I’ve always been interested in the ‘human’ side of science. The general population often perceives science as a cold calculated endeavor. I do not see it this way at all. Those of us with experience in science research know that it requires creativity and intuition in order to make progress. It is also driven by a passion to learn, understand, and create something new. These are certainly human traits.
I would go further and say that that there is an art to doing science well. Just as an artist turns their passion and creativity into something of value that others can appreciate, the scientist uses creativity and inspiration driven by a passion to create something new that will leave a mark on the world.
I have a new appreciation for this concept after reading Seth Godin’s latest book Linchpin: Are You Indispensible. Godin discusses that generating work of value requires a combination of passion and art. In this context, an artist is a person with the skill for finding an original approach, a unique connection, or just a new way of getting things done. He sums this up with the statement, “Art is the act of navigating without a map.”
When I read this I was struck by a new interpretation of what it means to do research. Science is definitely a process of navigating without a map, driven by the passion of discovery. All of us who have pursued scientific research are artists in our own way, and the lab where we work is our studio – the studio where we explore the art of science.