Art vs. science? The battle that never was | NASA’s Michelle Thaller

Art vs. science? The battle that never was | NASA’s Michelle Thaller


Fernando, I think you’re doing something
that has been a real passion part of my life and that is that you’re combining science
and art. And I think it was a mistake in our culture
to ever separate the two. There’s a lot of mythology around that. People often talk about, for example, “right
brain” versus “left brain” and a lot of people don’t realize that there’s really
no scientific evidence of that at all; it’s more of an analogy than anything else. There isn’t one part of your brain that’s
logical and scientific and another that creative and artistic. And I find that there’s as much reality
and profound exploration of the universe that can be done through art as is done through
science. I think they are different ways of humans
exploring and pushing the boundaries of what we know and what we can do. And one of the things that I’ve been very
proud in my life is collaborating with artists trying to actually add science into their
art. And at NASA we actually have many, many artists
that work for us. Some of them do things that are fairly routine
in the sense that we have lots of data coming in from the Hubble Space Telescope and the
artists may help us get the images looking beautiful, help us frame them right. We may have data coming in from earth science
satellites just in the form of numbers, and artists help us make that into beautiful maps
and simulations that help us understand the atmosphere. But it might surprise you to know that we
actually have conceptual artists at NASA too. Artist that aren’t tasked with dealing with
imagery or data, but they’re asked simply to interpret discoveries through their art. And one of the most amazing people at NASA
is a man named Dan Goods of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and you can find him on the Internet
and he’s done TED Talks on this as well. And Dan simply is a conceptual artist trying
to make people understand viscerally how profound some of the discoveries we make are. He’s done art installations about planets
around other stars. There’s one that gets me every time, it’s
very simple: you walk into the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and there’s a floor to ceiling
series of just clear plastic columns and they have little LED lights inside them. And Dan has linked this—in real time—to
when we are uploading instructions to our spacecraft in space and when we are downloading
the data, and you actually see that as lights, little lights in the LEDs in the columns moving
up towards space in a beautiful pattern. And then when we’re downloading data say
from a spacecraft around Jupiter, when we’re receiving it you see the lights coming down
as new information comes down from space. And as you walk around during your day at
JPL you see the pulse of discovery right in front of you, and it’s real, it’s actually
linked to the commands coming to and from the spacecraft. So it makes you pause and think about what
you’re doing, and this is to me the real core of art to make you stop, question the
reality around you, think about what’s really going on and how you can view it differently. So, many organizations take this very seriously:
there are workshops, there are conferences on the intersection of arts and science, there’s
even a new acronym. You may have heard of the acronym STEM in
education, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. And a lot of people across the discipline
across the world are trying to change that to STEAM, science, technology, engineering,
arts and mathematics. They’re not separate. They should be presented as a whole. People learn science differently. People’s minds work differently. Art can help people learn science. So there is really this wonderful synergy
that can exist between art and science. So there isn’t a single institution I can
point you to in terms of these people specialize in that, but know that there really is a very
serious inclusion of art in the science that’s going on right now and that needs to continue,
I think even for the survival of science. We have to make something relevant to our
culture and relevant to people, and art is going to help us do that.

60 thoughts on “Art vs. science? The battle that never was | NASA’s Michelle Thaller

  • August 8, 2018 at 3:07 pm
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    I love you Michelle

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  • August 8, 2018 at 3:08 pm
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    I m the 4th

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  • August 8, 2018 at 3:12 pm
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    Doesn't sound like Fernando is a very good artist….

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  • August 8, 2018 at 3:13 pm
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    I can agree science can be art but not all art can be science and these two disciplines need to stay separated for this reason.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 3:17 pm
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    There is no outer space. NASA is theater. All NASA is CGI.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 3:18 pm
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    Art is a creative discipline. Not an intellectual hard science. Art should never be included in STEM.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 3:19 pm
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    Science is aiming at objective truths.
    Art is aiming at subjective truths.
    That is, they have different ways of describing the universe around them.
    Everything else is semantics.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 3:24 pm
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    If Dr. Thaller was my Aunt or Grandmother or something, I would literally never leave her house, asking constant questions. She seems like she's wonderful to talk to

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  • August 8, 2018 at 3:32 pm
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    I like to think of them all as just two things. Creation and discovery. To me that’s what our brains, and our conscience is for and what it is constantly doing. We are both at the same time, all the time. we are always discovering information/data and creating the images, sounds, thoughts, feelings and much more in our own mind. We create things that give us the ability to discover more……we also discover things that enable us to create more….and so on. Both in the real world and in our own minds/conscience.
    Great video as always. Thank you all for making them.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 3:33 pm
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    Research the Dome firmament and jump off the demonic spinning ball deception, keep in mind that critical thinking=FLAT EARTH reality. That's right you are a flat earther 😍😘

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  • August 8, 2018 at 3:50 pm
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    The way I look at it, art can help us ask questions and get us thinking. And science can answer the questions and implement what we learned into society in a practical way.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 3:51 pm
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    Anyone can contribute to science. Artists can contribute by presenting any scientific result in an esthetic and precise manner that makes it easy and pleasant to read. Communication is a crucial part of science!

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  • August 8, 2018 at 3:59 pm
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    I'm a scientist and all art is invalid

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  • August 8, 2018 at 4:06 pm
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    The world would be better off without art and science

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  • August 8, 2018 at 4:08 pm
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    Throughout the video I saw good examples of art being used as an instructional tool for people to understand scientific concepts and discoveries, but not as a method to actually make these discoveries. Maybe this is just an issue of semantics, but I wouldn't say that just because art can produce visual explanations of science that art necessary can be conflated with science.

    I suppose the same can be said about math. There's nothing inherent about math that will produce discoveries and just because math exists, that doesn't mean it's being meaningfully integrated into the scientific method. Maybe it's just in very specific scenarios that we can consider both math and art to be conducive to science, and in that context STEAM isn't so ridiculous, but I think that specificity has to be stressed.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 4:17 pm
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    Art is the medium by which the intellect communicates with the spirit.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 4:23 pm
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    Thanks, I will look up good. I like the art of Atoms mashing together.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 4:31 pm
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    How much do u NASA scientist make?

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  • August 8, 2018 at 4:36 pm
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    "The pulse of discovery" such a profound phrase, sheesh.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 4:43 pm
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    I don't care about the title of this video, but i will always watch anything with Michelle Thaller in it

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  • August 8, 2018 at 4:47 pm
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    I wish she was my mom.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 5:17 pm
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    Trying to get the A into STEM is really degrading to the hard working men and woman in the sciences. Keep the art where it belongs please.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 5:20 pm
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    Thank you Michelle, your explanations are so concise and beautiful. I always leave more interested in these topics.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 5:27 pm
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    Just don't add liberal arts to science

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  • August 8, 2018 at 5:33 pm
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    Some of the most recognizable scientists were also artists, the most famous example being Leonardo DaVinci, using his artistic skill to study anatomy and using his studies of anatomy to improve and inform his art. Then there's John James Audubon (Ornithologist and painter), Samuel Morse (Inventor and painter), Heddy Lamar (inventor and actress)… Wolfgang Von Goethe (Writer and experimenter) etc… etc… etc… the world is full of those who straddle that imaginary line between the two.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 5:45 pm
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    Science has always been a bit of an art. It's an art of finding explanations to the question of "why?". It's that creative "aha!" moment: when you suddenly find seemingly unconnected things connected together.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 6:20 pm
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    We don't allow Science in Arts either.
    Science is too bleak to add anything to Art.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 6:32 pm
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    Combining science and art? Thats like saying lets mix water and oil. They simply dont mix and never will. Period.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 6:36 pm
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    !💝🙏👍!

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  • August 8, 2018 at 6:37 pm
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    !Great 💝🙏👍!

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  • August 8, 2018 at 6:38 pm
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    What a beautiful thought, and it really should be this way.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 6:48 pm
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    Whelp, time to get a job at NASA.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 8:08 pm
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    How are many if not most problems solved? 🤔 The imagination/creative process! The same place that innovation arises from!

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  • August 8, 2018 at 8:31 pm
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    Thank you!

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  • August 8, 2018 at 9:40 pm
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    Conceptual artists at NASA? Oh man I can't wait for the conspiracy nuts to hear that! You'll be quoted on all the flat earth videos! 😀

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  • August 8, 2018 at 10:16 pm
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    Great sharing! #STEAM

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  • August 8, 2018 at 11:40 pm
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    Intelligence and art are beauty.

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  • August 9, 2018 at 12:33 am
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    I'm hardcore team science but I also appreciate the arts. I like to be able to, after a long day of studying, watch a comedy or a movie, relax and have a laugh. I think TV and movies take a lot of creativity from the writers and the production teams. If I didn't have my leisure or my video games I don't know where I would be. All of the graphics made in my video games all done by artists. Even though I'm not much of an artist myself and I really personally only want to pursue science I really do appreciate the value that art brings to my life.

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  • August 9, 2018 at 3:15 am
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    The difference between art and science is that art deals with emotion and science with reason. They're incompatible simply because they aren't asking (or answering) the same questions. No amount of fancy colours are going to land a spacecraft on Titan, and no amount of numbers are going to inspire awe and wonder. Art and science deal with two different spheres of human experience, and I don't think we can ever integrate one with the other. They can cooperate, sure, but I think it's foolish to pretend they're equal or even comparable in any particular endeavour.

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  • August 9, 2018 at 7:52 am
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    “Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses- especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
    ― Leonardo da Vinci

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  • August 9, 2018 at 9:50 am
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    The Champs-Élysées is a busy street

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  • August 9, 2018 at 4:36 pm
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    Hey someone’s gotta draw the aliens when we find em

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  • August 10, 2018 at 5:56 pm
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    Dan, if you're hiring, I am available.

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  • August 11, 2018 at 2:20 am
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    There's so much positivity in the way she talks that is enticing to my ear

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  • August 12, 2018 at 2:15 am
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    Why the 24 dislikes?

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  • August 12, 2018 at 7:02 am
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    Think.

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  • August 14, 2018 at 12:05 am
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    Yes, there is lots of objective scientific evidential facts that prove the right and left side of the brain operate differently, with the left side being used for analytical reasoning and the right side being used for integrating the analytic processed by the left side into a bigger picture and in conjuction with our ancestral animalistic instincts.
    Search for studies of epileptic patients that got their brain’s hemispheres cirurgically separated under therapeutic procedure.

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  • September 12, 2018 at 7:11 am
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    She's full of shit

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  • February 19, 2019 at 6:18 am
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    So you admiting there are no raw pictures of earth? And you need artists to fuck us?

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  • February 19, 2019 at 6:23 am
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    What the fuck? STOP QUESTIONING THE REALITY AROUND US??? what that means?

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  • April 6, 2019 at 2:34 pm
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    Astronomer!!!! As a student of science, I've pursued art as well when I was in school. Both are difficult 'cause both needs hard work. But oh well, life is meant for struggles.

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  • April 11, 2019 at 5:05 pm
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    Beauty and aesthetics is nothing but complex mathematics

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  • May 3, 2019 at 5:26 am
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    If you hit it and it breaks, it's art. If you hit it and it dosn't break, it's science.

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  • May 20, 2019 at 11:32 am
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    Many years I believed i am a true artist, but now as I am growing older I believe that I am not creative enough and my brain is too logical to being an artist. Maybe science is my thing actually…

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  • May 26, 2019 at 12:57 pm
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    I've long believed that though powerful and helpful, science isn't the only means for making sense of the world – and that art is an integral part of that understanding. I'm very happy to know that NASA not only recognizes this fact but also "walks the talk" by hiring artists to be part of its team. Here's a TED Talk by Dan Goods, whom Michelle Thaller mentioned: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQaSdghTync.

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  • June 1, 2019 at 7:29 am
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    Thank you so much !!!
    Yes nature is more than a scientist, an engineer but also an artist !!

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  • June 13, 2019 at 3:52 pm
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    EVERY WORD OF THIS. <3

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  • June 27, 2019 at 7:13 pm
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    NASA= all art, no real photos!

    Reply

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