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Science and the Arts





OpposableThumbs
I teach at a university that's trying to figure out ways of getting scientists and English/Art History/History (and similar) professors to talk to each other. Any ideas?
Bikerman
Well, firstly, why - what is the aim? To foster inter-departmental relationships? As you know departments within Universities tend to be quite isolated. There is the issue of 'professional competence'. No academic would be comfortable questioning someone outside their field in what could be regarded as an 'impertinent' manner - ie not according due deference to the professional status of the other.

It largely depends on the attitudes of the departmental heads - if they are supportive of 'ecumenical' activities then it could work. I would suggest looking at particular projects which have a cross-discipline requirement.
Examples? Here's a few suggestions off the cuff:
Dating historical texts from astronomical references.
The chemistry of pigments in historical art works.
The cosmology of the middle ages.
The contribution of maths to architecture and art
The use of materials in art over the ages

I'm sure you can think of others....

PS - remember that in many universities the Maths and Physics departments don't 'get on'. The mathematicians often think the physicists are doing base/course mathematics which is not really beautiful, since it is sullied by 'real world' application. The physicists, on the other hand, think the mathematicians are off on some weird ego trip designing systems of maths that have no real-world relevance. Attitudes are changing, but it is still common to find friction between the two.
Gagnar The Unruly
I'd say that trend happens in a lot of fields. To me, it seems that it would be more worthwhile to encourage communication between closely related fields than distantly related ones. For example, molecular biology and ecology departments tend to segregate strongly. It also seems that collaboration among biologists, chemists, and physicists could be fruitful, depending upon the research questions being asked. It's hard to imagine that the dance school and the chemistry department would have much to say to one another, though.
lebas
It largely depends on the attitudes of the departmental heads - if they are supportive of 'ecumenical' activities then it could work. I would suggest looking at particular projects which have a cross-discipline requirement.
Examples? Here's a few suggestions off the cuff:
Dating historical texts from astronomical references.
The chemistry of pigments in historical art works.
The cosmology of the middle ages.
The contribution of maths to architecture and art
The use of materials in art over the ages
ptpmonitor
I am not sure why you want to make relationship them as these subjects have no interrelation among them. By the way, if for any reason it is needed for you, then you can ask all the science and arts professors to gather in a room in your university and can talk with them.
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