Special Topics issue: How can art influence science?
Letter from the Editor
The question of how art can influence science has long been on my mind. I knew that it could - I've had a handful of supportive, specific examples in my pocket for some years now, examples I heard or read about. These stories are my go-to material when talking about the potentials for two-way interaction between art and science, they are my external justification for why I run a residency program which pairs artists and scientists together to collaborate. But through years of repeating the same examples, I began to doubt myself - were these stories the result of statistically unlikely events, and actually a rare occurrence? Unlike art influenced by science, instances of science being influenced by art don't have a natural public presence, they don't get announced or exhibited. I decided the best way to answer this question comprehensively, or least make an attempt to do so, was to gather evidence from the source; from scientists themselves.
This issue is comprised of stories by international scientists who have actively engaged with the arts or in science-art collaboration, describing how this engagement has fed back into their own research. While this collection is by no means complete, I know of no other collection of this kind. It is my hope that with this collection, and perhaps future editions of this special topics issue, that we get closer to a cultural atmosphere where we will no longer have to ask what science gains from the arts, or why we should move from STEM to STEAM, or what a cross-disciplinary skill set can amount to. Without the need to justify cross-disciplinary work, we can focus on the fun part - the work itself!
I'd like to extend a special, and deep thank you to all who contributed to this issue. Your stories are profound, beautiful, and inspiring.
As always, I hope you enjoy this issue.
Julia Buntaine Hoel | Founder, Editor-in-Chief