For many years, we distinguished and built a wall between art and science. It felt like they were two opposite things from different worlds. One was the world of creativity, expressionism, and imagination while the other was the world of numbers, experiments, and knowledge. This shows we sometimes forget humanity’s history and the legends in it such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Samuel Morse, Anna Atkins, and many more. They showed the beauty of natural sciences in sketches and paintings while contributing to their scientific fields in many ways.
Whether it is a painting inspired by science or made by science, or a scientific work that gained an outside perspective with art, we see wonders in their intersection.
We can find new branches of art by using science. For instance, when the first photograph was taken in the 1800’s, it began the history of art photography. Many years later, we will see novel ways of expressing emotions through art with the help of science.
For science, art is a great way to understand concepts for better education, while also increasing the visibility of research. This way, scientists can demonstrate the value of their work. Scientist’s are always in need of research funds; if the research becomes more visible to the public, the support needed may come from companies interested in supporting scientific explorations.
Art even facilitates the scientific process. Drawing is a great way to understand the structure of animals, machines, and small living things such as bacteria and archaea.
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Here are amazing artists and scientists who walked the path of innovation and collaboration.
Art Science Museum – Singapore
This museum holds exhibitions related to the world’s biggest artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, and Vincent Van Gogh. Furthermore, it explores scientific topics such as marine biology, particle physics, and big data. A magnificent addition is that visitors can engage with the artefacts through interactive installation space. Visitors can even compose their own music where actions define the notes.
Marie Griesmar is a Swiss artist and science communicator. Her interest in marine biology and scuba diving led to her wonderful exhibitions that revolve around underwater life. She is dedicated to the preservation of coral reefs and marine organisms. Her recently launched organisation, rrreefs, rebuilds the structure of coral reefs by using 3D printing. The surface of the structure allows baby corals to grow and increases the genetic variability too.
In Beneath The Red Sea, Griesmar designs sculptures that are inspired by her observations from underwater life. By specifically choosing clay to create her structures, the forms provide natural protective spaces where marine organisms can live. Her artificial reef is a great example of the intersection of art and science.
Glass Microbiology– Luke Jerram
Luke Jerram’s Glass Microbiology artworks are exhibited in many museums around the world, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art. His sculpture of Covid-19 was used by many news agencies to communicate the nature of coronavirus. Moreover, his artworks are respected by the scientific community so much that it was the cover of Nature Magazine, one of the most important scientific journals. His work is a great example of how we can use art to increase the comprehension of science.
Dorsal view of bones and scales (blue) and lymphatic vessels (orange) in a juvenile zebrafish – Daniel Castranova
As a result of his passion for marine life and biology, Daniel Castranova discovered microscopy. After his master’s degree, Mr Castranova was working in Dr. Brant Weinstein’s lab, caring for and managing the husbandry of the zebrafish. In the lab, they study the vascular development of zebrafish and the networks of vessels that carry blood. When Mr Castranova began assisting in taking the photos of the fish, the image was so beautiful, it won the 2020 Photomicrography Competition.
Snapshots of the influenza life cycle – David Goodsell
David S. Goodsell is an associate professor at the Scripps Research Institute and a research professor at Rutgers University, New Jersey. He is a structural biologist who paints watercolors of the studies he conducts. As a scientific illustrator, Mr Goodsell has appeared in many journals, including Science and Cell, showcasing his paintings which are simplified versions of the topics yet are still accurate. We can see his illustrations in textbooks, publications, and journal cover art. These colourful paintings make us forget the deadliness of the viruses he draws.
Sun Drawing Elements – Janet Saad-Cook
Janet Saad-Cook’s art lies at the intersection of light and space and time. She invented novel ways to create art by fusing time, sunlight, reflection, and motion which made her a pioneer in multidisciplinary art. By combining ancient sun marking techniques with our recent technology, she creates Sun Drawings – solar sculptures that give us a glimpse of the vast universe. Mrs Saad-Cook uses pure wavelengths of light coming from the sun. She also has papers presented at many scientific institutions such as MIT and The Royal Institution of Great Britain.