The intersection of art and science – MyUVic Life
It’s a little before six o’clock in the morning. The sky before dawn is pearly gray. My dog snores with deep rumbling breaths; I think that woke me up.
I watch a crow outside my window as it stalks the branch of an old plum tree. I find it hard not to admire birds from an anatomist’s point of view. I’ve been a bone collector ever since I discovered a deer skull on a hill when I was five or six years old.
I tend to imagine the layers of the crow: how its musculature works in perfect harmony with the architecture of its bones. How bird bones, filled with air pockets that connect to the lungs, are ultra light for flight. How these inner workings are covered in skin, by black feathers that aren’t just black, but upon closer inspection are exquisite shades of dark purple and iridescent blue. To me, watching this crow as it takes flight is the perfect intersection of science and art.
I like to imagine that many of the great thinkers throughout the ages have lived at this intersection of science and art. That these two areas go hand in hand, that there is a deep interconnection between the two.
When I think of Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical drawings, it seems impossible to me that he was only interested in one view of the fundamental workings of the body.
I imagine him fascinated by the physics of a tendon, how those harder-than-steel strings in our bodies pull bones into position with the contraction of a muscle. I see him as a biologist, exploring both the fragility and robustness of life in his famous drawing of a human fetus. But I see him above all as an artist, illustrating the beauty of science.
Recently I was trying to decide if I should complete my degree in biology (a BSc) or pursue a general education in biology and another field (a BA). I learned that a general studies degree is not offered in biology and art. I think that’s a mistake. I started a letter writing campaign to challenge this. The intersection of biology and art is everywhere, all around us, and I believe it should be offered as an option to UVic students.