Is Science an Art or is Art a Science..?

-Vasundhara W

Is Science an Art or is Art a Science..? That is something to think about. I recently attended a lecture by  Prof. Arthur Eisenkraft – The Light at the End of the Tunnel –  and it was about Light. Though I am not a Physics person at all, I was keen on listening to ways of bringing science into the classroom. It was a very interesting and interactive talk.

During the lecture, he spoke about  Michael Faraday. He is the scientist who discovered something we use in practically everything today- the electromagnetic field. Some facts about Faraday left me astounded.

Did you know that Michael Faraday never had a formal education? He knew very little Mathematics. He worked as an apprentice at a book binder and that’s where he read a lot of science books. He did a series of experiments and he DREW most of his findings in order to explain them. Here are some of his drawings.. Just plain simple drawings to explain his scientific discoveries.

James Maxwell, who was a scientist in the field of mathematical physics, later interpreted Faraday’s drawings and expressed them in mathematical terms. 

Fascinating, isn’t it? One of the greatest minds in history illustrated his breakthrough idea in the most simplistic way – through visuals. And it changed our lives forever. This is what we need to educate our children for- to be able to illustrate their ideas visually. 

  • To know more about how people do that, watch this video; it also tells you the importance of drawing as an essential skill children need to pick up in school
  • Now what if I told you scientists at NASA have used the techniques of the ancient art of Origami to design a futuristic spacecraft? Watch the video here
  • Robert Lang is a Physicist who uses the art of Origami to solve engineering problems. You can read more about him here.
  • Here is another interesting article that talks about how the art of paper folding is applied in science – 

So what do you think now.. Were Faraday and Maxwell scientists, or artists? Is science an art or is art a science? Hint: The answer can be both 🙂 

Listen, read, watch, share, discuss… bring art into the conversation!


*Arthur Eisenkraft is a Distinguished Professor of Science Education and director of the Center of Science and Mathematics in Context (COSMIC) at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and a past president of the National Science Teachers Association.

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