The Art and Science of Science and Art

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Is teaching an art or a science? Like both it requires creativity and hard work, but can it be quantified sufficiently to satisfy a scientist? Keywords (Audience): General Public

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Our society has long given its greatest acclaim to the sudden and dramatic breakthroughs of young conceptual innovators. This has come at the expense of undervaluing the less conspicuous, but no less important, discoveries of older experimental innovators. The internet revolution, and the associated ubiquity of personal electronic devices, have served to reinforce this disproportionate emphasis on rapid conceptual advances. I argue that our educational system needs to teach students both greater appreciation of experimental creativity and the skills necessary to practice it. Our students, and our society at large, should be made to recognize that the greatest accomplishments in all intellectual domains have been, and should continue to be, the products not only of sudden flashes of genius, but also of long and painstaking study and research.
Often chemists regard their scientific work as creative, when designing and synthesizing new molecules and larger assemblies. In this, we have to go through recurring stages of planning projects, doubting results, discarding ideas, and restarting them with a different approach in order to be successful in chemical research. From this point of view, can we fairly assume that these processes are analogous to the stages artists go through when creating art? In our efforts to strengthen reflective perspectives on what chemists are doing, the SFB 858 initiated a collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts Münster. Additionally, we were aiming to enter into a dialogue about our research with a broader public.
It is an established fact that in the United States there is a great need to improve the scientific literacy of undergraduate students, especially those who are nonscience majors. Data presented herein suggest that using simple art concepts can assist nonscience majors in better appreciating scientific facts related to chemistry. However, it is essential to engage these students in cooperative, active, and inquiry-based learning in order to further strengthen their scientific literacy and improve their self-confidence in learning scientific facts and, thus, diminish their fear of taking other science classes over the course of their college careers. The teaching method students most engaged with is a combination of instructor-based lectures and hands-on experiments.
This article examines the relationship between chemistry and art, particularly in the area of painting. The mixing of salt solutions leads to the preparation of colored products that are used in painting. The connection of the properties of substances with their preparation in the school chemistry laboratory and their applications in everyday life ensures excellent conditions of learning. This interdisciplinary and inquiry learning method is examined in the present work. Keywords (Audience): Elementary / Middle School Science
Two linked courses examining conservation science and art history of 17th-century Dutch painting are described. The two courses have been taught on campus and, most recently, as study-abroad courses in collaboration with the Center for European Studies, Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands. The highly interdisciplinary courses are intense, yet presuppose that students have no background in either science or art history. The courses have successfully drawn students who are science majors as well as nonmajors into the same classroom with productive outcomes. Strengths and limitations of the approaches taken are discussed and key resources from the courses are cited. Keywords (Audience): First-Year Undergraduate / General
An earlier editorial brings into focus the fact that quantitative approaches may be made to qualitative concepts, such as creative art or the quality of teaching.
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This study aimed to determine the effects of art-based chemistry activities (ABCA) on high school students’ conceptual understanding in chemistry. The study used the pretest–posttest control group design. A total of 64 third-year high school students from two different chemistry classes participated in the study. One class was exposed to art-based chemistry activities (ABCA), while the other group was taught using non-art-based activities (NABA). Research data were obtained through the chemistry concept understanding test (CCUT), an instrument specifically developed for this study. Data analyses revealed a significant difference between the mean posttest scores in the CCUT of both groups, with the mean posttest scores of the ABCA group higher than the mean posttest scores of the NABA group. Moreover, ABCA students showed best understanding of the concepts in 63% (5 of 8) of the modified multiple-choice items of the CCUT. The positive effect of the intervention on the concept understanding of students in chemistry stemmed from the creation and display of chemistry artwork by the ABCA group in the activities. The opportunities for the ABCA group communicating their knowledge of chemistry through their creation of a chemistry artwork contributed to their concept understanding in chemistry. The art-based chemistry activities positively affected students’ conceptual understanding in chemistry.Keywords: Graduate Education/Research; High School/Introductory Chemistry; Chemical Education Research; Curriculum; Collaborative/Cooperative Learning; Hands-On Learning/Manipulatives; Inquiry-Based/Discovery Learning; Problem Solving/Decision Making; Precipitation/Solubility; Solutions/Solvents
This article describes a successful interdisciplinary collaboration among chemistry, humanities and English faculty members, who utilized poetry and artistic illustration to help students learn, appreciate, and enjoy chemistry. Students taking general chemistry classes were introduced to poetry writing and museum-type poster preparation during one class period. They were then encouraged to use their imagination and creativity to brainstorm and write chemistry poems or humors on the concepts and principles covered in the chemistry classes and artistically illustrate their original work on posters. The project, 2–3 months in length, was perceived by students as effective at helping them learn chemistry and express their understanding in a fun, personal, and creative way. The instructors found students listened to the directives because many posters were witty, clever, and eye-catching. They showed fresh use of language and revealed a good understanding of chemistry. The top posters were created by a mix of A-, B-, and C-level students. The fine art work, coupled with poetry, helped chemistry come alive on campus, providing an aesthetic presentation of materials that engaged the general viewer. Keywords (Audience): First-Year Undergraduate / General
The Art of Pricing Great Art
  • Leonhardt
  • David
Leonhardt, David, The Art of Pricing Great Art, New York Times, November 15, 2006, p C1.