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Art and Science

December 28, 2012

I found a thought-provoking article on the Science Careers magazine the other day.

Adding an Artistic Dimension to Science

The article profiles several practicing scientists who are also simultaneously pursuing a career in the arts. These two ways of looking at the world, art and science, may seem disparate, but they can exist in the same human mind. I am one of those human minds, or at least I hope to be.

By day, I’m a graduate student at the University of Minnesota. I’m about halfway through a program to earn a Ph.D. in plant biology. I spend the days in a laboratory studying how rice plants transport nutrients over long distances – from the roots and the leaves to wherever they are needed. By night, I’m an aspiring spec fic and science writer. I have a short story and a couple of nonfiction pieces out in magazines, a couple of Smashwords novels, and even a few fans.

How long can one keep up doing both? The prospects of ever earning enough to survive from writing are dismal. Pursuing a career in research science requires ultimate commitment, one that might not leave much room for an artistic pursuit on the side. And yet art and science careers do positively reinforce each other. Writing helps me be more creative in the lab, and I might sneak a few references to antimatter into my writing. The Science Careers article describes people who have made it work, so I should feel hopeful.

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