Science and art are two different worlds. Science is cold, distant, steady, and unemotional. Art is fickle, wild, unscheduled, and unpredictable.
In the west, in America, we have placed science and art in separate, distinct buckets. But anyone who knows the process of scientific discovery — the developing of methodologies, the analyzing of data, the guessing as to causes, the evaluating of peer’s work — knows the process has elements of art. Scientific discovery requires creativity. The scientist does not blaze a new path using a map. The scientist, the discoverer, writes the map.
And at the same time, art is not without its known processes. Comedic timing, plot development, hero structures, linguistic tools — writers have the most ancient maps at their disposal. For a clinical look at writing, artists can turn to the ancients or contemporaries; they can ask Horace or Francine Prose about the methods of creation, the weapons for inspiration.
Science pursues truth through objectivity, a futile aim. In the hands of humans, the pursuit of objective truth will always have a hue of politics, a bias — whether deliberate or not — that skews results in small and large ways. We drop the data that does not pass some intangible “smell test”; we do not ask the questions our professors and mentors assured us were already answered; we listen to researchers who agree, and prepare rebuttals for those who do not; we fail to execute due diligence on the work of friends and colleagues.
Art pursues truth through perspective, a futile aim. In the hands of humans, the pursuit of perceived truth offers only an incomplete glimpse. The photograph does not translate the sounds; the video does not smell like the trees, wind, and fire; the painting has changed the colors to a near facsimile; and each medium hopes to capture just enough so the core message survives.
Art can be studiously created — it can also be nascent and haphazard, a lightning strike of perfection. Scientific discovery can be a product of careful research, and it can be a Petri dish left unattended at just the right time and place. Art can be a science, and science an art.