If you were to wind up your time travel machine and go back 14 years to see the 5 year old me, there are 2 things I could guarantee.
- I would be in my cargo pants singing along to Reach, S Club 7, for the zillionth time that day, dance moves included.
- I would answer the question of ‘what do you want be when you grow up’ with ‘A film director’.
While not everything has changed since those golden days (my flatmates will begrudgingly confirm that I have regular S Club discos in my room.), my plans for a future career have rapidly altered. I have now completed my first year of neuroscience at KCL. Science was the safer, job guaranteed, option, which was a big persuader in the toss up between whether to study neuroscience or film. Throughout school, a lot of weight is placed on academia and making the decisions that will get you a big bucks job. This leads to a lot of creative sparks being snuffed out. Creative hobbies are left on the wayside and you can only reminisce over the halcyon days of free time. Though I have tried to stay involved in film-making, my efforts, and opportunities, have been somewhat shabby. And I’m starting to resent this.
If Scientists were encouraged to harbour a creative pastime, the symbiotic relationship between the two subjects could lead to some really jaw dropping work.
To misquote Voltaire, with great knowledge, comes great art. Artist Jeff Koons relies on the laws of chemistry and physics to keep a basketball suspended in water for his piece ‘One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank’. It is the gradient between two differently weighted waters that allows this illusion. The power this piece has over the room is immense. While visiting the exhibition in New York last year I heard mutters of astonishment from everyone- from the OAP admiring the piece from her wheel chair, to the 5 year old boy desperate to smear his sticky thumbs all over the glass case. The Holy Matrimony between Science and Art is a beautiful one.
Even the Victorians set out to prove the powerful fusion between Science and Arts. Alice and Wonderland cemented Lewis Carroll as a household name, but he was far more than a sensational and surreal author. He taught mathematics for 26 years at the University of Oxford and logic is infused throughout his work. Critics also suggest that Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species heavily influenced some of the quirks of Carroll’s novel. Without his scientific background, Carroll may not have reached such an innovative narrative.
In addition, (although I’m sure you’re already sold by the concept) the Arts provide Scientists with a method of escapism while also developing their curiosity and creativity. Creativity is often hailed as the tool of Artists alone, but I disagree. It is creativity that leads Scientists to ask the all-important questions and subsequently pursue the answers.
So budding scientists, don’t give your pastels away to Oxfam, keep your film camera out of the attic and get making. Lets show these art students what a Scientist can really do! I’ll give the final words to some likely lads who you might want to listen to…
By Bella Spencer