Symbiosis of Liberal Arts and Science

I volunteer in the emergency department at a local hospital in Los Angeles, and I can’t stress enough the importance of being able to connect with patients – or their families -and the ease at which it puts them by being able to briefly chat about a wide assortment of topics. If I’m helping a patient and I notice they’re wearing a shirt bearing the image of  a musical artist, such as Eric Clapton or the Beatles, for example, I’ll engage them on the topic. If the patient happened to be wearing a sports cap featuring a logo of any number of teams, I will happily engage them. And if the topic of a patient’s medical issue arises, although I’m not fully qualified to care for the patient yet, I often have a decent understanding of the issue at hand. A particular benefit of being a well-rounded figure in the health profession is that it helps to alleviate patients’ anxieties and fears by chatting about a topic they enjoy and are interested in.

I’m interested in a wide variety of differing topics that to many may seem, at first, unrelated to the arts or to the sciences. But almost everything has components of the two. The topic of fractals is one that has long interested me. Whenever I view pictures of fractals, I become entranced and just stare in amazement at the creativity of the human mind. But what may seem at first to be purely an artistic adventure is really a mathematical construct at heart steeped in geometry. In this example, math and art are two sides of the same coin. I encourage everybody to further explore the fascinating topic.

The name of this blog is Symbiosis because when the arts and the sciences interact with each other, they both mutually benefit. The benefit may not always be split perfectly 50-50 between the two, but nonetheless it is to the advantage of both spheres. A famous example that illustrates the innovational capabilities that results from the marriage of the two is Steve Jobs and his role in pioneering not only personal computers, but also the music and phone industry. He wasn’t the first to make computers or mp3 players or phones, but he helped to evolve the products so that they were artistic pieces of engineering that were reliable and easy to use. To be concise, he was a pioneer of function and form.

To close, I want to quote Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs’ biographer, on the role of the arts and the sciences in pioneering of the new digital age: “The next phase of the digital revolution will bring a true fusion of technology with the creative industries, such as media, fashion, music, entertainment, education, literature and the arts. Until now, much of the innovation has involved pouring old wine – books, newspapers, opinion pieces, journals, songs, television shows, movies – into new digital bottles. But the interplay between technology and the creative arts will eventually result in completely new forms of expression and media.”

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Author: Symbiosis

I am a premedical student whose interests lay at the intersection between the humanities and science. I believe that by broadening our interests and investigating both the humanities and the sciences, we can engage in a humanistic approach to science and concurrently promote intellectual innovation by forging productive connections between the two cultures. - E.J. Tanenbaum

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