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Thread: art and statistics

  1. #1 art and statistics 
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    I was sent this link, found it interesting and thought I would share. It's a series of art pieces depicting just how wasteful we are as far a natural resources, manufactured resources, and human resources. Not very uplifting, but definitely eyeopening since it uses a different way to get across very large numbers.

    http://www.chrisjordan.com/current_set2.php?id


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  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Thanks, Feifer, those are shocking reminders of the urgent need for a more sustainable lifestyle. I found your post while looking for a recent one about art and science. I still haven’t located it, but yours seems like a good response to the question that was asked, which was something on the lines of whether art has any value to science.

    There’s a nice essay by Stephen Jay Gould called Art Meets Science in “The Heart Of The Andes”, the phrase in quotes being the title of a celebrated painting by Frederic Church depicting a composite view of a tropical mountain scene. The inspiration for the painting was the explorer-scientist Alexander von Humboldt, who explored South America and cataloged the geology and biology of the tropical parts of that continent. He believed that landscape painting is the principal mode of expressing the unity of art and science.

    Quoting Gould: “Humboldt viewed the interaction of feeling and intellect as an upwardly spiraling system, moving progressively toward deep understanding. Feeling excites our interest and leads to a passionate desire for scientific knowledge of details and causes. This knowledge in turn enhances our appreciation of natural beauty. Feeling and intellect become complementary sources of understanding; knowing the causes of natural phenomena leads us to even greater awe and wonder.”

    Humboldt had some incorrect ideas about the harmony of nature, but his writings were a major inspiration to Darwin, who would proceed to usurp Humboldt’s ideas, while crediting him for “stirring up a burning zeal to add even the most humble contribution to the noble structure of Natural Science.”

    I can’t think of a better illustration of the importance of art to science, and of the way in which science proceeds. I have a suspicion that most working scientists could not articulate very clearly what it is that motivates or inspires them to do their work, but that there is much more there than a desire to solve some mechanistic problems about nature.

    Any thoughts?


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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    I thought that's what Dawkins' Unweaving the Raibow was partly about - showing the artistic impulse in the journey of scientific discovery...
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  5. #4  
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    Thats a great sight, makes you think!

    Thanks Feifer
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  6. #5  
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    It's amazing how something so beautiful can be so disgusting.
    "The third rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority.
    The second rate mind is only happy when it is not thinking with the majority.
    The first rate mind is only happy when it is thinking."
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