Happy Monday! I hope your day got off to a flying start and you’ve been working hard – if not, don’t worry I’ve been pretty lazy lately too (in the sense that I’ve been reading books instead of doing homework and assignments…what a nerd). Nevertheless, today I participated in a space workshop, organised by Sci Art Exchange, where I was able to meet the lovely (former NASA employee) Dr Jancy McPhee and think about the ways in which science, coupled with art, can create amazing innovations.
Here’s some context so that you have some brief background information before I get straight to the point I’m trying to make: basically, the aim of the activity was to work in teams in order to produce a ‘masterpiece’, inspired by the theme of ‘Mars’, using any art form. For example, we had people choreographing dance routines, writing poetry, making paintings and even directing short films. I (rather boringly) decided that I wanted to design a rover which was capable of exploring the surface of Mars and collecting samples for laboratory testing/analysis by humans. I’m not going to get into the details of what I did because that’s going to sidetrack me from the message I really want to convey.
So, to get to the gist of it, the main lesson I learnt from attending the workshop wasn’t how to create a Mars rover, it was the fact that both creative and academic skills are integral when it comes to science and problem-solving. The stigma surrounding scientific professions as a whole, including the stereotype that the scientific community compromises solely of geeky, nerdy people, is completely untrue. To be honest, I’d say that the most successful scientists used both their communication and educational skills in order to succeed.
To explain this to you further, and convince you to brush up on your creative side if you’re a budding scientist, let’s go through an example of the scientific process:
- Firstly, you need a hypothesis which is pretty much a statement you want to identify as being true or false. Simply coming up with a hypothesis requires you to unleash your creativity and select a theory which deeply interests you.
- Secondly, you need to plan, carry out and record the results of an experiment which tests the hypothesis. This is where the science skills come in handy. Obviously, you need knowledge of the different types of equipment available to you, as well as knowledge on the scientific nature of your hypothesis so that you’re able to perform a suitable experiment. If you don’t have the specific equipment required, or the specific facilities in which to carry out the experiment, you’ll need to use your imagination to develop practical solutions to these problems.
- The data you collect will be analysed and this will inform your final decision about the initial hypothesis. Again, science skills are essential, but you’ll have the opportunity to be creative when it comes to how you choose to dissect the data and the format in which you want to present your findings. By this point, your conclusion will be secured and the hypothesis will be accepted or refuted.
Hopefully, the above example makes it a bit clearer as to how I view creativity and science as 2 extremely useful areas of expertise which have the capability to work together and create outstanding, innovative work. In addition, I believe that communication is such an important skill to have, in any walk of life, because it is essential to adequately convey your beliefs and ideas to others. That’s right, you need ‘people skills’ and as an introvert myself, I know that these can be the hardest skills to develop. The only advice I’d give is just to immerse yourself in any public speaking opportunities available to you; the experience will pay dividends to you in the future, trust me.
Without artistic abilities, in particular, you’d have no means in which you can effectively communicate your scientific findings, and without the scientific knowledge, you’d have no application/use for your imagination. You see, they work hand in hand. When choosing career paths, many people feel forced to make the decision between arts and science; but don’t waste your potential by choosing just one field, because to be honest, we need them both. To me, the world would be a much more boring place without this unexpected, yet perfect, partnership.
A challenge for you: science and art are a strange pair indeed, I guess opposites do attract! Anyway, enough with the cheesy puns, if you know any more crazy couples then drop me a comment below. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
30-day challenge update:
*deep breath* So the past 3 days have been a complete failure with regards to my 30-day challenge… Yes, that’s right, I was unable to resist the temptation to eat chocolate. In fact, I didn’t really feel in control of what I was eating; it was as if my mind was controlling me.
Usually, if I was trying to stop eating chocolate and I failed, I would just give up for a couple of months and maybe try again after that. However, now that I’m actually documenting what I’m doing and sharing it in this blog, I’m having a fresh start today. I’ll still include the 4 days earlier last week as part of the 30-day challenge, but today is going to be day 5, when it should have been day 8.
Honestly, I was thinking of lying in this update and saying that I’ve been completely clean in my chocolate eating, but then that would defeat the purpose of what I’m doing. Hopefully you appreciate the honesty and it makes you realise that everyone fails, the key thing is not to give up; never give up. Anyway, if anyone has any tips how to resist to any temptation at all, let me know asap!