Dr Keith Davies
Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Rothamsted Research Limited,
Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ, UK.
Telephone: +44 (0)1582 763133 x2220. Fax: +44 (0)1582 760981
We live in a technological society that has grown up around the application of science and yet our attitude to science is highly ambiguous. From the threat of nuclear armaments, through to the revolution on molecular biology and the issues surrounding the cloning of Dolly the sheep and genetically modified crops, we realise that science is a double-edged sword. Charles P. Snow suggested that this ambiguity was the result of a split in our education system between the arts and the sciences that he brought to prominence in the Two Cultures debate. Roger Sperry has suggested:
"...there appear to be two modes of thinking, verbal and nonverbal, represented rather separately in left and right hemispheres [of the brain] respectively and that our education system, as well as science in general, tends to neglect the nonverbal form of intellect. What it comes down to is that modern society discriminates against the right hemisphere."
Whether or not this is the source of our split personalities, scientists are often perceived as objective and analytical while artists are viewed as subjective and intuitive. I have therefore become increasingly interested in the nature of creativity and the similarities and differences between artists and scientists. An interesting discussion can be found with Jacob Bronowski, mathematician, poet, biologist, on the WGBH web site.
Click for a detailed biography that was published in the "Nematology Newsletter" (PDF, 194KB)
Davies, K.G. (2003) Zones of Inhibition: interactions between art and science. Endeavour, 27, 131-133.
Davies, K.G. (2000) Homo Faber 2000 (After reading Homo Faber by Max Frisch). In HMS Beagle: The BioMedNet Magazine Issue 88 (Oct 13).
Davies, K.G. (2001) Ghost of an Arcadian Hominid (After reading The Face of Violence by Jacob Bronowski). In HMS Beagle: The BioMedNet Magazine Issue 109 (Aug 31).