True Science is an Art

Here we have the first place entry to the blogging contest. My apologies to the other entrants, but this one just won me over. Next week we shall hear from the second place entry, but now, first place, from Stargazer 1960. Thanks to all who entered.

As a high school science teacher I often have to confront my students’ misconceptions. My students listen to what I have to say as I take their ideas hostage in the concentration camp of scientific truth. I force their misshapen ideas through a tortuous obstacle course and require complete sentences and complete thoughts.

My students are visibly hesitant. They frown. They pretend to accept my meager, logical replacement for their strongly held corruption- that science requires only the briefest of explanation. Their acquiescence lasts until they go through my doorway and the bravest of all exclaims, “Can you believe that she expects us to write our essays like that!”

I tell them that art is a science. The germ of the idea started in high school, where I was as comfortable on the stage singing in a musical or playing bass violin as I was in A.P Biology class dissecting a shark. For me, the interplay of harmonics on my bass violin was more than just mathematical frequencies constructively interfering with other notes. It was a small piece of the larger artistry of the orchestra.

Drama was science. It was a representation of cause and effect. Comedic delivery required precision as much as quantitative analysis did in chemistry class. I took my notes in poetic metre and made up rhymes to memorize the metric system prefixes.
It made perfect sense to me to see “College of Arts and Sciences” on a catalog because, for me, they where inseparable. I would often sing a song about balancing chemical equations. Later, I taught the muscles to my biology students by demonstrating the six ballet positions. Sometimes we writers spend too much time in our heads and forget about engaging the rest of our bodies.

As writers I feel we must embrace the best of science- the forensics, the questioning, the analysis- and bring this to the page. Not that we have to dissect every emotion and eviscerate every line, but a critical mind is a fertile field for writing.

5 comments Posted 2010-06-06 Author: THX 0477