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Arts Foster Scientific Success: Avocations of Nobel, National Academy, Royal Society, and Sigma Xi Members

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Abstract

Various investigators have proposed that “scientific geniuses” are polymaths. To test this hypothesis, autobiographies, biographies, and obituary notices of Nobel Prize winners in the sciences, members of the Royal Society, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences were read and adult arts and crafts avocations tabulated. Data were compared with a 1936 avocation survey of Sigma Xi members and a 1982 survey of arts avocations among the U. S. public. Nobel laureates were significantly more likely to engage in arts and crafts avocations than Royal Society and National Academy of Sciences members, who were in turn significantly more likely than Sigma Xi members and the U.S. public. Scientists and their biographers often commented on the utility of their avocations as a stimuli for their science. The utility of arts and crafts training for scientists may have important public policy and educational implications in light of the marginalization of these subjects in most curricula.
... The small literature on researchers with artistic production or hobbies uses labels different from 'academic artists' and focuses on other fields and research questions. Creativity Research has emphasised the evidence and psychological reasons behind historical and most awarded scientists' taste for arts and crafts (Root-Bernstein & Root-Bernstein, 2004Root-Bernstein et al., 1995, 2008. Organisation Studies have shown some interest on identity management of Art Scholars with a background in the artistic profession (Lam, 2018(Lam, , 2020. ...
... High quality researchers may have more to say about and have the ability to produce art without much extra effort. Their facility for scientifically impactful ideas likely allows them to be more creative artistically (Root-Bernstein & Root-Bernstein, 2004Root-Bernstein et al., 1995, 2008. It may be the case that prestige attracts research collaborators and that the star scientist is required to make minimum input which leaves room for the art. ...
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Academic artists are researchers who create artistic work. They form part of the cultural life of cities and contribute to welfare not only through research but also through art. They may commercialise their art or use it to engage in scientific knowledge diffusion. We seek to understand the relationship between art, academic commercialisation and engagement, and detect barriers to academic art. The resources needed to develop and diffuse art in addition to conducting research may be incompatible with a career focused on science quality or an organisational logic based on teaching and pure basic research. We study the responses to a survey of some 7,000 Spanish academics and compare university researchers to other researchers. More than half of the researchers surveyed create artistic work; however, whereas engagement is the norm rather than the exception, commercialisation is rare. Working in a university and producing good quality science run counter to being an artist. The detrimental effect of science quality on being a commercial or engaged artist turns positive after a certain threshold, which suggests polarisation among academic artists. Among commercial artists, this polarisation seems to apply specifically to university researchers. We discuss the implications for the valorisation of art across knowledge transfer channels and in research evaluations.
... Further, STEAM education is expected to increase innovation in STEM fields (Perignat & Katz-Buonincontro, 2019). Many important STEM thinkers, including many Nobel Prize winners, had multiple talents and artistic avocations which helped them develop skills useful in their research, such as visual imagination and aesthetic sensibility (Root-Bernstein et al., 2008). Therefore, adding artistic and design concepts to STEM learning is expected to facilitate the development of thinking processes required in STEM, such as deductive and analogical reasoning (Henriksen, 2014;Wajnkurt & Sloan, 2019). ...
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The aim of this chapter is to discuss the use of serious games in STEAM education and to present FemSTEAM Mysteries, a serious game that was developed in the context of an EU-funded project. The game is intended for teenagers (age 12-15) and its goal is to promote gender equality in STEAM by inspiring all students to pursue STEAM careers, and to enhance the acquisition of key skills and competences for STEAM studies. It is based on role-model STEAM pedagogy and introduces students to important STEAM researchers and professionals in ways that challenge gender stereotypes as well as stereotypes about the characteristics of scientists and artists. The chapter presents the design and theoretical framework of the game which is based on both bibliographical and field research that was carried out in the context of the FemSTEAM Mysteries project.
... The need for integrating STEAM, or in other words STEM -the two are interchangeably -into education has well been supported in the literature because Arts is believed to promote scientific success. To illustrate, Root-Bernstein et al. (2008) found that among almost all the scientists awarded with a Nobel prize, or member of a national academy, royal society or Sigma XI have almost proven that they did either have tendency to engage in arts or practiced arts in their innovations. In this sense, Marr (2020) notes the connection between science and art making and national priority (Honey et al. 2014), it affords career opportunities, productivity and technology (Asunda, 2014), economic growth (Langdon et al., 2011) and it has gained a universal attention on the quality of education and skill development in STEM disciplines (Shernoff, 2017). ...
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STEAM Education has been gaining popularity among teachers from various fields of teaching and different levels of education. Therefore, this study aims at investigating teachers’ readiness to use STEAM education and to identify their needs for a comprehensive STEAM education training using a case study research design. To achieve this, 110 teachers working in Kahramanmaraş province of Turkey were surveyed through a selection form including a letter of motivation to join the workshop trainings. Among them, 24 teachers of Information Technologies (4), Science (5), Physics (1), Mathematics (4), Music (1), Technology and Design (6) and Foreign Language (3) voluntarily participated in the study. In addition to the teacher selection form, a focus group interview was conducted using an online platform and the resulting data were analyzed through content analysis. Seventeen teachers had teaching experience of 0 to 10 years while the remaining seven teachers had 11-25 years. Seven teachers stated that they had participated in STEAM related activities via different foundations by their own efforts. The findings indicate that the teachers were highly motivated to join a STEAM training and that they mostly wanted to learn about STEAM education and do hands-on activities with their students. Moreover, they wanted to increase their teaching performance with STEAM education and gain new insights by updating their teaching skills towards 21th century skills. The teachers also felt the need to learn content knowledge of fields other than their own expertise. In conclusion, the findings shed light onto the arising need for mastering the basic cross-content knowledge by means of STEAM education, which in turn calls for a well-designed professional development component related to STEAM education.
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