Issue Date: February 1, 2010
Science & Art Provide Insight
The cover story "Science from Art" was both timely and stimulating (C&EN, Oct. 19, 2009, page 12). As the co-organizer of the ACS Rochester Section's ChemLuminary Award-winning lecture series on "Chemistry and the Arts," I concur with Karen Trentelman of Getty Conservation Institute that the subject is of inherent interest to both professionals and the general public. Our lecture series was very well attended by the general public but was also quite effective in bringing together chemists, materials scientists, and scholars in the humanities, bridging the gap between C. P. Snow's "Two Cultures."
There is more to science and art than authentication and conservation. In his 1953 essay, "The Creative Mind," philosopher Jacob Bronowski pointed to a deeper connection. He observed that the sciences and the arts have always flourished together: A culture that excelled in one typically also excelled in the other. Studying our cultural heritage from the twin perspectives of the history of science (chemistry) and the history of art could thus give us clearer insight into the meaning of being human.
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