The Greatest Scientists Are Artists Too

Teens learning science

Louis Pastuer was a painter. Albert Einstein and Francis Arnold were both accomplished musicians. New research shows that award winning scientists, and especially Nobel Prize winners, are far more likely to have artistic hobbies than the general public. Many of them, including Einstein, cite the role of the arts in their breakthroughs. Creativity and perseverance are at the heart of both scientific discovery and artistic expression. That is why music, drama, visual and practical arts are key components in Waldorf education and are integrated throughout our curriculum.

Articles of interest:

  • The Symphony of Science
    From the Nobel Prize organization, an examination of how many scientists and Nobel Laureates value music as an integral part of themselves and their work. “Besides music’s ability to spark creativity and teach scientists disciplinary practice, Nobel Laureates compare and see similarities between science and music. In her Nobel Lecture, Chemistry Laureate Frances Arnold mentioned the similarity between Beethoven’s symphony and her work with the code of life. They both are beautiful and intricate, however it seems as if we still need to practice if we want to write the code of life as beautiful and intricate as Beethoven wrote his symphony. Frances Arnold played piano and guitar as a teenager and she is still very fond of music.”
  • To Win a Nobel Prize in Science … Make Art?
    An article from Inside Science, looking at the creative endeavors of scientific leaders. “A connection between artistic hobbies and scientific brilliance was noted as long ago as 1878, in a talk by Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff, winner of the first Nobel prize in chemistry. Van ‘t Hoff pointed out that a large fraction of famous scientists from history had “artistic inclinations.” Newton, for example, was a painter; Galileo was a poet. This made sense, he said, because science is fundamentally creative. Anyone can make rote observations, but it takes leaps of imagination to come up with hypotheses and the experiments to test them.”
  • State of Sciences Event Brings Creativity in Focus
    A report from Education North Carolina of a “Stat of the Sciences” event focused on how training as a polymath can stimulate insights across disciplines. “[Robert Root-Bernstein] noted that while artists are more likely to use thinking tools like abstracting, artists and scientists are both equally as likely to use the thinking tool of observation. Because of this, he argued that an arts-based curriculum would improve STEM learning outcomes, and that visual learning would improve science and engineering abilities. This means that, to be best prepared, students should be trained to be polymathic.”

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Kid Playing Violin
Teens using beakers in chemistry
Girl painting