“We need to revitalize the arts and sciences of today; we need to take responsibility for the future” said Mae Carol Jemison in 2002. 13 years after and it seems that only now we are starting to understand her message back then. Just few weeks ago, president Obama signed the student act which in part integrate art into the education curriculum, moving from STEM to STEAM (Read more about it in my last week newsletter). It wasn’t until companies like Google and Apple proved that art and science as creative fields, can lead to innovation and business success till we started to see a shift in mind. I like the term for this phenomenon “a renaissance of renaissance thinking”: art and science combined, as represented by the great work of Leonardo Da Vinci.
On her twitter account Jemison described herself as “First woman of color in space, Physician, Scientist, Engineer, Explorer & Futurist”. Jemison is a NASA astronaut who became the first African American woman to travel in space (when she went on the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992). Jemison is also a dancer and an art collector who is a real arts advocate. She calls on educators to teach both the arts and sciences, both intuition and logic, as one — to create bold thinkers.
On her TEDTalk she spoke about the idea that people have that science and the arts are really separate and different things. But what we enjoyed, as human beings, up to that point in 2002 was based on knowledge and ideas that came up in the ’50s, ’60s, and the ’70s. Wonderful things such as the internet, genetic engineering, laser scanners, fiber optics, high-definition television, sensing and many others that all these almost without exception, are based on ideas and abstract and creativity from the years before.
If we keep thinking that the arts are separate from the sciences then we’re going to have problems, she claimed. What’s important for people to understand is that conceiving, building and launching space shuttle springs from the same source as the imagination and analysis it took to create great artwork – both the space shuttle and the Mona Lisa or Starry Nights represents human creativity.
“The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin, even, or even different parts of the same continuum, but rather they’re manifestations of the same thing. The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity. It’s our attempt as humans to build an understanding of the universe, the world around us. It’s our attempt to influence things, the universe internal to ourselves and external to us. Science provides an understanding of a universal experience, and arts provide a universal understanding of a personal experience.”
Watch Mae Jaimosn 2002, TED Talk below: