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Dan_Lyons's avatar

Is science an art? Is art also science?

Asked by Dan_Lyons (5371 points ) April 3rd, 2014

It’s been said that science is observation, hypotheses, theories and whatnot. But is it not an art to perform science well?

And is art not itself also a science. Say you are a sculptor chiseling marble. You take years of painstaking study and practice, observing and experimenting, until one day out pops a David or a Pieta.

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8 Answers

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Welcome to the collective. True, there is an art to science, and there is usually a science to art. In your example, “out pops a David or Pieta.” There are usually many more pieces of marble that started out to be the sculptures.

I;m a musician, and I know very well how the interaction of certain frequencies produces chords, and to a certain extent, I know why certain sounds “sound” pleasing to the ear, or not. I also know there is a science and art to building instruments. I also know that after 400 years, science and art combined have still not been able to reproduce a Stradivarius violin (my best guess is the glue!)

Cruiser's avatar

I do ceramics and almost everystep of the pottery making process requires exacting science. You have to combine precise combinations of Silica, Alumina, Feldspars (silica oxide and Monomirellite), sometimes Iron Oxide, kaolinite and other minerals. Your choice and percentage of each ingredient will depend on the type of pottery you want to make and the method of firing. Each of these combos will require a specific clay body. Then once the pot is thrown and dried you will have to heat the pot to a very exact temperature that will initiate very precise chemical reactions between the ingredients in the clay body that when properly cooled will form new crystalline structures that will constitute the ceramic piece. Now much more chemistry is involved in selecting the salts and minerals you need to make once of many thousands of different glazes and these glaze mixtures all will react at specific temperatures. Screw up on any one of the ingredients in the whole process and you can have a kiln disaster or a fabulous surprise. So shaping and making the pot is the art part and so is choices made in the selection of the clay body and glaze. It is the making of the clay and glazes and firing these two is where the science play a huge role in ceramics art.

johnpowell's avatar

I write computer code all day. There is really ugly code that works. There is also pretty code that is simple and readable. Making the latter is art in my eyes.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Science is most certainly an art.

Purists claim that true art cannot perform any function other than be a pleasure to the senses.

When I look at the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird or the Jaguar E type I have to disagree.

Afos22's avatar

Science is not an art. But art is a science.

rojo's avatar

If it is done right, yes, science is an art form.

cazzie's avatar

I don’t give ‘Great Question’ lightly. I gave this a GQ!

My boyfriend is physicist and he teaches at a University as well as has a lab where he works studying lightning. If capturing the essence of lightning isn’t an art-form, I don’t know what is. Also, teaching science is most definitely a craft if not an art-form when done well. I’ve written science articles and have been a lay-scientist for as long as I can remember, probably after looking at pond scum as a child. Science is most certainly a form of art. In my world, it is hard to see where art ends and science begins and vice versa.

http://www.nikonsmallworld.com/galleries/photo/2013-photomicrography-competition
http://www.rmg.co.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/astronomy-photographer-of-the-year
http://www.wallsforpc.com/wallpaper/art-science-museum-valencia-3/

Photography and architecture are two good examples of science as art and art as science.

Cruiser's avatar

I have to take another stab at this. Speaking specifically to science…I do believe that any subject matter that a person can immerse themselves into and express themselves by playing with the moving parts….reshape them into something new and different is an artist. Whether that be clay, biological materials, quantum physics, math, digital anything etc. anyone messing around in them can produce novel and often beautiful results. And if these results pass peer review and get published you then have a masterpiece.

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