The Guardian has an interesting piece up on the intersection between Art and Science. These types of collaborations garner a lot of column inches. The Wellcome Trust funds many projects along the same lines.
As interesting as the piece is, especially the one on speech, it all felt slightly odd. Trite and tame for some reason. Until I read John Hawks Weblog and understood why. The sense I got was that it was all very forced. A one way street. In none of the cases is the art used to better the science. Art simply takes the science and runs wild with it.
Which led me to think, instead of trying to marry two worlds, how about looking for the art in science. Primo Levi, writer of the greatest piece of science literature out there (The Periodic Table), beautifully found the art in his science — chemistry. Never had chemistry seemed more poetic, and for no other reason than because chemistry is poetic. The human experience told through the elements, or the elements explained through the human experience. I’m sure there are many more examples of art within science.