Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

I have been approached by at least ten science artists and leaders of  the sci-art  projects from around the world in the last two months with requests to see their science -art work/ projects and send my opinions on and analyses/reviews of their work. Even though I don't have any time to spare, my enthusiasm and curiosity made me borrow some from tomorrow and venture into the worlds of artists. And what did I experience? Shock, shock, shock and more shock. You will go through the same if you see the work from a scientist's point of view. I will give you just one shock. Please read how one of the imaginations of an artist 'worked':

The artist thought - as the full moon have gravitational effects on the waves of an ocean, gravitation could also affect  DNA . To prove this, she planted some lemon seeds on a full moon day and allowed them to germinate. Out of 30 seeds that germinated, some died of diseases. One plant showed leaf puckering (I know this is because of a viral disease!) and some showed finger like outgrowths. She thought all this had happened because of gravitational effects of moon on the DNA of lemon plants! And her conclusion was, gravity of the moon and other bodies in our galaxy could be used to change DNA structures of living beings here with important consequences!

She was confident that she showed science in a new light and scientists would use her work for the progress of Science! She says:

"I am an artist and I became so fascinated with science, especially physics, I may have solved the question of how life evolves in a solar system ! I used my artistic intuition to work on the question posed by MIT particle physicist Robert L Jaffe: "how is the chemistry of life entangled with celestial mechanics?

Now I am dealing with the most exciting discovery about the force of gravity even though I am not a scientist".

Wishful thinking!  Science fiction, not fact!

And she insists that scientists agree with her by saying: Though it is distasteful to some, scientists must accept theories that agree with experiment, not their own preconceived notions.  -Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow 'The Grand Design'' page 72!

I have no words to describe how or what I felt when I read this 'imagination of an artist which is more important than knowledge'. And her adamant attitude  is more shocking.

Now that you are  on the same wave length as I am, what do you say?

The artist quotes Einstein in her opening statement and says, ''Imagination is more important than knowledge”. If I were Einstein and still alive now I would have taken a gun and shot ----wait a minute not the person or myself but -- the quote down so that nobody ever reads it again and follow it so religiously. Ah, imagination - that thing that can make you a buffoon and an idiot. But knowledge makes you a mature and balanced person if used properly. Then why did Einstein say such a thing? Einstein must have thought about 'his knowledge based or information loaded imagination as a scientist' when he said those words but people are interpreting it in several stupid ways!

Imagination without knowledge is like having only wings and no feet! What will your work stand on then? Absurdity!

I appreciate the artists' enthusiasm and interest in things science. I also understand her innocence.  But I will not let these things  effect my analysis. There is a method to do things in the 'S' world. I sent  very diplomatic analysis to the artist- and also other sci-art project leaders like her, putting things very softly but firmly to make them realize how absurd their imaginations are. Believing,  imagining things and attributing things to scientific phenomenon with a half knowledge in science  are   easy to do. But scientific experimentation and proving things in the tough world of science is like trying to conquer death! I showed this artist all the flaws right from her imagination to the methods she used, from observations to the conclusions she arrived at. I am sure she and the other artists were very disappointed , because I realized how they took my reviews after hearing from them again, but that is what science and the related science-art is all about. One has  no other go but to accept the truth and facts of science. Just your imagination doesn't work here like it happens in the art world!

To avoid such heart breaks and mistakes in the future, I advice artists venturing into the field of science to consult experts in the field before conducting experiments and not to do things themselves. The guidance of specialists is very important for the work to go on the right track. Approach scientists in the related field without any hesitation and put before them all your ideas, plans and try to take their opinion and help before hand and not after completing your work. Scientists might not agree to guide you - even I don't want to waste my time on an absurd idea. If they refuse to work with you because your idea  has no chance of standing the scrutiny of the scientific world, don't get disappointed. Go to the drawing board and rework on it again. It is like a sculpture in your hand. You can bring beauty to the ugliness with the help of advise given by the experts. Then approach other specialists. If somebody tries to help you, follow all the guidelines given by her/him without overlooking any. Forget your obsession with freedom, in the world of science, you have to follow certain rules in order to survive. If you face problems, consult the scientists over and over again. Try this till you succeed and get the approval of the experts. This will save your time, energy and money too. And you will definitely get recognition as you did your work in a proper manner.


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Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on March 15, 2013 at 5:39am

Thank you, Irit.


Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on March 15, 2013 at 5:39am
Comment by Irit Hakim-Keller on January 23, 2013 at 9:12pm

while reading your interesting  article, dear Krishna,  I was wondering - are  "science artists and leaders of  the sci-art  projects" scientist at all???  what is their knowledge in the Science?  This woman has been very hmmm naive to interpret Einstein's   'Imagination is more important than knowledge'. I am not a scientist, but I am sure that in science like in every field of life, imagination has an important roll, some times it is the trigger to find new things/phenomena/discoveries. But one must have the knowledge in order to be able to 'translate' imagination  into invention.



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