More thinking about science v art

… and how many people are always shocked at how scientists are so well-rounded. This musing is of course occasioned by the Mars landing but has been ruminated upon by me before.

How many more Cliburn amateur competition winners with doctorates in chemistry do there have to be before we ditch the pocket-protector stereotype that the rest of the world seems to cling to? Even your humble blogger has a very, very hard science past. There’s the lately-ubiquitous Zoe Keating, ex-technologist who was able to blend her tech knowledge with music in a way that’s gotten her a ton of acclaim. Hell, even NASA’s skinny-Elvis EDL team lead engineer is a bass guitarist who previously aimed for a career in music. (Twenty bucks says that guy’s got ink.) Plus the various people I knew in grad school, lots of them. And NASA’s past crop of shuttle astronauts and their rock band, Max Q.

And yet contrast this with the number of professional trained musicians who are amateur astronomers, tech hobbyists, or at the very least not so eager to badmouth the sciences as uncreative and unimaginative, not “personally expressive.”

Scientists aren’t perfect. (Believe me, there’s a reason why fiction shows like “Numbers” and “Big Bang Theory” always make the most arrogant, dislikable cretin in the cast a physicist.) But in general, if you want a whole-brained human being, go look for one with a well-developed left brain. For whatever reason, one can’t seem to develop the left without the right also developing, although the right seems to be able to swell to galactic proportions without much inflation happening on the other side of the corpus callosum. I have no real clue why.

Every time I look around, I find more reasons to be proud of both my musical and hard-science past, and I find more and more connections between them.

I find more and more reasons to shout about my enjoyment of music theory instead of hiding it from the anti-intellectual crowd who erroneously believes that Mozart, Bach, and Chopin “just felt it, man!”

I find more and more reasons to be happy that I have one brain and not two, and that like most other governing organs, it works best when bipartisan.