Somewhat to my surprise, the talk took place in an art gallery in
Brooklyn. Talks about science in an art gallery? Were we not told by popular psychologists that the artistic types rely more on the right side of the brain, while the mathematical geeks rely more on the left side?
Actually, serious neuroscience research shows this characterization to be way too simplistic — we all use both hemispheres of our brain. And the New York audience, who paid great attention to both the talks and the art on the walls, proved this to be absolutely true.
At some level, scientists and artists have a lot in common. They both use creativity to express the interaction between human perception and the universe. The scientists try to explain what they perceive, the artists attempt to convey it in a different form. Images taken by Hubble have blurred the distinction between science and art even further.
People react to Hubble images, which were taken for scientific purposes, with the same admiration usually reserved for artistic masterpieces. Indeed, Hubble images have been displayed in a major art museum, and one British journalist described Hubble images as “possibly the greatest art works of our time.” Science and art can, and perhaps even should, go hand in hand.