The Utility of Art vs. STEM

I was recently asked an interesting question in an interview:

You stated in a previous article that you believe math and science are “toolkits” to solving problems in ways that writing and the arts cannot. Can you elaborate on that?

I think science and art are two sides of the same coin. The distinction is quite fuzzy for the fields overlap in a variety of ways that depend on the perception of the viewer. For example, mathematicians find aesthetic beauty in eloquent proofs and concise equations. The main difference between the terms lies in what they contribute to the to the world. Art provides inspiration and science provides understanding and explicit utility. I specify “explicit utility” for implicitly, inspiration provides the driving force for scientific advancement.

Art enables us to describe every emotion and experience known to man, but mathematics enables us to understand the laws that govern everything. Art cannot show us something that is not a human experience, for it is limited by the person who uses it. Mathematics, on the other hand, can show as absolute truth realities too grand to be fully understood by the human mind while science allows us to precisely and repeatedly implement these truths in the physical world.

Written on March 8, 2014