Monday, December 31, 2012

The Art of Connections

I used to abhor science--even more than nature abhors a vacuum!  I defined myself as an artist, and at least during my high school years that definition did not include science.

"Creativity" by Nina Boyd
Looking back on that time now, I'm almost sure I hated science so much because it didn't come as naturally to me as the worlds of drawing and writing did.  I probably could have cleaned up if I had been the type to charge classmates for essay-writing services, but balancing equations or memorizing the parts of a cell?  No one could have paid me to do that!

Nowadays, I'm buying the National Geographic magazine, browsing the Hubble Telescope site for fun, and checking out library books by Michio Kaku--and reading them!  I suppose just like my high school interests, my long-dormant appetite for science is still very one-sided...

Well, at least it's there.

Photo: Joe McNally
The photo to the left is a stunning shot of the monitors at NASA's Advanced Supercomputing facility in California--but it's also so much more than that.  The silhouette of an anonymous scientist points at images of the heavens, which are so far away and yet so close.  They literally glow with possibility.  The photograph is truly awe-inspiring, and in National Geographic is aptly captioned "Window on the Universe."  The seemingly endless nebulae that were once unreachable now virtually reside in our backyard.

Space has a way of simultaneously commanding respect and inviting exploration.  Looking at this photograph, how can we not stand in awe of humankind's never-ending quest for knowledge?  How far we came, once we found our way.

The image makes me think of cavemen, and which of them might have been the first to try to illustrate nature.  Which one of them stood in front of a cold, stone wall and reached up to make that first mark, enriching humanity's purpose forever?  Doesn't art, in its ever-expanding nature, provide a platform for exploring new worlds?  A single mark can take us so far, whether in the name of art or in the name of science.  It's all connected.  If you want to draw inspiration, all you need to do is look up.


  1. Nina, It is only natural that art will lead you to science, esp. for inspiration. Have you ever seen a Fractal Art book?

    1. Yes, I really enjoy fractal art! I'm waiting to hear back from a fractal artist I'd like to feature on here, actually. Are you a fan of fractal art?

  2. Nina, I'm glad you've come around to loving science! :) I think that just like with art, there is something in science for everyone. Whether it's astrophysics, the human body, or plant biology, the more you explore, the more you want to know. The more answers you get, the more questions you have. In that way, I think science and art are pretty alike: they're both about finding truth and meaning. I know I used to be more involved in art and music, but "lost" that side of me a little when I began to pursue science. I feel that the two each make you smarter and a better person in different ways, and I'd like to have that balance again. Luckily I have a sister to help me who's just as excited about art as I am about science!

    1. ...And speaking of balance, I'm lucky to have a sister who can inspire my interest in science and answer all my questions! You've always been good at art and science. I'm sure you'll find a way to keep them together through the years.