Friday, June 11, 2010

Science and the Arts

I've been thinking quite a bit about how geek culture is associated with the sciences, but not so much with the arts and disciplines like English Literature; and about why this is a pity, because science often draws on the material we work with on a day to day basis.

For example, scientists have named a pheromone after Mr. Darcy. I first read about it on Jane Austen's World, but the original article is available at BMC Biology. The naming may be tongue-in-cheek, much like naming a possible tenth planet for the solar system 'Xena,' but I like the idea that a good understanding of Jane Austen assists scientific thought.

Recently, I also came across a tweet that lead me to a BBC project, Jane Austen's iPod. It's a terrific idea. More and more contemporary writers are sharing lists of the music they're listening to while they write. Meg Cabot just gave her playlist for Insatiable. There may be a research project or two in the music authors write to!

And not just authors. Academics sometimes write to music too. I'm one of those who find it difficult to focus in silence (it's why I won't often be found tapping away at a paper in my office - my music would drive colleagues insane). Studying fairy tale, of late, I've been led in the oddest musical directions. Just the other day, I was researching male fashion and wound up investigating 'fop rock,' which led me to Adam Ant and his hit, 'Prince Charming.' The video clip is very very odd, but does indeed draw on the fairy tale in new and interesting ways!

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