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Science and Art: A contemporary saga.

In the country where I'm from, the sciences are promoted and commercialized to a great extent. Some parents force their children to take up science as a subject after their high school is over. It has been an age-old saying that pursuing any field under science means that you have the brains. Many influencers make content about how arts is not a commercial field, which I think is an irony in itself. Considering how making videos and posting them to a platform can also come under expressing oneself. It is a form of contemporary expression of art. Arts has been a neglected field because of the idea that drawing, dance and other forms of art are secondary forms of knowledge. In various English medium schools across South Asia, fine arts and other forms of arts are a part of the curriculum but they are given less importance and less time. People who want to pursue a career in these fields are told that artistic abilities suit better as hobbies, as they cannot offer better career opportunities than science.

I do not mean to say that one field is above another, but the deprivation of arts has led to people neglecting their roots. I have learned two languages alongside English, i.e. Sanskrit, and Gujarati which are close to me because they connect me to my roots. While learning English has its own benefits, learning about languages and literature that connect you to your roots help you in understanding  arts in a better manner. You can enjoy literature, folk songs, folk tales, drama, dance, spiritual texts, religious texts and so many things which you would have otherwise missed out on. Many people avoid conversing in their mother tongue for a plethora of reasons, one of them being that they are ashamed of their roots. While some people love to embrace their cultural diversity. They embrace every form of literature, whether it's a part of their diasporic identity or the literature that belongs to the West.

Along with the deprivation of arts, the rise of science has taken place. It has made a new subfield come to the forefront. Artificial intelligence and its wonders are not new to the techno-savvy generation. But, I'm here to talk about how artificial intelligence is affecting the imagination of young writers.

Poetry is said to be emerging from the individual unconscious or collective unconscious of many individuals. Emotive poetry helps us in understanding the thought process of a writer. If artificial intelligence learns to write emotive and authentic poems, it would mean that AI has more power and control over humans which is a concerning thought.

Artificial intelligence can even produce an original poem from scratch, which is what I've heard people say. I am here to contest it, though. AI or artificial intelligence can only reproduce what is fed. It can copy data from various sources and come up with an amalgamation of poetic sentences. While reading poems written by artificial intelligence, I've noticed that they cannot evoke a sentiment. It cannot start a revolution like poets and historians have done. It avoids controversy and political narratives. It is unaware of the existing diasporic writings. That is why we need artists, writers, poets, novelists, musicians, etc. to create work that will be traced down into legacies. 

Even though the rise of AI can be used for beneficial purposes too, the idea that it can take away people's jobs in the field of Arts is scary. Science and Arts are not only two separate fields, but can also be connected. Both the fields have their individual importance because of their contributions to humanity. While science gave us the reality of factual questions, arts helped us in understanding the conscience of an individual. While science helped us in understanding basic equations, arts helped us in understanding the beauty of civilisations. Hence, both are equally important for the development of the society, but overpowering one over another would lead to downfall as in the case of artificial intelligence taking control which can be a possibility in the nearer future.

With so much ongoing discussion about science and arts, we arrived at some fundamental questions: What is art, and what is science? Should we follow the textbook definition for these or create our own definitions? While I read many definitions of these two fields, the one that gained my attention is

 'Art is a way of recognizing themselves, which is why it will always be modern,' Louise Bourgeois.

and that of Science

"Science is the knowledge of consequences, and dependence of one fact upon another." - Thomas Hobbes

Science and art are not rigid opposites of each other. There is a thin line that separates the two, and the two can always come together to help people reinvent themselves and their thoughts. One great example of the intersection of science and arts is STEAM.

"STEAM" (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) is a term used to describe the nexus of the arts and sciences that highlights the blending of creative and analytical thinking. As demonstrated by disciplines like science communication, digital media, and design thinking, this kind of cooperation can result in creative solutions. Individuals and projects can bridge the gap between two historically distinct disciplines by integrating creativity with scientific rigor, promoting a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving and knowledge growth. Here are two success stories involving STEAM, 

Dr. Jane Chen is a notable figure in the STEAM field, particularly in biomedical engineering. Co-founder of Embrace Innovations, Dr. Chen utilized her STEAM expertise to address a critical issue in global healthcare—infant mortality in developing countries.

Embrace Innovations developed an affordable infant warmer that became a life-saving solution for premature babies in resource-constrained areas. The innovative design provided a cost-effective alternative to traditional incubators, offering a practical solution to a widespread problem.

Dr. Chen's success exemplifies the impact of STEAM disciplines in creating real-world solutions to pressing global challenges, showcasing how technology and innovation can positively influence healthcare outcomes.

Katherine Johnson, a trailblazing mathematician, made significant contributions to space exploration during her tenure at NASA. Johnson's role in the STEAM field, particularly mathematics, was pivotal in the success of the United States' early space missions, including the Mercury and Apollo programs.

Her calculations were crucial for trajectory analysis, orbital mechanics, and launch windows, ensuring the accuracy and safety of spacecraft. Johnson's work played a vital role in John Glenn's historic orbital flight in 1962. Her achievements paved the way for women and minorities in STEM, demonstrating the profound impact individuals in the STEAM disciplines can have on groundbreaking scientific endeavors.

Hence, It's true that science and the arts are not inherently opposed to one another. They might enhance one another by providing different viewpoints and approaches. Both creative thought and scientific concepts can inform artistic expression and advance scientific inquiry. This awareness of their interdependence encourages cooperation and interdisciplinary methods to solve difficult problems, leading to a more comprehensive view of the world.

written by Tej Nagar


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