Teach Arts & Sciences Together – Astronaut Mae Jemison

In this video, Dr. Mae Jemison, physician and former NASA astronaut, talks about what is critical to a better future–and by future, she means, “In the year 2015, and the year 2020, 2025, the world our society is going to be building on, the basic knowledge and abstract ideas, the discoveries that we came up with today.”  This TED Talk was recorded in 2002, however her speech seems to resonate more than ever with what is currently going on in the world.  So listen up, all you societal contributors!  This message is important and should be applied today as we work to build our legacy for tomorrow.

The ideology that science and art are separate–this polarization, hinders the ability to create progress, experience and humanity for the future.  Dr. Jemison argues that they are “manifestations of the same thing.”  She goes on to say, “Science provides an understanding of universal experience and arts provides an understanding of a personal experience.  They are all part of us.”  Art is thought to be intuitive, and science is considered analytical.  Art is also analytical. According to Dr. Jemison, the ability to launch the shuttle is derived from the same place as choreographing a dance.  When choreographing a dance, upon hearing the music, one might first intuitively come up with an expressive movement.  The creation is then analyzed and refined to convey the right communication to the audience.  A scientist can think of an equation first, and then analyze it to see if it will work.

Why is it so important for everyone to understand that these two subjects coexist?  It effects how we think, how we learn, and how we create and contribute to society.  Dr. Jemison explains, “My personal issue for the future is really about integrating the intuitive and analytical.  The arts and scientists are not separate.  I like to think of ideas as potential energy.  They are really wonderful but nothing will happen without risking putting those ideas into action.  The three questions of greatest concern “is it attractive (intuitive), is it amusing (analytical) and does it know its place (balance)?”

Written by Amy DeCaussin

Director of Projects & Social Media

Laboratory5 Inc. is a small business based in Tempe, Arizona

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