams and pictures. In chemistry, models of molecules and reactions can make a student better understand the overall process. This is because we have separate pathways for creativity and critical thinking. As Yo-Yo Ma states “when one is on, the other is off” (258). In order to fully learn about the sciences, arts can be used as a middle ground to understand complex processes better. However, sciences can only benefit from the arts in the form of initiating creativity or learning, not by making a better scientist or by improving the ideas or conclusions of science.

Although I believe the arts will benefit students in an educational perspective, I do not feel as though it should become part of the scientific process. I believe that the scientific process does not need editing. We have made millions of concrete conclusions through the process and will continue to do so. The process is not broken, so why try to fix it? Jonah Lehrer talks about how art influenced scientific conclusions when he mentions how the Bbohr model of electrons was inspired by a cubist world. “Bohr maintained that the form they took depended on how you looked at them” (1). I see this as intriguing because Bohrhe used his knowledge and love for art to come to the conclusion that electrons can be perceived differently depending on how you see them. However, I don’t believe that the conclusions he came to were fully credited by art. He used his background knowledge to come up with an idea that can be tested through the scientific process. The scientific process is still what made Bohr come to these conclusions. The scientific process is created as a non-biased way to hypothesize, test and conclude. Arts are all about biases. Everyone sees art from a different point of view. Although this is great for people to understand and appreciate, it does not have a place in the scientific process. It is about research, not opinions. The arts should provide sciences with creativity and knowledge, but not with conclusions found through the scientific method.

In the context of neurology research, the goal is to see the bigger picture. In “The Future of Science… Is Art?”, the author Jonah Lehrer talks about the “bridging principle” when he defines it as “the neural event that would explain how the activity of our brain cells creates the subjective experience of consciousness” (2). This is the idea of the bigger picture in neuroscience. He believes that by intermixing the arts with the sciences, we may find solutions to problems like these. However, I believe that softer sciences, such as psychology, align more with these goals. By learning about how the brain functions and by using the powers of the brain to learn more about the brain, it will be easier to see the bigger picture of the bridging principle. Neurology is defined more as the anatomy and physiology of the brain and how the chemicals interact within the it, whereas psychology focuses more on the complicated ways the brain works, functions and impacts the way people act. By combining these topics and a background of arts, the creativity and new ideas could be brought into neurology.

It is important to consider that some “bigger pictures” will never be seen. Some of the world’s problems will never be solved. Some of the scientific questions will never be answered. Although this is pessimistic, it is also the actuality. We can get closer to our highest potential of intelligence by providing student with knowledge of arts, even the disorganization, so they are able to formulate more holistic ideas and perspectives to test in the scientific process. The arts will provide students with a creative and holistic base that can be used in any field of knowledge.


Works Cited

Lehrer, Jonah. “The Future of Science is Art.” Seed Magazine, Accessed 16 March 2018.


Ma, Yo-Yo. “Necessary Edges: Arts, Empathy, and Education” Emerging: Contemporary

Readings For Writers. edited by Barclay Barrios. 3rd ed., Bedford/St. Martin, 2016, pp 257-261.