The art of science

by | Monday, September 20, 2010

I have always been interested in what lies at the intersection of science and art. There are of course many different ways of looking at this. There is the idea of scientific creativity being both similar to and different from artistic creativity. And then there is the idea of artistically representing scientific ideas. I have written about this elsewhere in the context of poetry (both scientific poetry / sci-po or mathematical poetry / math-po). I have also argued that this process of “translation” from one medium to another is a very powerful way of both understanding the issues at hand but could also be an interesting teaching tool. For instance see these sci-po’s written by Sean Nash’s students. As I had said before, echoing Sean, in the context of writing a mathematical proof in verse (click here if you are interested), this act of writing a poem about mathematics forces you to truly and deeply understand the idea before you can start playing with it.

Such artistic representations of science can also be a powerful tool for outreach – to communicate often abstruse and complex ideas to a wider audience. One of the best approaches that has received some attention in the past years is Dance your Ph.D. As the Science Mag website says

The dreaded question. “So, what’s your Ph.D. research about?” You could bore them with an explanation. Or you could dance.

That’s the idea behind “Dance Your Ph.D.” Over the past 3 years, scientists from around the world have teamed up to create dance videos based on their graduate research. This year’s contest, launched in June by Science, received 45 brave submissions.

Today, judges—including scientists, choreographers, and past winners—announced the finalists in four categories: physics, chemistry, biology, and social sciences. Each receives $500.

Click here to see and vote for the finalists.

Topics related to this post: Art | Biology | Creativity | Fun | Learning | Personal | Poetry | Representation | Science | Worth Reading

A few randomly selected blog posts…

What is TPACK? Updated article

There are some articles that sink without a trace. There are others like our 2006 TCRecord article introducing the TPACK framework that continues to be cited... and then there are some that keep getting published over and over (albeit in an updated manner). Here is...

Dancing with words, Good/Evil in a new ambigram context

Many years ago I constructed an ambigram for the words "good" and "evil." The idea came to me while waiting for a traffic light to turn green. The memory of it is so vivid in my mind that even today when I come to that particular intersection I remember that moment...

Let children play: From evolutionary psychology to creativity

Let children play: From evolutionary psychology to creativity

As a part of our ongoing series on creativity we recently spoke with Dr. Peter Gray, professor of Psychology at Boston College. Dr. Gray’s interest in creativity emerges as a consequence of his background in evolutionary psychology and interest in how humans (and...

Textbooks meet Bittorrent!

NYTimes article on how publishers are responding to the advent of peer-to-peer sharing of textbook files. Check out First It Was Song Downloads. Now It’s Organic Chemistry.

Help with research (max 10 mins).

This is a request for help. If you are an educator (K12 teacher or administrator, higher ed faculty, corporate trainer etc.) we would like approximately 10 minutes of your time to complete a survey regarding the challenges faced by educators in the 21st century and...

Microblogging in the classroom II

I had blogged earlier about my attempts at using micro-blogging in my face to face classroom. As I had said after the experiment At the end of the class, upon being quizzed, the students seemed to feel that this experiment had been a success and would like to do it...

How does my browser know I am Indian?

Over the past few weeks I have noticed that some webpages I visit have banner ads that are targeted to me quite specifically - in particular to my Indian origin. For instance this page (a story about ipods being used by the army) contains a set of banner ads that seek...

Funny TPACK mashups, the Aussie way

TPACK is huge in Australia (for instance see this note TPACK underpins Aussie Teacher Ed Restructuring). I am hopeful that one of these days this interest will translate into a trip down-under... It would be great to travel around the continent, giving talks, meeting...

Contemplating creativity

Contemplating creativity

Photo/Image Credit: Punya Mishra Dr. Jonathon Plucker is an educational psychologist at Johns Hopkins University where he is the Julian C. Stanley Professor of Talent Development in the School of Education. He has received numerous recognitions for his work, including...


  1. Punya Mishra

    How did I miss these two! And how come they are not on Youtube? 🙂

  2. Evrim

    Well actually, last year at SITE conference, during our graduate student gathering, I did a TPACK Dance and Daniel did a Robocraft one. We were not as professional as the one in the videos though. I have some ideas for a TPACK dance choreography, need some brave people to make it real.


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